Sartoria Ciardi cotton suit: Style breakdown

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In our last installment in this Tailor Styles series, we looked at the modern incarnation of the Neapolitan jacket: light and soft, but also short with a small shoulder.

Today’s suit, from Sartoria Ciardi, is the diametric opposite within Neapolitan style.

It is closer to the original cut developed by Vincenzo Attolini, who re-made the suits of the English to use less padding and lighter canvas, making them better suited to southern Italy.

Attolini did not fundamentally alter the proportions, however, and this Ciardi suit hasn't much either. The shoulders are still strong, the body easy, the length easily covering the seat.

Indeed, given all the English tailoring we’ve already covered in this series, it will be interesting to compare the Ciardi measurements to those houses. And in subsequent weeks to see how other Neapolitans vary between the twin poles of this and Solito.

House: Sartoria Ciardi

Address: Via Giuseppe Fiorelli 12, Naples


Cutter: Enzo Ciardi

Price (at time of writing): €3200 (incl VAT)

Suit starting price: €3200 (incl VAT)


The most important thing to keep in mind with this suit, which Enzo Ciardi cut for me in 2018, is the thick cotton it is made from (Drapers, Cotton & Cotton 4844, 13oz).

Cottons are wonderful in many ways, particularly comfort and ageing. But they have no drape.

So while the straight lines are nice and sharp (see skirt and vents) the curved lines in the waist or elbow will always be crumpled.

They will soften over time, and the colour will fade naturally - but that requires wearing and washing. It will probably even be nicer (but take longer) than lightweight cottons like my Caliendo suit.

In terms of style and proportion, the first thing to note with the jacket is its length. The back seam is 31¾ inches long, more than an inch longer than the more modern Solito.

This puts it towards the shorter end of the English tailors (though still longer than Anderson & Sheppard) and around the same as the Milanese like Ferdinando Caraceni.

The buttoning point is proportionately lower still, a full inch lower than Solito and one of the lowest we’ve looked at in this series.

The next important point is the fit around the body. Few modern Neapolitan jackets have any drape in the chest (excess fabric, adding fullness/strength but also comfort), but Ciardi does.

Indeed, if you look at the side-on shot of the suit above, you can see there is little suppression in the waist at all - the back runs in an almost uninterrupted line from top to bottom.

This is particularly noteworthy on my body shape, where my larger shoulder blades and hollow back make it hard to avoid some suppression.

The upper back also has more drape than most Neapolitans - an effect exaggerated by the stiffness and light colour of the cloth.

These factors all contribute to making the jacket very comfortable, while still retaining a flattering impression and ‘X shape’ at the front.

Interestingly, the shoulders are not that wide - only a quarter inch wider than the Solito.

But this measurement only runs the length of the shoulder seam, from the collar to the beginning of the sleevehead.

The bigger difference is the roping on the Ciardi jacket, which effectively extends the line of the shoulder out into the top of the sleeve. Few modern Neapolitans have this, and it adds at least another half inch to the width.

As a technical aside, this jacket is also one of the few I’ve had made that has a ‘spalla camicia’ construction all the way down the front and back of the sleevehead.

This construction, where the the sleeve appears to run underneath the shoulder, is usually only employed on a smaller section of the sleevehead, and sometimes just at the front.

One area where Neapolitan jackets are usually significantly different to their English cousins - but less commented upon than sleeve or structure - is the opening below the waist button.

Here Ciardi is again more conservative than Solito, being a little more closed. However, it still retains the roundness of that front edge that you rarely see outside Italy.

The comparison is most stark against the Anderson & Sheppard linen jacket (see post at that link). Its opening is actually larger than the Ciardi, but the lines of the opening are much straighter.

Elsewhere on this suit, the lapel is quite broad at 3¾ inches, and the gorge (the notch in the lapel) quite high at 3⅛ inches from the shoulder seam.

The vent is quite long, befitting its length, the sleeve only subtly tapered towards the cuff.

It is a slightly more formal cut than the modern Neapolitans and, on most people, a more flattering one. It’s the key reason my first suit from Ciardi was a more business-like four-ply wool.

The broad blue-and-white striped shirt is from Luca Avitabile, with blue wool tie and yellow handkerchief from the Anderson & Sheppard Haberdashery.

I rarely wear bright shirts or ties with summery suits like this, but tend to add colour in a handkerchief: here a slightly unusual ikat-print cotton.

The loafers are the Piccadilly model from Edward Green, in dark-oak antique calf.

You can see the full list of posts in this series - which is gradually comparing the cuts of every major bespoke tailor I've used - in the dedicated page here. 

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

 Style breakdown:

  • Shoulder width: 6 inches
  • Shoulder padding: Thin canvas plus felt
  • Sleevehead: Moderate roping
  • Sleeve: Straight, only slightly tapered
  • Lapel: 3¾ inches
  • Gorge height: 3⅛ inches
  • Drape: Moderate
  • Outbreast pocket height: 10 inches
  • Buttoning point: 19½ inches
  • Waist suppression: Small
  • Back seam: Straight, little suppression
  • Quarters: Moderate opening, from first button
  • Length: 31¾ inches
  • Vent height: 9¼ inches
  • Trouser circumference at knee: 19¾ inches
  • Trouser circumference at cuff: 15¼ inches

Photography: Jamie Ferguson