The next area we move onto in our Style Breakdown series is Naples – which might have more high-end bespoke tailors than anywhere else in the world.

Neapolitan tailoring is known for its soft jackets, with light shoulder padding and chest canvas, both making them more suitable for the warmth of southern Italy.

But the style has also become popular globally in recent years, as dress codes have relaxed and men seek a bespoke jacket that is casual enough to wear with chinos, even jeans.

It’s fair to say that this characterisation of the style applies to most Neapolitan tailors. However, there is also more local variation than many realise, and in the next five pieces in this series we will illustrate and analyse this.

We start with Sartoria Solito, which offers what many will think of as the standard, modern Neapolitan jacket.

 

 

House: Sartoria Solito

Address: Via Toledo 256, Naples

Site: www.sartoriasolito.it

Cutter: Luigi Solito

Price (at time of writing): €2400 (incl VAT)

Suit starting price: €2800 (incl VAT)

This summer jacket was cut for me by Luigi Solito in 2017. It was my fourth jacket from Solito, with the first being cut by Luigi’s father Gennaro, and occasional involvement from Gennaro in subsequent commissions.

It is a wool/silk/linen mix, which is my favourite material for casual summer jackets. The wool gives the jacket body and crease resistance, while the silk and linen keep it light and breathable.

The colour and pattern, too, have made this jacket a favourite because they combine to make something very versatile.

The brown can go with almost any colour of trouser, from cream to green to charcoal, while the muted check is helpful to differentiate top and bottom halves, without being too loud or showy.

 

 

Going back to the style, the most important things that make this a casual jacket, and therefore most suited to jeans or chinos, are the small, natural shoulder and the short, open bottom half.

So the shoulder is relatively narrow, 5¾ inches along the shoulder seam; it is only lightly padded, which keeps it close to my actual shoulder; and it then runs naturally down into the upper arm, without the interruption of any roping in the sleevehead.

The result is that the jacket looks like it’s following the lines of the body rather than imposing anything on it, and is almost more like a sweater than a jacket in this respect.

 

 

In the bottom half, the jacket is a little shorter than most (30½ inches) and the line below the fastened waist button is quite curved.

If you follow that line from the waist button downwards, it is relatively straight at the start (straighter than someone like Liverano for instance) but then curves away sharply at the bottom.

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Jackets that are shorter, rounded and more open like this will feel more casual.

However, this can be taken too far. Many younger Neapolitan tailors produce jackets with stunted bottom halves and very high waists, which are not flattering at all.

Indeed, Luigi naturally cuts a slightly shorter jacket, but I wanted it at this length. So always be aware of the risk here. The seat of the trousers should always be covered – as it is, just about, here.

 

 

What else makes this a typical modern Neapolitan jacket?

Well, the lapel is quite wide (4 inches), which enhances the rounded shape of that front edge. And other things are rounded too, including the shape of the patch pockets and the ‘barchetta’ or ‘little boat’ shape of the breast pocket.

The gorge (the notch shape where the lapel and collar meet) is also quite high – 3¼ inches from the shoulder seam. This is a modern trend and something I might ideally have differently on this jacket. Closer to 4 inches might be better.

The sleeve is also tapered sharply towards the cuff. Despite starting at a fairly standard width at the top, it narrows to the point where a double-cuffed shirt would not be able to fit in the opening.

Overly narrow sleeves is also a trait of some younger Neapolitan tailors, and is worth avoiding.

Tight sleeves only make it look as if your jacket doesn’t fit. They don’t make you look more muscly.

 

 

There is a slight angle to the balance of this jacket, with the front a little longer than the back.

But this is not a feature of Neapolitan jackets. Many English do it too, as you can see in other posts in this series, such as my linen Anderson & Sheppard. It’s just often more noticeable with Neapolitans because the jackets are shorter.

Elsewhere, the chest of this jacket is cut quite close with no drape; the back is relatively suppressed through the waist; and the breast pocket is a touch higher than other tailors, reflecting the shorter length and higher gorge.

All are typical of this general Neapolitan style.

 

 

We will see in future editions of this series how an older generation of Neapolitan tailors cut things rather bigger, though still soft.

This is closer to the English tailors that inspired them in terms of cut, therefore, just not in structure.

Meanwhile, in the image above you can see that natural line to the shoulder of this Solito, as well as the Everyday Denim shirt and green-cotton handkerchief (from Anderson & Sheppard) it is worn with.

The trousers in a stiff cream cotton were not made by Solito, but by fellow Neapolitan Dalcuore. Their narrowness and deep 5cm cuffs are typical of most Neapolitans too, however.

The shoes are from Edward Green, a cap-toe oxford style they call Canterbury, made in dark-brown suede.

 

 

Style breakdown:

  • Shoulder width: 5¾ inches
  • Shoulder padding: Thin canvas plus felt
  • Sleevehead: Nothing, natural
  • Sleeve: Moderate, narrows sharply to cuff
  • Lapel: 4 inches
  • Gorge height: 3¼ inches
  • Drape: None
  • Outbreast pocket height: 9¾ inches
  • Buttoning point: 18½ inches
  • Waist suppression: Moderate
  • Quarters: Open, sharply below second button
  • Length: 30½ inches
  • Back seam: Suppressed
  • Vent height: 9¾ inches
  • Trouser circumference at knee: 19½ inches (not made by Solito)
  • Trouser circumference at cuff: 15¼ inches

Photography: Jamie Ferguson

 

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Richard T

Love this jacket, Simon. Coincidentally, before you first posted pictures of this jacket, I tried to have a jacket made in the same cloth, but it was out of stock. I hope to be able to find something similar for this spring /summer. In the meantime, I have a sort of autumn/winter version, though somewhat darker, also in a Caccioppoli cloth.

I like the cut of the trousers, too. The narrowness works well with the cut of the jacket. How much does Dalcuore charge for trousers?

I’ve really come to like the Neapolitan style of tailoring (also the Northern style of Sartoria Vergallo). Whilst I appreciate why many people find the English drape cut appealing, I don’t think it really works for me and I actually feel less comfortable with the excess material. I find the closer cut of this style of jacket very appealing and I can see myself gravitating more in this direction. If only there was a UK equivalent…

Richard T

Thanks, Simon. I’ve been meaning to talk t the guys at Thom Sweeney. I’ll make a post of doing so in the new year.

Thanks for this enjoyable post on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Do you intend to review the jacket and trousers which Thom Sweeney made for you as part of this series?

Also, if I recall correctly, your suede jacket from Cifonelli also has soft Neapolitan like shoulders? Do you intend to review that (or anything by Cifonelli) as part of this series?

Cheers!

FIDELIO

Hi Simon. Could you elaborate on the differences between Thom Sweeney’s soft jacket style and the Neapolitans? I have seen some examples and the main difference I notice vs. my Solito is that Thom Sweeney cuts the lapel with a definitive belly as opposed to it being straight.
Thanks,

Chancellor

Great entry to the series as always. Two questions:

1. How does gorge height affect appearance? Is it that the longer and more verticle (to keep the width the same) lapel line contributes to impression of height?

2. You write, “Well, the lapel is quite wide (4 inches), which enhances the rounded shape of that front edge.” I assume you mean the curved bottom of edge? And does it enhance it because of a more angled lapel edge that is reflected in the more angled part of the bottom curve?

Thanks for helping me understand these subtle points.

Chancellor

Thanks. So if the impact of gorge height has minimal impact on how one’s physical proportions appear, is choice of gorge height mostly just about style/aesthetic preference?

Mac

Hi Simon
A perfect casual jacket.
Out of interest, how much did you ask Luigi to lower the back by, 1cm?

SJW

Could you provide cloth details of your cream cotton Dalcuore trousers?

Robin

On the general point of soft shoulders you think this is necessary the best form given that tailoring is really to disguise and enhance the wearer’s body shape ?

Furthermore , I’ve found it very tricky to buy RTW soft tailoring and the shoulder often looks too short or too big . Though this is probably why it’s best to go MTM or Bespoke !

Anonymous

Lovely jacket and fabric. Is the fabric from Cacciopoli?

JW

Thanks for the post. I have been trying to get a similar fabric but to no avail. Any recommendations Simon? Merry Xmas!

David

Summer 2020 caccioppoli 300124 seems similar?

Jeff

The fabric is gorgeous. My initial reaction is that the lapels are too wide for my taste, but I like variety in what I wear so it would be interesting to have a piece with wide lapels.

For your bespoke jackets, do you typically have them made with “surgeon sleeves”?

anonymous

Some Neoplitans will do the top button (closest to shoulder) in a non-working fashion to allow the customer to remove the button if they want to lengthen the sleeve if they pass it down (remove from top, move to bottom). Clearly shortening the sleeves is more problematic, so best to raise a son with equally long or longer arms….at least this was the story I heard, maybe a cover for short cutting the work to sew a working button hole.

Anonymous

I think you mean “surgeon cuffs”.

FIDELIO

Hi Simon. I discovered Solito through your blog and commissioned a navy hopsack blazer. Coming along nicely. I find the style very appealing. Having some English suits I think the Italian style suits me better because I have broad chest and shoulders. The English cut can over emphasize that area while the Neapolitan makes the whole look more balanced I think. Does this mean I should focus on Neapolitan commissions going forward or there is always room for English style garments in a complete wardrobe on the basis of formality?
Happy holidays and keep up the great work.

FIDELIO

Hi Simon,
I recently received my Solito navy hopsack blazer and it is wonderful. Definitely the most comfortable jacket I own despite creating a nice silhouette and waist suppression. Perhaps it would be relevant to hear your comments about comfort as another dimension in your review of the different styles. For me at least it will become a must have in future commissions from any tailor. I am curious for example about how comfortable is your Liverano jacket, having read your review and your comment about the high armholes catching you.
By the way I also received my Bridge Coat, what an excellent product. You get the sense you are wearing something special and different. Keep them coming.
Thank you,

FIDELIO

It might be the lightness of the construction -which is new to me- and the weight of the hopsack but I find it quite enjoyable to wear. Can you comment on your Liverano from that perspective? I am tempted to try it.

Craig

It is my understanding that Gennaro cuts a fuller jacket than Luigi. Do you think it would be worth getting a fuller cut from this house?

Craig

Thank you Simon for the info. As you always say, let the tailor cut the house style. I just commissioned a jacket with Luigi on his trunk show in Miami, Florida.

He’s a great fellow and we talked about the jackets he has made for you in the past. I look forward to seeing how this style compares to other Neapolitan tailoring houses in future posts.

george

Very nice! A Happy New Year to you.

Ben

The neapolitan cut at its best, this.

Re sleeve width, proportionality to the rest of the outfit (width of trousers and torso from front/back or side) is key. So it makes sense to narrow the sleeves as the body of the jacket hugs the body more tightly. Obviously, if at any point the jacket follows the outline of one’s triceps—i.e. if one is visibly muscly—it’s too tight. And considerations shouldn’t be limited to when the arms hang at one’s side.

I can see the sleeves on this jacket being tapered another eighth of an inch unless doing so impedes movement.

Richard T

Hi Simon,

You’ve had a number of jackets made by Solito, but never a suit or any odd trousers, unless I’m mistaken.
Is there any particular reason for this?

Alex

Simon,

I’ve just worked my way down your excellent tailor styles series for the first time. What a great read!

With fascination, I noted that it was not until I reached the Italian makers that I for the first time thought the garments really looked good on you (with this Solito jacket coming close to perfection in my opinion). Forgive me if that sounds harsh, I don’t mean to offend in any way and I do have a point to make!

It is only when I read this article series that I realized that all the menswear enthusiasts I follow on social media almost exclusively wear suits and jackets of Italian make. Doubtlessly this constant bombardment of what is the “right” look has skewed my views of what is a proper fit and style.

However, I feel that most, if not all, of the English suits and jackets in this series look almost gimmicky. Obviously there is no such thing as objectiveness in tailoring, but when I try to methodically break down what I am seeing in the photos in the articles, I feel that the Italian pieces have been more expertly made to fit and flatter you. They look modern while maintaining the timelessness of a garment that has been made to fit the wearer’s body perfectly, emphasizing and suppressing the physical features of the wearer where needed.

The English (and indeed the Camps de Luca as well) jackets all look overly dramatic and stylized, with their often wide, structured and roped shoulders, full bodies and roomy arms. Paired with the very wide trousers, they almost look dated. They are head-turners in the way a costume is a head-turner, not in the way a truly excellent suit is a head-turner, if you know what I mean? There are some great points made in the comments on those posts, highlighting the issues (especially on the Henry Poole DB, which, forgive me, looks rather dreadful).

How do you feel about this? Are my points valid or have I just seen too much Liverano and Attolini in my Instagram feed?

Would you say that you are you moving more towards Italian cuts, or do you feel that the English ones still hold up?

Thank you!

Scott

Very insightful comments Alex! So far, my favorite garments in this series have been the Solito and Caraceni ones, both look fantastic. Simon has also done articles on other Italian tailors such as Zizolfi and Caliendo that are very helpful. The Caliendo and Zizolfi garments are beautiful and the fit on him looks to be exceptional. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly moving in the Italian direction, in large part due to Permanent Style.

Scott

Simon, this jacket is superb! I’ve read all of the articles in this series and have enjoyed them tremendously. So far, the top three styles that I prefer are Solito, Caraceni, and A&S, thus giving a slight edge to the Italians. For some reason I find the Caraceni style particularly interesting, but all three are outstanding. This series is some of your best work and I’m looking forward to all of the future articles.

A.

Is there any cotton like that (the one of your trousers) in the Caccioppoli range?

Thanks,
A.

Henry

Simon, do you know who made the fabric and what’s the code? Regards Henry

Bernie

Hi Simon,

Thanks to your coverage, I have recently ordered a sports coat and odd trouser from Solito. If I plan on directly visiting Naples, would it be plausible to secure the lower, local pricing for subsequent orders thereafter assuming I will have dialed in my fit and will just order remotely (and have things shipped to me)?

Justin

Hi Simon-

Did you specifically ask Luigi for a subtly longer jacket and lower buttoning point, or is your final jacket here more or less the house style? I have also seen the shorter length and high button-stance taken too far in this type of jacket and want to avoid that on my first Neapolitan commission, which is later this week. Thanks Simon.

Romain

Simon,

Thank you for this and all the other great content on your site.

I am based in Paris, and like the Neapolitan style best (not a fan of the Paris style). I am looking to build a serious wardrobe of business suits (starting from close to scratch).

Given this, I see two immediate main options:
– MTM through Jean-Manuel Moreau;
– bespoke, but this essentially requires 3 trips to Naples, as Neapolitan tailors seem not to travel to Paris (or at least not regularly).

Am I missing other options?

Between these two, I think I favor option bespoke with 3 trips to Naples (though really not easy to fit in my schedule). I am thinking Solito or Panico, based on your reviews and time spent watching pictures on instagram etc.

I’d welcome your advice.

Many thanks.

Best,
Romain

Joel Mullennix

Hello Simon,

Thank you for all your insightful discussion of menswear . I have very much enjoyed your articles and videos.
I will be visiting Naples this summer and am looking to have a jacket made. I am trying to narrow down which tailor to choose. From what I’ve seen, there is a lot to like about a number of those that you have worked with- Ciardi, Dalcuore, Zizolfi, Solito and Caliendo. I am a little smaller than you, 5’10” and about 140lbs, somewhat athletic build. It seems like Solito or Caliendo might be a good match, but perhaps you have a different opinion , or other tailors to recommend at this point. If you can spare a minute or two, would you mind sharing your thoughts? I really appreciate it.

Kind Regards,

Joel

Joel Mullennix

Thanks Simon . I will be in the Naples area for a couple of weeks. I was hoping that would allow for at least a couple of fittings, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking. I live in San Francisco, and I believe Solito comes here at least once a year, so that was another reason I thought he might be a good choice. I travel fairly frequently though and could talk myself into a Naples detour sometime within the year. I appreciate the advice, and please let me know if you are aware of other tailors from Naples who visit SF or LA from time to time.
Best,
Joel

Harry

Hi Simon,

How similar is the 300141 Caccioppoli from the new summer bunch (jackets) to this cloth from what you can see?

It looks very similar and I love the cloth so keen to get your view.

In terms of the current situation does it make sense to order the cloth now and then send to a maker for when I would like to have made. Is there a size to ask for that’s safe (6 ft 3 inches / 83 kg)

Thanks for all the guidance as always

Bernie Leung

Hi Simon,

For this jacket, is it finished with double stitching or swelled edges? Do you think swelled edges would be best for only solid colored jackets and heavier ones?

Bernie Leung

Hi Simon,

Does double stitching always go hand in hand w/ swelled edges or are they different? For ex: Does your Caliendo tan summer jacket and Caliendo navy DB hopsack have swelled edges, double stitching, or both?

Bernie Leung

I am noticing that there is a variation in how pronounced /double stitching/swelled edges are. Some double stitching has a more pronounced/sportier effect with a taller swelling. I read that this effect is caused by either pick stitching the edge using a backstitch or a single stitching for a more pronounced effect.

What do you think about more pronounced swelling on jackets with patterns, like your featured Solito summer jacket?

Bernie Leung

I think you are right in that it mostly depends on the cloth, thank you

DKP

@Simon – I notice in these photos that the trousers look to have a very slight break but also understand from previous posts this could simply be due to the angle of the photo or how you were standing at the time. I often notice these days a trend to have no break of any kind and if anything, the cuff hovering just above the shoe or slightly “kissing” it. What is your preference?