Kathryn Sargent, perhaps unexpectedly, is one of the most structured and square-shouldered of the suit styles in this series.

The make is most similar to Huntsman, which we featured here as a hunting jacket in their house tweed, while Chittleborough & Morgan has a similar amount of padding (even if the shoulder line is different).

All are more padded than traditional British tailors analysed such as Henry Poole, Dege & Skinner or Richard Anderson.

Kathryn’s British cut is also evident in the length of the jacket, sloping gorge and subtly bellied lapel.

 

 

House: Kathryn Sargent

Address: 6 Brook Street, London

Site: www.kathrynsargent.com

Cutter: Kathryn Sargent

Price (at time of writing): £4,995 (incl VAT)

Suit starting price: £4,900 (incl VAT)

 

Kathryn made this suit for me as part of our Media Symposium event in Florence in June 2018.

Fox Brothers sponsored the talk, and they supplied cloth for four tailors to make up, showing off four different cutting styles (French/Cifonelli, Florentine/Vestrucci and Neapolitan/Ciardi, alongside Kathryn).

I very rarely have suits in pin- or chalk-stripes, largely because I find the look both too formal and a little anachronistic. I have had one other made ever, by Graham Browne in 2010.

But I rather liked the non-formal feeling of this one, from Fox’s high-twist summer range: Fox Air.

The blue is not navy, but a touch lighter. And the stripe is not white or cream, but almost beige. The overall effect is of something vintage, or at least rather softer than a typical business chalkstripe.

The cut, of course, still makes it rather formal, and that is what we’ll get into now.

 

 

The padding in this Kathryn Sargent suit may be substantial, but the other shoulder proportions are fairly moderate.

The width (the length of the shoulder seam, from collar to shoulder) is 6¼ inches: a quarter inch smaller than Huntsman, a quarter inch bigger than Richard Anderson.

The sleevehead is narrow, and slightly raised. But it’s hardly dramatic roping – merely a solid stop to the shoulder line.

 

 

More distinctive is the height of the buttoning point, which is low at 20¼ inches. Indeed, it’s the lowest of the tailors featured here, and just doesn’t appear so because the jacket itself is long (32⅛ inches).

By comparison, the previous lowest buttoning point was Anderson & Sheppard at 20 inches, but it was almost a whole inch shorter, at 31¼.

The lapel line on the Kathryn Sargent is long, therefore, and this effect is increased by the slimness of the lapel (3¼ inches at the lapel’s point) as well as the angle of the gorge.

 

 

The gorge line follows the seam between the lapel and the collar.

On most English suits, this line slopes downwards, and is straight. On most Italians, it is a little flatter and curves a little upwards along its length.

Some might think the downwards slope of the line is less flattering, dragging the eye downwards. Personally I find it makes a bigger difference how high the gorge is on the body.

Either way, it’s interesting to consider the effect created by the relative narrowness, lower height (4¼ inches from the shoulder seam) and angle of the gorge on this suit.

 

 

The trousers will please those who favour a more generous, and perhaps in some views more traditional cut.

We don’t normally cover trousers in these Style Breakdown pieces, but given they are also an outlier it’s worth detailing that they have a 16¾ inch circumference at the bottom, and measure 19¾ inches at the knee.

Elsewhere, this jacket has little to no drape, slightly open quarters and a slightly shaped back seam. All pretty moderate, in other words, particularly for an English suit.

The waist suppression is not large, but it is high, which is interesting.

The point at which a tailor decides to suppress (narrow) the waist, and the position of the waist button are not necessarily the same. On a ready-to-wear suit they would be, but with bespoke you have the ability to fit the waist to the customer, and to play around with the buttoning point to change the visual effect.

Here, Kathryn cut that waist fairly close under my ribs, lengthening the impression of the bottom half of the jacket. But as noted, the buttoning point is fairly low.

(That long lower half might be even more noticeable were it not for the inclusion of a ticket pocket, which breaks up the lower half a little more.)

 

 

The suit is worn with a pink spread-collar shirt and black knitted tie (from Anderson & Sheppard, as is the handkerchief).

A writer once said that no elegant man thinks a black tie is just for funerals, and I’m inclined to agree. Certainly it often makes a nice partner to a pink shirt.

The jade-green ikat-print handkerchief is quite bright and strong, but stands out less when there’s such a high contrast shirt/tie combination going on.

The shoes are a very dark-brown (Edward Green calls it ‘bronze’) but could easily have been black. That might even have worked better. The model is the Oundle, a monk strap.

 

 

Style breakdown

  • Shoulder width: 6¼ inches
  • Shoulder padding: Strong
  • Sleevehead: Slightly raised, narrow
  • Sleeve: Slim upper arm, then straight to 11¼ inch cuff
  • Lapel: 3¼ inches, slight belly
  • Gorge height: 4¼ inches
  • Drape: Small
  • Outbreast pocket height: 10 inches
  • Buttoning point: Low, 20¼ inches
  • Waist suppression: Moderate
  • Quarters: Relatively open, straight
  • Length: 32⅛ inches
  • Back seam: Quite shaped
  • Vent height: High, 10½ inches
  • Trouser width at knee: 19¾ inches
  • Trouser width at cuff: 16¾ inches

 

 

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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Sam

Simon, not to sound too creepy but I don’t think we’ve ever seen you in a striped suit before!

I like this one, although that gorge line comes across as a bit ’80s. As you say, it’s hard to find the place for a striped suit in a modern wardrobe- since striped jackets or trousers can’t really function in isolation (boating blazers aside) it does make them seem a bit redundant. A pity, as I think the overall effect is very flattering. Maybe they’ll make a comeback in 5 years!

Shin-hau Khoo

Simon, the cut does have an interesting squarish silhouette to it. However there also seems to be a divot at your right shoulder, which is more pronounced than your left shoulder line. Did you notice it and would you plan to have it resolved?

James

I really like this suit. If I was going for an English cut she would be the tailor I would visit.

I am not keen on your pocket square though. A chalkstripe suit is a loud enough statement without the need for putting something garish in your pocket. Also I think black brogues would have been a better choice.

Anonymous

Would also be good to know if you like the suit and when you wear it!

Anonymous

Morning

I really like the overall proportion of this suit and think it looks better on you than any of the recent reviews of commissions from Italian makers. Rather like you Sexton DB, it just looks more natural on you.

I know also that you say you cant comment on fit from a phots, but the pitch on your sleeves is off; they are a touch forward and l can say this with confidence because the problem shows itself in every photo and all angles.

Anonymous

And the sleeve pitch? Surely even you can see its not quite right?

Anonymous

Yes, i know all that, but these are both wrong in every single picture, at every single angle. That shows clearly there is a problem. Why do you always try and suggest your readers are wrong when they call something out? After all, if your aim is to help educate readers about bespoke, etc, you should be grateful to receive worthy comments from contributors who might just have a bit of knowledge on the subject.

It’s not meant as criticism, just a contribution.

Anon

I’d be curious to get your thoughts on whether turn-ups favour a wider trouser leg such as this, or whether it adds to the anachronistic feel of the outfit. Appreciate it’s a small detail when the most noticeable features would be the stripes and the low buttoning point on the jacket.

Jordan Healey

Love the leg opening on those trousers!

Walter Sickinger

Perhaps I’m a little “old school” ( I am 72) but this is one suit of yours I would dearly love to own. The only change I would make would be perhaps a 1/2″ increase in trouser length so that they sit or break ever so slightly over the shoes.

Chancellor

Of interest, when Katharyn made a jacket for you wife, was the style and cut similar (albeit adjusted to fit a female body, which is significant)? Or does she take a different approach for female jackets?

Ian Franklin

Whereas I agree that ‘no elegant man thinks a black tie is just for funerals,’ I find it a challenge due to people asking me ‘who has died at regular intervals.’ I guess I just move in circles where there is insufficient elegance.

Gonzague

Good to see some longer jackets and the elegant & slim effect they produce.
I noticed that most tailors fail to hide the fact that shoulders are extended. Here again one sees (just below the sleevehead) that the jacket is larger than you.
I am not against wide trousers as long as they echo the fit of the jacket. Here they seem too wide vs the jacket.

Justin

Really elegant English cut. I too avoid stripes (and even then really only like chalk stripes on flannel) but it works well in the Fox air cloth here. I have that cloth made up in trousers in the charcoal and the coarse, open weave gives it an interesting matte finish and nice subtle texture. In a world full of patterned, unstructured Italian blends for summer, I actually think this suit is subtly rebellious!

Toby

Cloth is not matte. It’s dry. Small point, but one worth being aware of.

Toby

Hi Simon

Dry is the term used when you look at a piece of cloth and judge it not to have any type of sheen. Nothing to do with fell/handle.

Toby

Why don’t you just graciously agree that l am right?

Toby

Well I am comfortable that I know what I am talking about. And I would suggest you ask a tailor rather than a mill, as it is an expression that a tailor would use.

Toby

Fine. Would you like me to let all the merchants, suppliers and tailors that I’ve worked with over the last 30 years that they’ve been getting it wrong?

Tim

Certainly one of the nicest suits covered so far. Just wow.

Anonymous

I was really unsure if I liked this at first; the vaguely rumpled, almost linen look makes it work poorly as a formal business suit, IMO, unless you really work the “boss who doesn’t care” angle. But the more casual action shots do it justice; it evokes the sort of relaxed elegance of Simone Righi in dusky stripes and flannels (https://www.instagram.com/p/BfOWU_wH-kT/). It might look nice without a tie. I do think the jacket is a little long however.

Dan Ippolito

Beautiful classic suit; I love the trousers and the length of the jacket is spot-on. My only reservation would be the low gorge. As you said, there aren’t many opportunities today for men to wear a traditional striped suit, but then again, if enough of us started wearing them anyway…

Jason

I like this suit on you. You are tall enough to take it and to my eye, it flatters you a whole lot more than most of the stuff our Italian brethren have been knocking up for you.
Regarding the formality of chalk stipe flannel , ironically one of the most louche looks I ever saw was a guy in a two piece with similar cloth but sporting a vintage blue denim open neck shirt a pair of brown suede Chelsea boots – a killer look.
This cloth is way more versatile than you give it credit to be.

Jason

Personally, with the exception of the hottest of days, I quite often wear a vintage denim shirt.
Regarding the look I reference, it is one sported by the more louche flaneurs over the years: Serge Gainsbourg, Ferry, Cohen etc..
It’s a bit of an art. Taking the most formal, sleeping in it, then dressing it down but very cool if you can pull it off.
For summer you could probably adjust it by substituting brown suede loafers for the suede Chelsea boots. Slightly disheveled longish hair also helps but isn’t essential.

Rafael Ebron

I unfortunately did up a striped suit that I’ve never had an occasion to wear. Looks cool though, just too much power-suit like what you’ve got and I’m not exactly a banker. Pinstripe/chalkstripe is a tough call these days. Don’t think you could pull this off in California (Bay Area or LA) either.

Gonzague

The jacket length is nice for a suit. Would it be too long in the case of an odd jacket?

Anonymous

Could you possibly provide a link to the tie (is it the silk or wool knit A&S)? Have been looking for a black knit tie. Any major distinctions between brands? Was considering Drake’s or Tom Ford. Thank you as always!

Thompson

Well, there is also Ascot. There ties are notably crunchy and made at their factory in Germany. I think that Drake‘s may have their knit ties made there as they seem very similar.

Nick

Hello Simon, I really do like the look of this suit on you.

I’m curious as to how the cut of the jacket compares to the travel blazer Kathryn cut you when she was at Gieves? A similar style, or was she invoking more of the Gieves house style in that garment?

Regards,
Nick.

Anonymous

It’s one of your more interesting suits as there are a number of features worthy of enquiry. Firstly I was surprised by the date of construction as it looks slightly anachronistic. It’s a cut that seemed prominent in 2008 – longer, slimmer jacket silhouette wherein the front has slightly longer length than the rear and wider trouser width, particularly in the thigh. The pin-stripe cloth is also a little past prime. I say this as it reminds me of a number of suits I bought (and still have) during this time. However I also get the sense that this suit will have a very long life as though it will sometimes be at the edge of fashion it will always be stylish. Some comments raise the issue of trouser cuffs: this has been debated for decades – the Wogan interview with Mel Brooks (2/84), where Wogan chides Brooks for his out-of-date ‘turnups’ is an example. Across the 20C they fluctuate as a fashion across decades: 30’s, 50’s, 2010+ feature cuffs as a mainstream design element; all reflect times of conservatism vs. liberalism. I do agree with others that your trousers are 1/2 to 1 inch too short. Also the sleeves seem 1/4 to 1/2 inch too short (though this may be preference)? Taking a step away from ‘fashion’ I think the suit is well cut and balanced and the flannel produces a pleasing drape. The differential between waist point and button point is balanced by the longer length if it were shorter I think it might look a little odd. I also agree with your point about the ticket pocket. Re. shirt colour have you tried ivory? I think it a good match to grey and off-navy particularly when worn with flannel though the choice of tie colour might have to alter.

Anonymous

Like to hear more on cream shirts. Quite like wearing them for formal do’s that aren’t work related (if I am going to a smart club lunch etc) as nice and formal without being to business-y

Sam

Please do expand on your trouser-cuff theory!

Anonymous

This suit feels like a contradiction in itself – summery cloth vs. excessive structure. But this seems to catalyze further insights.

Those atrociously padded shoulders show how strange an idea it is to stuff handfuls of wadding into a shoulder rather than having it follow the line of the body. In the front and particularly in the back shots there is the unnatural shoulder padding and beneath that an almost grotesque bulge when the sleeve meets the natural line of the arm, which looks constricted and almost laughable. I owned a few suits in such a cut bought in juvenile ignorance and thought it was the incompetence of the cheap MTM maker, which made the shoulders look so ridiculous. Now, realizing it ‘s the same for a top-notch 5.000 GBP bespoke suit I find the essence and idea of the English Cut flawed.

For me, it is a liberation to have discovered Southern Italian tailoring, which gives freedom of motion and follows the form of the body rather than restricting both.

Gonzague

The idea of a natural shoulder is only nice if you are happy with the shape of your shoulder or don’t care about aesthetics.
Some tailors manage to make the padding more natural than here.

Jason

You don’t have to go to Italy to be liberated – just go to A&S !
At the end of the day, it’s just a question of taste.
Kathryn Sergeant is an alumna of Gieves & Hawkes and this is what they do.

Scott

Jason, would you mind discussing a bit more about what you like about the A&S?

Henry

Simon, could you name some of the Irish bespoke tailors to whom to pay visit?

Anonymous

Nice looking suit, if somewhat limited as to its uses, as you say. How has the cloth worked for you? Would you commission something in it instead of similar clothes by other more established tropical/high twist manufacturers?

Bryan

This is a good looking suit. I think the lower gorge and lower buttoning point (if both are within reason) can be elegant — reminiscent of vintage classic bespoke. I also prefer looser over slimmer trousers, if one has to lean towards one or the other.

Anonymous

I’m surprised you liken the cut to that of Huntsman. Given that she learnt her trade at Gieves, I would have thought that would be a closer comparison.

Tim

Not a fan of the square feel — the protruding shoulders, virtually no flare at the hips, plus the slim long lapel looks a bit old-fashioned.

Wyn Hughes

It seems to me that to use ‘old fashioned’ as a criticism, as some of this who have submitted posts in relation to this suit have done, is mistaken. Whilst recognizing your point that styles change the correct question to ask is whether something looks good. On the whole, this does. To elevate ‘fashion’ into the principal determinant in forming a judgement has two, connected and potentially serious adverse consequences:

1. It panders to ‘fashion’ makers whose principal, non-sustainable objective is to cause us to buy more ‘stuff’ even when there is lots of life left in what we have got; and
2. It causes ugliness – excessively short jackets, very tight and short trousers, minute shirt collars – to proliferate.

Bryan

Agreed.

BenB

Simon,
Do you think the lapel width should be wider to offset the squareness of the shoulder?

Scott

Simon, perhaps you could address the matter of gorge height in a bit more detail. I have garments with a gorge height from 3 1/4 to 4 1/4 inches and find them all to be acceptable, with a preference for something in the 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 inch range. This is a important yet subtle point that can have a material impact on the silhouette and appearance of the jacket. I’m 5’ 11” so, not short , but not tall either.

Scott

Thank you, this is very helpful and I agree that a full post on this topic would be very useful and important.

William M

I have a couple of sports coats by Kathryn and as you point out her button point is low, I do not take picture of my own clothes but to me the button position looks good in your pictures.
I can see that a formal pattern on a relatively informal cloth might be difficult to justify to a man with fewer suits than you.
Again showing my age I find nothing old fashioned about those trousers.

Scott

Simon, which tailor will be next in this fantastic series?

Sebastian

How much is too much when it comes to personalisation like initials with bespoke suits and shirts?

ANM

Simon,

Actually I tend to find having your initials on your shirts today is more indicative that you checked the option to have them stitched on, when you ordered them from the on-line retailers…3 for $99, seven day delivery, and a perfect fit guaranteed, I believe…

ANM

Simon,

All is good….except I can’t help but think that having trousers that short will have them hoola – hooping around your ankles as you walk with anything more brisk than a pall – bearers march…Whatever happened to “brushing the top of the heel of you shoe at the back, and a nice, single break at the front”, for length?

Jay

I have no technical insight into the art of tailoring. But I instantly liked your suit by Kathryn Sargent. It’s a work of art. Really beautiful.

SC

Was this suit similar to how she cut when at G&H? It would be very interesting to see how this compares/differs to your recent commission as seen on Davide Taub’s instagram. ie does G&H have a particular house cut for which each head cutter reinterprets, or does the house cut change to the head cutter’s preferred style?

Anonymous

Hi Simon

Is the suit fully lined in the jacket and trousers?

Paul

Hi Simon,

A bit of background…I’m in the fortunate position of having commissioned a number of bespoke suits from the likes of Henry Poole, Richard Anderson, Cifonelli & Huntsman who all like to produce garments in their ‘house style’ which is fine if that’s what you want (and I did) for said commission(s).

As you may know Kathryn does not have a ‘house style’ which leaves clients free to choose their own style with as much or as little input from Kathryn. With this in mind something is bothering me…you mention the intricate details of the suit and how you might prefer them (gorge, suppression at the waist, buttoning point etc.) on your commission.

I am due for the 3rd fitting on a coat commissioned in Kathryn’s house tweed. At the fittings thus far we have discussed and I have been able to choose gorge, suppression of waist, length of coat, number of buttons, buttoning point, width of armholes etc. as I think I know what looks good on me following previous experiences so I find it very odd that with your far more detailed knowledge of bespoke tailoring and vast experience of commissioning bespoke suits you didn’t discuss and choose the same options and others with Kathryn during the 3-4 fittings of your suit.

I also find it inconceivable that Kathryn didn’t offer such options to you given the fact that she obviously knows who you are and that a review will be put up on your website as a reflection of her work.

By the way I think the suit looks great from what I can see on the pictures and agree that a pinstripe may not work for everyone…I can’t personally get on with turn-ups…or monk shoes for that matter…I have tried both!

Keep up the great work, your website is a fantastic resource for all lovers of fine tailoring etc. and I’m looking forward to your new book.

Regards,

Paul

VSF

Paul, Is Kathryn amenable to discussing shoulder design? I prefer less shoulder structure then is the case with Simon’s suit, so no rope and less padding. The other english tailors that you mentioned have too much shoulder structure for my taste. Therefore my interest is in Anderson & Shepherd only as far as Savile Row is concerned.

Anonymous

VSF,

As far I am aware Kathryn is amiable to discussing all aspects of your cost construction.

At my fitting on Friday last week we discussed the final touches and I will be collecting it on 26/06/19 and I’m really looking forward to start wearing it although it won’t be until the Autumn as it’s quite warm now in the UK

Julian

Simon,

Noticed you were in Japan recently. Any chance that some Japanese tailors will be featured in this guide in the future?

Their styles have interesting influences from Italian/English/French tailoring, and typically the craftsmanship is of a very high quality.

Thanks,

Julian

Matt S

Simon, how exactly do you measure the buttoning point? Do you lay the jacket flat? I’m interested to compare my suits to yours, though I am a bit shorter than you are.

Joon

Hi Simon, what do you think lf Drake’s light grey chalk stripe flannel suit (https://www.drakes.com/kr/sale/sale-tailoring/light-grey-chalk-stripe-wool-flannel-suit)? Thanks!

Justin

Simon- I was recently looking at cloth for a cold olive/green summer jacket (to wear with grey fresco and sharp beige chinos). The Fox Air range has a very nice muted olive. Do you think this fabric would work well as an odd jacket or do you think it’s too sharp? Thanks Simon.

Jonny

Simon, how do you feel about Fox Air (and High Twists in general) not during Spring/Summer? I’ve heard a few people praise them for travel use in terms of wrinkle resistance. Would you wear high twists through Autumn, or best left only for when the climate asks for them?

Alexander McShane

Hi Simon, do you find the lower buttoning point more flattering? Or does it depend on your body type?