Sartoria Ciardi cotton suit: Style breakdown
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
- 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
Very nice Simon. Hard to tell the color on a laptop screen, though. What would you say it is, I guess somewhere between grey and light olive?
Yes, a slightly muted light olive
Love the new style of post listing the name, address, price and style breakdown.
And the last photo, you look really happy which is nice to see. I’m not sure you know how a smile can make a difference to someone. I’m often in hospital and once when smiling at a total stranger when passing, she came over to me to tell me my smile made her day as no-one smiles in hospital.
Very nice suit. The only thing I don’t like is the high gorge; are you happy with it?
I don’t mind it, but yes it could be a little lower. As it’s slightly more of a fashion thing I don’t mind some variation there between my suits.
I notice the trousers are cut with quite the break, more so than on many of your other trousers. Is this down to their house style or something else?
Given that it’s a thicker cotton I assume it will fade very nicely over time, but it looks like this fabric will risk getting shiny rather than matt/faded in worn areas. Perhaps just due to color and lighting in the pictures?
Just a small variation in the cut I think.
The cotton should just fade rather than shine, if previous cottons from the same mill are anything to go by
The fit looks right, jacket length a tad too long for my taste but overall looks very balanced and I love the colour/fabric combination. I personally quite like Ciardi’s roping, which in my experience with them complements nicely the cut of their double breasted jackets, although I accept it is not to everyone’s liking. Well done to Ciardi for cutting a lovely suit.
A very very nice suit, although I prefer the Caliendo style.
I have a couple of trousers from the same bunch, do you think this colour would be good as an odd trouser, to go with a beige linen jacket for example?
It would be ok, yes. Easiest to wear with a dark jacket though, like navy or dark brown
Do you ever get “style fatigue?” What I mean by that is – I often find myself coming to this site (and others like it that are less wonderful) only to see you modeling yet another bespoke suit (cotton, wool, etc.), or discussing another distinction between regional tailors, or facilitating more discussions about gorges or lapel widths or millimeters of fabric.
I love clothing – and the idea of having a signature style – I just wonder if the effect of having a post a day (or three – four a week) is that the reader becomes numb to it all.
I’m no fan of Michael Williams at A Continuous Lean – and his commentary is thin at best – but he offers the “less is more” model of only having a new post once in great while.
I wonder how others feel about this.
You seem to have a new suit, coat, or blazer (or s.c.) every few days.
It’s not a criticism – as I love your work and you – it’s more of a personal reaction to something.
Maybe I should visit the site less. But I keep coming back.
No, it’s a nice point, I know what you mean. I get that more with social media where the volume is so much higher, but could get how someone could get it here as well.
I guess it helps if you’re often thinking about one commission or another, or if you have a wardrobe that means most of the style posts provide some kind of fresh idea.
I also try to keep a consistent mix of topics – from a personal craft story, to a detailed piece of analysis like this, to maybe something unusual like boro cloth or fur
I do understand Wes’ point.
In terms of your wardrobe, Simon, When is enough enough? The projects are always interesting but at some point having so much starts to look greedy
I can completely see that Nick. I think it has to be seen at this point though – given the size of PS – as more magazine than personal blog, and therefore something that needs new offerings and ideas to show to people. I get more complaints when I feature old commissions where the cloth isn’t available any more, for example.
I do regularly also give away pieces I no longer where, which are gratefully received by friends and family. And plan to regularly do sales like the one we did on the Row before Christmas.
I’ll just write that I’m slightly in awe of your dedication to replying to all our questions, even on old posts. I think that would fatigue me! Needless to write, it’s very much appreciated and has been extremely helpful to me!
No problem at all – I find it a really nice extension of the posts, adding information that readers want on top of what the posts contain
Would love to see a post on Cifonelli in this series as part of covering “every major bespoke tailor” that you’ve used.
It will be included in the series (indeed it is already shot and measured) but I’m trying to get through all the major styles first, and Cifonelli and Camps didn’t differ enough
On the Neapolitan tailors scale, would you put this towards the same end as Sartoria Zizolfi?
The roping on the shoulder is a bit unusual for a Neapolitan tailor isn’t it? Personally I’ve never cared for the rope shoulder look. Is this type of shoulder just part of the Ciardi style or did you chose this design for a particular reason? Are there any particular benefits to having a roped shoulder versus the more traditional sleeve shoulder?
It is for the modern Neapolitans (see the beginning of the piece for comparison of the differences) but not for the older ones, who were more similar to English suits in style. It’s part of the Ciardi style, though they can do a more natural one as well.
A roped shoulder can be a nice way to draw attention to the end of the shoulder, creating an impression of strength that might otherwise be achieved with padding or extending the shoulder
Now I’m confused.
You say in the text that you have gone for “Spalla Camicia”, but in this reply you are talking about the extent of the roping on the sleevehead.
It can only be one or the other, not both. The pictures definitely suggest roping.
Also did you choose the lapped seams, or is this just how it turned out?
No, the two are different I’m afraid.
Spalla camicia only refers to how the seam is created where the sleeve and shoulder join. One appears to run underneath the other, or vice versa.
Spalla camicia tends to be made with a natural shoulder, which runs smoothly from shoulder down into sleeve. But it doesn’t have to be, and isn’t here.
In the same way, people also tend to associate spalla camicia with ripples or mappina at the top of the sleeve, caused by the tailor putting extra fullness there. But this doesn’t have to be the case either – and wasn’t usually done by most traditional tailors like Ciardi, Panico etc.
Clearly a full post required here at some point…
Thanks for the education on this important point. By the way, that EG penny loafer looks fantastic. I think I like it better than the John Lobb Lopez. Why did you choose this model?
I’ve always been a big fan of Edward Green (though, worth noting these are a sample, not a pair of mine – as mentioned now and again, A&S and EG are supplying the accessories for all these shoots)
I had a pair of EG shoes, but they ended up on my son’s feet more than mine and, as a result, ended up in his closet. I’m a big fan of John Lobb and own several pair, but EG may require another look. In addition to the Piccadilly model, I also like the EG boot the Galway. Discussing all things sartorial is so much fun!
If fit was the problem with the EGs, remember every brand will have a slightly different set of lasts (shapes) that will fit your foot better or worse. It’s worth shopping on the basis of those as much as designs.
Big fan of the Galway, the most comfortable RTW boot I own.
Actually the fit was excellent, but he liked the shoe so much that I gave him the pair. The shoe was a beautiful brown cap toe that I later replaced with a John Lobb version. There’s a French shoemaker named Heshung that makes fantastic boots that you might find interesting, great for outdoor and casual wear. My favorite model is the Gingko, No Man Walks Alone carries the line.
Ah, I see. Yes, I know Heschung. Bit rugged for me generally, but nice
Alden, a U.S. shoemaker, makes excellent boots as well that aren’t as rugged as Heshung, but they’re not in the same league as The EG Galway or EG in general. I have to agree that the Galway is the way to go.
I love Alden, but wouldn’t wear an Alden boot with any of my suits. Still too chunky for me.
Their full-strap loafer on the (narrower) Aberdeen last though, definitely.
Several years ago I had made for me an ankle boot from John Lobb called the Tudor that works very well with suits. If they still make it, I think you would really like it.
Simon, do you ever wear your Galways with your non-casual suits?
Not really with suits, no. I can see them perhaps with a very casual, tweedy suit. But most of the time a derby or loafer looks better I think.
Easier with separate jacket and trousers
Would be nice with centimeters in brackets for those of us who are impaired in the imperial metric system.
I find, for trouser style and fit, that front rise really alters the overall structure of a trouser (as I’ve seen clearly by my 10” Thom Sweeney trousers versus my 12.5” Edward Sexton). Perhaps you could include this measurement going forward in the series so readers could analyze that effect. Just a thought. Thanks!
Nice point. In general, though, this tends to be something of personal preference rather than a house style point. I have all mine at the same rise
I think it has quite a flattering silhouette.
…speaking as a long term reader: no reader numbness here, Simon’s skill is in keeping the content mixed, interesting and entertaining whilst retaining format and quality – harder than it sounds. Then there is the editorial generosity of hosting the many varied comments adding another layer of detail and enjoyment.
Hi Simon, you mention washing the suit: do you mean dry cleaning or is it the intention (unlikely but as it is cotton) to hand/machine wash?Also the top button – ideally how high above the navel do you prefer the buttoning point? (P.S. the ‘dedicated page’ seems to confusingly display with text overlay of title over contents – viewing on mobile).
Dry cleaning. I wouldn’t machine or hand wash, largely because of the canvas etc inside
Sorry, on the buttoning point it varies with style and jacket length, as you can see through the series of pieces. It’s partly preference, partly cutting style.
And thanks on the responsive design point, I’ll take a look at that
Lovely colour. My concern is about cotton fading. On a brown jacket of mine it does not look good at all (it seems the sun took some color away ) and may be even less torelable on a not so casual suit.
The cut is nice, not so sure about the fit: the trousers look looser than the jacket, and like on your former Ciardi suit, the rope seems too close to the top of the arm. It looks like a bump, could possibly have been avoided with a larger width. Maybe it is just the picture after all.
Yes, I’d hesitate about conclusions on the fit from this, particularly on such a stiff cloth.
Fading is a very personal style thing: it happened a lot on my old Choppin & Lodge navy cotton, and I loved that.
Everything looks great to my eye except for the silhouette seen from the side. Without suppression and with the cotton fabric, it looks messy. Also given cotton’s tendency to fold sharply, thereby giving little lapel roll, I might have just gone with a 2b instead of the 3r2. All the latter’s adding there seems to be an unused button hole.
A minimally-structured neapolitan with harder lines is probably my go-to cut.
I have looked at the (usefully linked) A&S, Caraceni and Solito: at one end, from side view, the Caraceni silhouette seems slightly stooped, the A&S and Solito midway, the Ciardi the most straight up and down: for me the Ciardi is best – which is your preference? Nice shot at the end by the way…
What do you mean by slightly stooped? Presumably not me standing more or less stooped?
How about some dress shirt ideas?
Love those EGs. I just bought a pair of Oxfords there. I find the first week of wearing shoes most stressful – before they start to develop a patina I am so precious about the slightest mark! This pair also seem to have a new shoe squeak… Will this go away as the leather gets broken in a tad?
It might do – wear them a few more times, and if it doesn’t go away, take them back in.
In relation to JB’s comment on the break, I wonder whether the explanation could be (I know, Simon, that you say we should be cautious about drawing conclusions from photographs) the apparently fairly narrow width of the trousers at the cuff? They look as if they could be 7 inches or less. Simon?
Thanks for the qualification in there!
Yes, it might not be helped by the slimness, but they’re not too slim – see measurement at the bottom of the post.
I’m always surprised at the length of your jackets. Most RTW seems to be around 30″ from the bottom of the collar in a regular length. I know you prefer a more traditional length, but it still surprises me that the majority of RTW, regardless of the maker, is so much shorter.
Yes I know. It’s the fashion of the age unfortunately.
However, there are very rational things behind the range of jacket lengths seen in this series, for example if the jacket doesn’t cover your bottom at all, it sticks out at a rather odd angle. At that length you might as well cut it above the bottom and make a blouson.
Also, bespoke tailoring tends to go with the fashions, just never reach its extremes. So jackets have been very long (in the 60s and 70s, in zoot suits) and very loose (Armani, 80s). Right now they’re very short. Bespoke tends to moderated versions of these trends – same with lapel widths.
Love the suit and especially the sloping shoulders.
Are the shoulders an “Italian” thing? I feel I see a lot of “English” suits are straight across the shoulders and make people look like they are sort of standing in a fabric box.
All the best.
That’s probably the extra padding that most English tailors have (drape tailors like Anderson & Sheppard have a bit less).
You’ve commissions jackets in heavy cotton from Sartoria Ciardi, Musella Dembech and Ferdinando Caraceni. IMHO all three houses have some interesting similarities; they combine a relatively traditional silhouette with soft construction. Is this a style you think works particularly well with heavy cotton or was the choice more random?
More random really – it was more just that I like cottons and wanted to try a certain style from that tailor.
The Musella wasn’t a heavy cotton by the way, it was a lighter weight
What is the measurement of the turn up cuff on the trousers please? Looks relatively substantial, and very smart.
5cm – all mine are, though it’s more of an Italian size than an English one (which tend to be a little smaller)
I am not sure if there is place in any article for this, but how is Brexit going to affect “Permanent Style?”
It seems everything from exchange rate to tariffs to travel are up in the air…Is there any contingencies you have considered?
Is anyone reviewing things with small businessmen such as yourself. Easily half of what Permanent Style is all about involved the EU….
There is some government guidance, yes, but it’s not always that helpful.
Most of what we do won’t change – the only significant thing will be some of the collaboration products, which come from the EU into the UK. But then, it’s still far from clear we’ll end up outside the single market.
That is one handsome suit
Yet another great suit (I can only assume you have a Narnian size wardrobe) and a delectably nerdy post. However, possibly another photographic trick of the eye, but the circumference at the cuff on these trousers you say is 15 1/4in, however the same measurement on the trousers you wear in the Anderson Sheppard two-button jacketshoot is 17in and appears yet slimmer; on the same shoe. Are these measurements correct ? Is it the fabric? Or just the photo. Many thanks.
Hi John. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a wardrobe you could slip through into a sartorial world?
Yes the measurements are correct, I can only blame photography or cloth I’m afraid.
Re. the stooping: yes, if you look at the side view. The question is it stance or fit? I ask as the A& S silhouette is better. My own experience is that, for me, it can be both. Sometimes I can stand badly but it can also be the jacket (the jacket wearing me rather than the other way around). This is usually the cut but I would be surprised as it is Caraceni?
Interesting. I try to stand in the same position each time, but I guess there will always be small variations. I don’t think I’ve ever had a suit that makes me stand more stopped though. I would think it would have to be very stiff
It’s worth considering the Grenson boot range too. As owner of both Edward Green and Grenson boots, I regard the latter as fantastic value for money. The leather may not be quite the same quality, but if you’re looking for something English made and rugged enough for bad weather, yet also smart enough to wear under a suit you cannot beat the price.
Do have a jacket/suits made by Rubinacci?
Like hear your analysis on the work of Rubinacci
Yes, I had a jacket made a while ago. You can find all six posts on it by searching ‘Rubinacci cashmere jacket’
They will also be included later on in this series.
…ha, no the suits weren’t stiff just not well cut. Do have a look at the images though – you’ll see what I mean (Caraceni image 8 vs. Ciardi image 3). Cutters have sometimes said that they can judge the age of a client by the stoop, which, unless the individual is particularly active or fit, starts gently around 30 and gradually increases through each decade. However, Ciardi 3 seems very natural and is without stoop…
Thank you so much for this series and the entire website. It has been a valuable educational tool for both style and craftsmanship. I have scanned this series, and am having trouble understanding how you measure the buttoning point. Early article allude to a measurement from the “neck point,” but where is that? The reason I ask is that I have had two suits made, and the buttoning point one one suit, to my eye, is an inch and a half higher than on the other – not an insignificant amount for a guy who stands 5’5″. I’m about to order another suit, and I want to make sure there is a difference, and explain it correctly. If I knew where the “neck point” is, I’m sure I can accurately measure to the buttoning point. Thanks to anyone who is able to point me in the right direction.
The neck point is where the back seam of the jacket meets the collar. For your purposes, though, you could measure it from anywhere I guess as along as you did the same for both
Thank you, Simon. Your commitment to responding to so many comments is as impressive as your site.
Beautiful suit. I love the drape but combined with the slightly cutaway foreparts of the skirt and the roped shoulder. It’s also great to see that the jacket also covers your backside. Jackets that expose the unsightly creasing of one’s trousers under one’s “seat” are not to be encouraged. Are the trousers not, perhaps, an inch too long?
Perhaps a touch Michael, yes, though see comments above on discussing that
Not a comment on this post specifically, but I’m afraid there is no better place. I enjoy reading your articles on the phone, but the mobile layout wastes a good third on white space instead of text. Are there plans to change that?
Hi Niels. Useful point, thanks. So you’re saying you’d prefer it if the text column was wider?
Yes, exactly. While the layout makes sense on a tablet or pc, on mobile I much prefer wall-to-wall text.
An absolutely fantastic suit! I love cotton suits and I find they do particularly well with informal Italian styles.
A lot of people are skeptical to cotton as a suiting fabric but I think it compares well to linen and traditional wool. It has a distinct look that sets it apart from the others, while still being very wearable in an urban spring, summer and early autumn.
Niels is correct, Simon. It’s a real pain trying to type a comment on a mobile.
Thanks Russ, great feedback
For JJ: the neck point, as Simon details, is at the back of the jacket. It roughly relates to the vertebra prominent (C7) in the spine and generally, is at the base of the collar. Other than its relation to lapel placement it bears little importance to the buttoning point unless you measure the buttoning point from there when the jacket is laid flat. Ordinarily a cutter/tailor will position the top button a few inches above the navel. The navel is usually in line with the lowest rib – the buttoning point should sit above this at the natural waistline. If you bend slightly to the side the ‘crease line’ will mark the waistline. Given your height you might prefer a lower button point on or near the navel. This will lengthen the lapel gorge giving the appearance of a longer torso and thus, visually, a longer frame.
Thank you. Your comments on lengthening the appearance of my torso is precisely the look I am after. The lower button point is what I prefer, and will use. Thanks.
Re. Niels’ point surely an outward pinch would resize/enlarge the text and decrease white space (works on the iPhone)…? p.s. personally I love the clean look.
Simon, in a few of your photos the jacket has an “X” at the front. Is that an indication that it’s too tight?
Through the waist button? Yes it can be, that’s where tightness would show. But it isn’t necessarily. Lighting or cloth can give an X when there’s actually room there
I’ve been wondering, when you give a lapel gorge measurement, exactly where are you measuring to and from?
Hey Jonny. From the point of the gorge (where the lapel and collar meet) to the shoulder seam
Perpendicular to the edge of the lapel (as shown here: https://tinyurl.com/wqv42tz)? Or in a horizontal line? Diagrams would help
A horizontal line.
I do have a diagram from the upcoming book. I’ll try to find it and add it to the introduction article in this guide
Simon, I have a general question. I am assuming that, like me, your first step in a commission is finding a length of fabric you like. Once that is done, what is your thought process in deciding between single breasted and double breasted? I love both, I wear both, but for every new commission it’s what I perseverate with the most.
Hi Craig. My default would always be single breasted. It’s much more subtle and versatile. Double breasted would usually be an exception driven by one of two things: either I particularly think this cloth would suit a DB (because it would interest to something quite conservative, perhaps) or I already have something similar in an SB and want the variation. Oh, and it depends a lot on the tailor’s DB style. There is much more to vary with a DB and you need to be 100% certain you like their style
Simon, thanks for the reply. Is this also the reason why you seem to eschew three-piece suits? That they stand out too much (in a negative way)? I can’t recall seeing you commissioning a vest with one of your suits though I may be mistaken. For some reason I think a suit with a vest seems to stand out more than a double breasted suit, and I find it easier to wear the latter.
It is, and yes it’s the reason I rarely have waistcoats. I have had them, for example with my Chittleborough and Morgan suit. But I find I rarely wear them
Do you by any chance know how much Ciardi charge for a jacket ordered in London?
No sorry, but I’ll check the Ciardi jacket price now
Thank you! Is that including VAT?
Yes including VAT
I can’t decide whether a lower buttoning point adds to casualness or rather the opposite.
What do you think ?
Generally, less casual. But it’s a minor point compared to all the other aspects of the jacket, which will outweigh it
Lovely suit and I particularly love the colour.
How do you think this colour would work for eg a non cotton suit?
Eg a flannel or high twist wool – Implications for the interplay between colour and texture.
Many thanks, as always.
Do you find there is a big difference in the jacket quarters between Ciardi and Zizolfi?
I find from your photos that Ciardi seem to be more closed (which is closer to my preference) but I was not sure if it was just the images deceiving me.
I am currently torn between the two for my first commission. I really like the style of the double breasted from Zizolfi – it is more subtle than Ciardi – but the more open quarters of the single breasted Zizolfi style bug me and makes me prefer Ciardi. Is this something that can be addressed easily during the cutting process without moving away from the house style?
I’d rather pick one Neapolitan tailor who I can build a relationship with over time and can provide me with both single and double breasted jackets, something I have started doing with W&S which has yielded great results.
I think either could work to be honest. You can tweak the opening and the DB lapel style with either I think, without deviating much from the house style.
Solid approach, by the way.
Dear Stephen and Simon,
I have had very much the same dilemma over the Ciardi and Zizolfi question. I would also ask the following regarding the lapels. The Ciardi lapel looks longer and with less roll than the Zizolfi which I would generally prefer. However, do you think that requesting a bit elongated lapel with a bit less of a roll would be inappropriate from Zizolfi? (I believe it would be mostly a question of how it is ironed rather than how it is cut.) I would pick Zizolfi rather than Ciardi on the double breasted, the shoulder, possibility of collaboration with Pommella and honestly much of it would be due to Ciro himself, whom I met at the talk with Douglas and Gianluca and liked him a lot.
I would also certainly stick with just one tailor.
Do tailors vary the opening of the quarters depending on whether they are making a suit of a sports coat? Would they vary it between clients without explicit request (on openness on quarters or length of coat)?
No, generally not on either count
First post here.. Wanted to thank you for this series Simon.. It is indeed a treasure for people like me that have been through rtw for years and are just starting out in bespoke . I already have had a couple of jackets made for me by local tailors in Athens.. plus around 4 or 5 pants and some vests too..
Out of all styles reviewed so far I can say that I am attracted the most by Ciardi … While I live in Athens, which gets very hot in the summer and while I can appreciate the more light approach by the modern Neapolitans i.e. Solito etc I am pretty sure that this style is not for me.. I would opt any day for a more structured look but I wouldn’t want it too structured as my figure is quite imposing on its own (I am 6 ft 6, weighing in the area of 230 pounds).. that’s the main reason why I shy away from the Sexton db as I imagine I would look scary in it .. Mr Sexton, as I understand by photos, must be quite smaller than me…
Long story short I think that Ciardi is right up my alley , or rather, right what I would like my alley to look like…. if that makes any sense… (English is not my first language). I understand they visit London .. How often does that happen and how much time do you reckon that I would need to get the finished product ? I reckon 2 or 3 fittings will be enough right?
On a different subject I almost always wear odd jackets with odd pants.. The way I have them made with my local tailors is usually one jacket with two different pants .. do you think that Ciardi could help me pick which different cloth to have each garment made? Obviously I have a pretty good idea on what I like but it’s always good to know that I can get some sort of sound advice as well..
sorry for the long message. questions are not aimed solely to Simon. I would appreciate and be thankful to anyone that can give me some insight .. thank you
Hey Thomas. It sounds like Ciardi would suit you, yes. They come to London every three or four months, and would need at least three meetings for the first suit, so two fittings, possibly four meetings. Then at least one less on subsequent commissions.
Enzo could certainly give some advice on trousers to fit with the odd jackets, though his taste is perhaps a little Neapolitan and therefore your current experience (and perhaps reading, as on here) would be required as well I think.
Hope that’s some help
Thank you Simon. Any idea on when Ciardi is coming to London .? Also I imagine that while they are there they arrange for someone to translate from English to Italian .. correct?
It’s October I think. I’ll check with Enzo.
And no, Enzo’s English is just about good enough
Would you consider pleats in this heavy cotton? Can‘t tell from the pictures what you went with here but assuming a flat front. I imagine a heavier cotton would do better in holding a crease compared to a lighter one, but then it’s still cotton. Any thoughts? I’m seeing Prologue tomorrow and am really drawn to this colour and material. Anything you’d do differently after a couple of months’ wear? Thanks much
I’d have it lighter probably, unless you already have one or two lighter cotton’s. And no, I wouldn’t get pleats. They wouldn’t hold
I find it difficult to see any tangible value here at €3200 (incl VAT).
It’s good value for bespoke Simon – is it bespoke as a whole you don’t see the value in, or Ciardi in particular?
Would you wear the jacket separately as a sports coat ?
Possibly. It would help when it was washed and worn in a lot
Hey Simon, happy Monday!
I’ve been looking through your Neapolitan commissions over the weekend, they really look great on you- I have a couple of questions, if you’d indulge me…
1- would you say that Ciardi and Zizolfi are the closest representations of the original Neapolitan style introduced by Vincenzo Attolini?
2- you appear to have a lot from Solito. Is this because the style is more casual than some of the other Neapolitans? I’m under the impression that the make isn’t quite as good as some of the other Neapolitan’s.
3. In terms of formality, how would sartorias like Zizolfi & Panico stack up against Liverano?
Keep them coming, I’ve spent way more time on these articles than I would like to admit!
1 – I don’t know the history well enough to talk about precise details, but they’re both similar and more like that style than younger, modern Neapolitans
2 – That’s right, it isn’t, but I’ve had a fair bit because it’s a level cheaper (though it has gone up a bit recently) and because I like Luigi
3 – No, I’d say Liverano is smarter. I personally wouldn’t wear Liverano with jeans for instance
Thanks Simon, good to know!
Do Ciardi & Caliendo still travel to London for trunk shows?
Yes they do. Caliendo is always the most frequent, but Ciardi has also started coming a little more often now, every two months
and how does Ciardi & Caliendo vary in terms of style? I can’t seem to find a good comparison.
Have a read of the Style Breakdown articles on Solito and then on Ciardi. Caliendo is more similar to Solito
Is Enzo able to make a jacket without the darts at the front?
I don’t know to be honest, I haven’t asked. But I would be tentative in doing so, and not take him up on it unless it was something he had done before. Don’t try and make a tailor something they aren’t.
Any news on the chambray date Simon?
No, sorry. India is still in lockdown
This suit looks really great on you. I’m sure that heavy cotton is a pleasure to wear and break in. Would you wear the jacket on its own too or just as a full suit? I was just wondering wy u usually don’t really mention and show the trousers when reviewing a suit. I understand there is more difference between jackets of different tailors but if you ask me they make a huge difference in the overal look and comfort. Thanks
You’re right, they do make a big difference. The reason we don’t talk about them. much in these style breakdown articles is that they vary less between tailors, and that there aren’t clear house styles really, and that it would make the articles a little too long. But it’s something we can look at separately perhaps.
I might wear this separately as a jacket, yes. Perhaps particularly when it has broken in and softened.
Going a bit more into trouser fit at some point could be interesting. Thanks for the reply!
It’s on the list! Cheers J
Nice suit and its also very reasonably priced. Do you know if there are good bespoke tailors in the Parisian region that are this reasonably priced? I don’t like the shoulder style of Cifonelli ( I would want a neopolitan style shoulder) and find it very expensive too.
Thank you in advance for your advice.
Not that I know of, no sorry. The Parisian style is quite refined and expensive. Do consider Jean-Manuel Moreau though, for high-end made to measure
Hi Simon – how has the cloth broken in? Do you have a favorite cotton bunch? A guide to cotton suiting might be useful. Thank you.
It’s broken in OK, but it’s still pretty heavy.
I’d recommend the 9oz from Holland & Sherry first – my Caliendo, Suzuki and Musella suits have all been in that.
Interesting that for wool cloths you tend to prefer heavier weight for shape and drape, but in cotton you go with something lightweight with explicitly no shape and drape! What’s your thinking on that?
Is there a cotton that holds a crease that you would recommend? Thank you.
Cotton just has no drape, in any weight really.
I want it light in weight because I’m primarily getting it as a warm-weather suit
Ok, so if drape can’t be achieved then just maximize for comfort. Makes sense.
These trousers from AI really do hold a crease, as advertised. A guide to cottons could be useful to talk about why and how and which bunches to look to for which qualities.
The problem is, there aren’t really many good ones. They’re all too shiny – one reason AI doesn’t use one that’s available bespoke
The gorge on your other Ciardi suit looks much higher than on this one. Is it just the photo angle, or is there a real difference? If the latter, which one would be the house style or closer to it? Thanks.
This one was a little bit lower, but neither is precisely the house style – small points like that are the choice of the customer
Thanks for the reply, Simon. ‘Appreciate the guidance provided by these posts.
Hi Simon, could you say that this 13oz material is more casual than the gabardine you used in Suzuki and Dembech suits? Also, how has this broken in compared to the caraceni jacket, which I seem to remember was more similar in weight? Lastly, given the weight does this suit get more use in spring/autumn compared to 9oz suits? Apologies for so many questions and have a great weekend!
Yes, I would say it is more casual. It’s not as silky.
It has broken in, but is still pretty tough. The Caraceni was easier in that regard – though that was vintage, so I don’t know what there is that’s similar.
To be honest, it doesn’t get as much use than either of the others, but that might be more the colour.
No worries on the questions, always welcome!
Hi Simon, do you go half lined on all your cotton suits or would you ever go fully lined.
Usually half lined, but I would sometimes go fully lined, yes – advantages and disadvantages spelt out here
Hi Simon, little technical question! How is drape created in the back, next to the blade and armhole, and in the front, between the chest and armhole? To me, it is similar to a coat that is not slope enough for the shoulders of the wearer. Is it the same thing, extra fabric verticaly, from the shoulder downwards, but done intentionally, for movement and comfort, or is it horizentaly?
I couldn’t give an accurate technical description, Pascal, not being a tailor, but no it’s not the same as the shoulder just being lower because it’s sloping. There’s more room vertically and horizontally
I have now used Whitcomb and Shaftsbury on a few occasions, and am really happy with them. However all for quite traditional pieces, with a saville row feel.
I am though trying for my next commission to make a linen suit up in this exact Ciardi , neopolitan style – I love your pieces from them. I would likely show them this exact image and say – this style please!
However, given travel restrictions and timeframe I’m aiming for, I can not obviously use Ciardi . I am thus considering using W&S, and seeing if they can create something similar . I wonder- do you think this is a mistake and I should just wait? Or with direction do you think W&S could achieve something close?
Any thoughts appreciated!
I would wait Chris. In my experience of lots of English tailors trying to make a Neapolitan style, none of them really do it. What they make is an English cut with an unpadded shoulder and spalla camicia.
Of course, to many people that might not be a big difference, but if you’re spending a lot of money on a bespoke suit, I don’t think you should be trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. There’s too much risk that you end up not liking the result, and wasting the money.
Good to hear you say this, and i will do just that and wait.
From experience, making a mistake with a bespoke piece that you can afford just 1 of a year at a push, is extremely frustrating and painful. I know exactly what i’m aiming for with this commission, so will wait until i can do it without compromise.
Oh good, and pleased I could help Chris. Sometimes you just need someone to affirm what you already believe!
Hi simon, I’m looking to save up to buy my first ever cotton suit as I like the idea of one – it seems casual and can be split up in theory, For context I do not own any suits and have three sportscoats – a light blue, a dark navy, and a dark brown check, all in wool. I’m looking to do the suit soft shouldered, with ivy details like swelled edges, patch and flap pockets at the hips. I’m a little unsure of the colour though. Navy seems to be the obvious choice but the more I think about it the more I’m unsure – navy cotton sportscoat seems a little middling given a wool one may be better and is versatile on its own and a navy chino may not be very useful. I’m wondering what are your thoughts on colours of useful cotton suits to own and if there are particular colours of cotton suits that you find yourself breaking up often to wear as separates? Many thanks!
I don’t really break up my cotton suits to be honest. I usually find I prefer other materials for sports jackets, and unless the cotton one is very washed and perhaps completely unstructured, I don’t like it to much as a sports jacket.
In terms of colours, navy probably is the most useful, but I’d then look at either olive green, or taupe. This Ciardi of mine is not really the right shade (or weight) – something darker would have been better. But this Caliendo is perfect, and I’d definitely recommend that shade.
Hello simon what is your favourite sartorial style? Savlile row,Naples,firenze or other place?
Mine is naples
I like them all Chris. I wear them all and I enjoy them all. Sometimes for different circumstances, but just as much for pleasure and variety
I was a person who said i would change ciro’s bottom point,you told me that’s quite risky so i searched many neopoletan jackets and decided go with ciardi thanks
Hi Simon – how is the knee circumference measured?
Halfway from hem to fork
I did not know i would go with ciardi but these days my mind changed now i knoe why you reccomendded thanks simon
No worries, pleased I could help
I hope you are well. I am thinking of having a suit made by Ciardi. I would like to know if the house style trousers are mid-rise or high-rise?
They’ll do either Ken, it’s not really a house style point
Do you prefer your trousers mid-rise or high-rise in general?
There’s an article on that here Ken, in case you haven’t seen it
Thank you. It was a great read. Did you have the chance to write the advantages and disadvantages of different rises?
No, sorry Ken