This talk with Tommaso Capozzoli of Sartoria Vestrucci is a useful beginner’s guide for commissioning a suit. 

Tommaso explains how he would work out what kind of suit a customer wants, how he would direct cloth choices, and how the measuring process works. 

He also discusses the advantages of a bespoke tailor having a ready-to-wear offering, which the customer can try on to get a sense of the style. 

This is something I think a lot of bespoke tailors would benefit from, particularly for first-time customers, and particularly when they’re not familiar with the local style. 

 

 

Other takeaways from the video are:

  • Most people come in for a business suit, for a wedding, or as an experienced customer of bespoke. It’s worth telling the tailor early what your needs are.
  • The second-most important thing to relate is where you live, and therefore the temperature the suit will be worn in. Or the time of year you intend to wear it. 
  • Young men often want something more fashionable – trying on a Vestrucci jacket is a good way to show how the house style is different.
  • The Vestrucci style is defined by an extended shoulder, soft structure, and single dart in the front of the jacket (which means patterns are not interrupted).
  • Trousers are usually made with a single pleat and a 4.5cm cuff, for a person of any height, as it provides a frame to the body.
  • Customers are much more likely to want exactly the house style when they order their second suit.
  • Customers should vocalise any thoughts they have when they see the fitting in the mirror.
  • Vestrucci uses a lot of English cloth, because they personally like it and because of Florence’s connections to England.
  • Try to relax while being measured, even if it doesn’t feel natural.
  • The relationship you establish with the tailor is key, as it makes the process both more accurate and more enjoyable.
  • All the quality of a good shoe or suit is hidden inside, so pick a tailor that can explain things well.
  • Fittings can be done quickly at Vestrucci, even within 10 days, if enough notice is given.

 

 

In the video I am wearing my charcoal-flannel suit from Sartoria Vestrucci, with a pink-stripe shirt from 100 Hands, a black knit tie and a green ikat handkerchief from Anderson & Sheppard. 

Tommaso is wearing a rather splendid suit, again from Vestrucci, in the cavalry twill I rewove with Fox Brothers

You can see other videos from this film series here:

Photography: Jamie Ferguson

Learn more about how Permanent Style’s work and how it is funded, here.

 

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Nick

Thank you for the video! It was also quite nice to see how your and Tommaso’s jackets ‘behave’ when you move, thanks to the video. I have personally come to the conclusion that a quantitative approach might be helpful, i.e. try and figure out what sort of lapel width, length, trouser width you are comfortable with and convey that to the tailor, as I feel that these are the sort of things which can highly increase the enjoyment of a suit without necessarily encroaching on the house style.

I also really like Tommaso’s suit (thought not something I would wear), which reminded me of a series you used to do about how other people dress… perhaps there is potential to revive that?

JB

Agreed, seeing the jackets on video gives you a whole other view on them. Might be worth adding a short video snippet on how the jacket moves in your tailor houses comparison series, Simon?

Would love to see a revival of that series as well. Tom would be my first choice, even though you’ve written a bit about him before, but a more in depth view would be nice. I also think, given how much appreciation your posts on casual wear gets, getting someone from the Saman Amel team, or Agyesh might be a nice twist.

Alex

Interesting video, Simon – I would have found this invaluable when commissioning my wedding suit two years ago. I imagine I’m firmly at the dilettante end of the spectrum in terms of bespoke, having only had one suit, a jacket and pair of trousers made for me, all by the same tailor. Giving some thought as to how I intended to wear the pieces (formality of occasion/time of year/larger ensemble etc) seemed to be pretty useful starting points.

What I probably should have given more thought towards for my first commission is my general body type and how my choices would emphasise the things I wanted to accentuate and mitigate some of my perceived shortcomings. Having said that, with the exception of the length of the jacket, I don’t think I would change much else given the opportunity, other than making a few more trips to the gym.

JB

Great video. I wholeheartedly agree it’s great being able to try something on first. The fact this was not possible actually held me back from using one maker I was looking into for my own wedding. I ended up going with another maker where trial models were available, because I had never done a mtm-suit. In retrospect, having tried the first maker now, the result would have been a lot better, but I wanted something tangible for such big day. We live and learn.

I was surprised to hear measurements would take only 10 minutes though, or was that a misunderstanding on my end?

Also great to see some video of Tom, he’s one of the most stylish guys out there.

Dan G

What type of cloth is the pink stripe shirt you’re wearing?

Thanks

Anonymous

I think your shirt is a good example of why fusing just doesn’t work for button downs; it is too neat and conveys non of the natural softness a button down collar should have.

I cant think of a single traditional maker of button downs who use fusing; unfused at least. and unlined at best.

Anonymous

Yes I would agree an Oxford would certainly look better, but the beauty of the button down (and the essence too perhaps) is the roll of the collar points, which fusing, no matter how well made, means this cant happen.

Anonymous

Except me perhaps!!

Peter Harris

It’s actually the way that Drakes (somewhat British in their approach) make theirs, presumably for an audience in UK/Europe……….

Peter Harris

I meant it to be clear that the Drakes button down in not fused, and that the collar points roll in the way that “American” cultural specific ones do.

Gonzague

« Customers are much more likely to want exactly the house style when they order their second suit.»
Interesting, do we know why?

WES WP

It it me, or is Tomasso’s own suit in serious need of “collar shortening?” When he’s sitting next to you at the table, there is a pronounced hump or roll at the back of his jacket collar. Whenever a suit is off the rack – I expect that hump to appear – and for my tailor to take care of the problem. But shouldn’t he be a better ambassador for his suits? Or is this the case of the artist looking a bit slovenly or roguish —- the way that some celebrity hairstylists have terrible hair but make others look amazing?

He also discusses the house style – and how their jackets have a defined shoulder – but his own coat seems to have unlined shoulders (mostly) that are decidedly soft, no?

Even when he’s standing up that collar shortening issue is surprisingly visible – but your own coat (while you’re sitting) shows little-to-no sign of this.

Thoughts?

Anonymous

On the subject of fit, can l please comment on ties.

Simon you’ve gone for that funny bend back of the front blade just below the knot, which looks a bit sloppy. Tomasso’s rear blade in hanging down a bout 4” below his waistcoat, which also looks a bit sloppy.

Are these two the vanguard of a new dawn in how to wear a tie?

JB

@Wes Unless you’re Daniel Craig having jackets done in all kinds of crazy measurements in order to always look good regardless of sitting and standing, this will always be apparent to some degree.

Simon, apart from posture, would it also be fair to assume the heaviness of the fabric in Tommaso’s suit compared to yours adds to this? I for one thought his suit looks marvelous and the jacket fit like a glove while standing.

WES WP

JB makes a lot of sense – and I thought the same thing about the Cav Twill.

I guess my wrong assumption was that Tomasso knew he’d be interviewed sitting down (mostly), and that jacket (given his posture, the material, that he’s seated, etc.) does him no favors. I guess I was also wrong that the house style he spoke of was not really represented in the suit he showed up to work in that day.

I get that a suit is meant for action – but most of us are sedentary at work (if we’re wearing a suit, or if we’re wearing something else). Most of us sit around all day.

To that end – a suit should look good on you standing up or sitting down – and while it does the former it most certainly does not do the latter. I am no Daniel Craig but I look remarkably better fitted than Tomasso.

But – points well taken.

Jason

Nice interview.
The bespoke reality is go for the ‘House Style’ and express yourself with the cloth and minor finishing details.
Step outside of this and frankly you take a huge risk.
Hence the famous quote from the legendary Dougie Hayward :
Visitor : “Can you make me a suit like Gorgio Armani ? “
Hayward : “No, why don’t you f**k off down the road and ask Armani if he can make you
one like Dougie Hayward ?”
Says it all really.

Kenny

A true bespoke tailor should be willing, and able, to make what the customer wants rather than just the house style. I often wonder whether a house style is true bespoke or hand made MTO. I’ve heard rumours of blocks being used for “bespoke” garments by some expensive Savile Row tailors.

Anonymous

Technically an improvement on the Bemer video and informative as to the basics of a commissioning process. A point however: in both videos the interviewee has English as a second language and whilst well-spoken it sometimes appears that you are acting almost as interpretor. A contentious point, I know, but people are more relaxed and effusive in their own language. As such I wonder whether an interview with Richard Anderson, on the same subject, would have delivered a richer seam of insight. As an extension to this format it would be interesting to hear from the travelling tailors who visit the US to gain their insights (Hitchcock, A&S etc.) as I think their customer base might, generally, be more experienced and thus selective as to commissioning.

VSF

Tommaso’s english was just fine. In dealing with nonnative english speakers it’s helpful to speak a bit more slowly and not use slang or colloquial expressions.

Fabrizio Gatti

Very true VSF. I would add, as a nonnative English speaker, the native counterpart should also “mitigate” his/her regional accent. For instance, I am used to north east, mid and west US accent, and, sometimes have a hard time understanding strong/thick southern US accents, Scottish, Irish, Australian end even English accent. My American wife also speaks Italian, but has trouble understanding strong/thick regional accents.

VSF

Yes, the very thick U.S. southern accent can be difficult to understand, even for a lot of southerners. However, the thick Scottish accent is particularly difficult to understand.

Fabrizio Gatti

I am pleased to learn that sartoria Vestrucci’s trousers too are usually made with 4.5cm cuffs for a person of any height. I think that this is a more traditional style (also followed by a few long established Italian tailors) than the frequently publicized in the web by young experts 5-centimeter way (aprox. 2 inches). The latter, especially when paired with the more contemporary/prevailing 7.5-to-8.25-inch bottom width, has a weird (at least in my opinion ) “flower vase” look, no matter the height of the wearer.

Nick Inkster

Fully agree as regards the measure of a PTU. 1.75” is the classic depth, so 4.5 cm. Anything less looks to skimpy, anything more an affectation

willingtolearn

Points taken about the cloth for the shoulder/collar hump, but I disagree with the fundamental premise that the fit of a suit can’t or shouldn’t be judged by what it looks like when sitting. In business, that will be the position of the jacket for most of the time. I would not wear a jacket that fit that poorly while sitting. I’d feel ill at ease in an important meeting with my jacket looking like it does in the video. To further this, I have had one tailor I worked with make a point in the fitting process, to have me sit and see how the collar and shoulders sit (they literally don’t move, it is amazing) while I an sitting with arms on a table.

willingtolearn

Agree, can’t be perfect, but can be much, much better than what that is.

Anonymous

I mentioned that language can be a contentious point. VSF and Fabrizio have slightly understood my target: Tommaso is easily understood the issue is the unconscious limits placed on expression when not fully certain in the language being expressed. Ideas and the fullness of detail can therefore be hindered. On visiting Copenhagen I was impressed by the Dane’s command of English (learnt as a second language from an early age), as such, due to the scholastic pathway, the language and delivery, though correct, was also very formal and may not have carried the ease of subtlety or humour more directly conveyed in their native tongue.

Fabrizio Gatti

I agree Anonymous. I missed that side of the coin. Nonnative speakers, depending on the degree of command of the second language (English is actually my third language – sorry for bragging 🙂 ) often miss the subtleties (and in Tommaso’s case a few words here and there too) conveyed by their native counterparts and, on the other side (your point), are unable to fully deliver the humor, subtleties, cultural content, etc. they easily would in their native language.

VSF

Agreed. I will say that the individual who learns a second language at an early age can acquire that ease of subtlety or humor fairly quickly by living in that country for several months. So, studying abroad for a year or semester, Summer vacation etc are very helpful in this regard.

JB

Simon, I stumbled upon Tommaso’s instagram (post https://www.instagram.com/p/BpXNql0nKcf/) where he actually writes his 3-piece suit is MTM, which surprised me a bit. Is that a third offering from them or have I totally missed a MTM offering between RTW and bespoke?

JB

Just revisited this, seems Tommaso is wearing some pretty special cufflinks? Looks almost like two brooches?

Stanley

Hi Simon

i finally got my suit from wwchan at Hong Kong, the finishing are pretty good

How to determine a suit is tight or just fit?

when i button up, there is no ugly “X” on my jacket

However when i try to do some big body movement (rise up my arms, touching my right back with my left arm..), which i usually dont, i feel the fabric on the back is being tighten-up, thus, it limited the movement of my arms

i dont have such feeling on my ringjacket sportcoat

Stanley

Hi Simon

i agree it is hard to describe by wording

But i try to describe it as possible as i can

Im wearing my jacket while im writing this reply on my sit, i feel a little bit stress on the shoulder, while typing on the keyboard

while i stand up and button up, i rise my arm to 90 degree ( front direction), and i cant rise further cause by the shoulder

while i put my left hand on my right shoulder, and it is difficult to do it

In additional, which angle i should take on the photo, if i would like to send you some picture for reference

AS

Hi Simon,

I’ve been reading the site for a number of years – it’s been really fascinating to see it develop from a slightly nerdy (!) blog to an invaluable resource, and to see your writing style evolve with it.

I’m writing as, having decided to commission my first bespoke suit, I’ve been wondering how a bespoke beginner can assess the quality of a less well-known tailor without significant experience gained through trial and error (an issue I’ve seen you touch upon in a previous response).

For context, in addition to W&S (a safe option, for obvious reasons), I’ve been considering Jack Davison, a seemingly newish City tailor that’s been set-up by former Thom Sweeney staffers. They’re potentially attractive as they’re based near my office and their price point is around the same as W&S.

However, in the absence of any direct experience (with them or bespoke generally), I’m not sure how to assess whether they’re worth trying.

The obvious criterion I’ve been able to consider is style. I’ve been intrigued by them because, as a younger guy, I find their house cut stylistically appealing (their Instagram suggests a substantial amount of Sweeney DNA). In addition, their jackets have a very clear ‘identity’ such what I know what I would get (to my eye, that is slightly less the case with W&S, which appears to have a broader house style).

However, it seems that the other criteria you have used for judging a suit (fit, quality, decoration) are difficult to assess in a vacuum.

I know that, nowadays, your decisions to try new tailors are based on the needs of the site and that, in any case, you’ll often have the chance to see finished examples on people you know.

However, it would be helpful to find out what you learned, in previous years, to look for when deciding which tailors to try?

I suspect that, in the end, I’ll probably go with W&S (and try to make sure that the cutter and I are aligned) but it seemed a helpful point in which to get your thoughts. Apologies for the long question and many thanks in advance.

Sam Tucker

Mr. Crompton, in your article you wrote titled something like ‘An Introduction to Savile Row’ you gave an overview of the three styles offered on Savile Row, and associated generally with English tailoring.

Have you done or would you do an article on the different styles of Italian tailoring? I hear and lot about ‘Milanese,’ ‘Florentine,’ and ‘Neapolitan’ tailoring but I don’t really understand what these mean stylistically. I know where Milan, Florence and Naples are, but when I hear ‘Florentine suit’ all that means to me is that the suit came from Florence.

I’ve read elsewhere that there is also a Roman style that is similar to the English military style of tailoring. Is this true and have you ever tried or would you ever try and review a bespoke Roman suit?

Chancellor

I think Simon’s article, “Which House Style Suits Your Body Shape?” cover this somewhat too: https://www.permanentstyle.com/2016/03/which-house-style-suits-your-body-shape.html

I think the Guide to Tailor Styles, as Simon suggested, is also good for going into greater detail (though it doesn’t do the comparison as well).

I find understanding the subtleties of different house style quite difficult–both because there are so many technical details, and because I think you need to handle a garment in person to really get a sense. E.g. from photos, I usually can’t make out the drape that’s characteristic of an English drape cut, nor any of the other distinctive elements of that cut.

Rups

Simon do you know what kind of cloth Tommaso was wearing in the video? At first I thought its was a thick linen as it was cream, but then noticed the heavy twill weave. Any was of finding out?

Rups

That has to go down as easiest question ever LoL

Not sure im brave enough to go for a full suit in a cream twill but looks great on him)

Anonymous

Great video, Simon

A humble request. I would love to see videos like this featuring interviews with English tailors.

Anonymous

If it isn’t your first suit from a tailor and all suits are exactly the same except for the fabric, what is the maximum number of suits you would order at once? Or does it solely depend on the tailor and how much he can handle at the moment?

What is the maximum number of items (suits, coats, jackets, trousers) you ordered at a tailor at once?

Anonymous

Thanks for the reply. It seems that I’m an exception because all my suits should look and fit exactly the same and I only order navy and grey worsted wool suits.

Just wanted to know if something speaks against ordering multiples. Now, I’m sure that in my case it isn’t risky ordering multiples.

Anonymous

If you aren’t a first time customer, e.g. you order your 3rd or 4th suit, how much faster is the bespoke process then compared to a first time customer?

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

I’m looking to buy my first bespoke suit. Coincidentally, this is my only suit, as my previous suit no longer fits. I was thinking a navy worsted suit, but wanted to get your perspective on the trouser details as well as the button on the jacket.

Given this will be my only suit, do you think pleats and a cuff are a wise choice? I have seen in previously posts you warn about these two in suit choice.

On the topic of the jacket, what is your opinion on two- button vs three roll two?

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Thanks for sending this along! I will let you know if there are additional questions.

Thanks

Chancellor

My English tailor has just announced he will be travelling again to my location with lifting of pandemic travel restrictions. I previously took receipt of my first suit from this tailor 2.5 years ago.

I plan to commission my second suit. I’m wondering if it makes sense to arrange to have the tailor cut the baste suit prior to the upcoming visit (we’ve already selected cloth), or if it would be better to meet, have the tailor see the previous suit and possible improvements, perhaps get new measurements, and discuss details in person rather than over the phone.

I haven’t changed in weight during the pandemic, fortunately. My first suit was a double-breasted suit, and this one would be a three piece single-breasted suit, so a little different in style. There are also a few minor areas on the first suit where the fit could be improved. I assume the basted suit would have enough flexibility that it might accommodate these changes, but I don’t want to rush the commission if I’m going to risk the final product falling a little short as a result. It will effectively just be a couple of months I’m saving.

What would be your advice?

Chancellor

Thanks so much for your guidance!