Ciardi jacket in vintage gun-club tweed, from Lafayette Saltiel

Monday, June 10th 2019
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I was very excited when I received this jacket a month ago. Primarily because of the shoulder.

Enzo Ciardi is fast becoming one of my favourite tailors. I like him, I like his roomy Neapolitan style, and everything he's made for me has been good: on time, well made, and exactly what I wanted.

However, the two suits we had made so far (grey 4-ply and green cotton) both had a slight roping on the shoulder. This was nice, but a little formal.

So with this new jacket, I asked him to make the shoulder completely natural, with no roping. A smooth, continuous line from collar down into sleeve.

This would hopefully make it more casual. To wear with jeans, at a push, but mostly with flannels and cotton trousers, and a casual shirt like the cowboy style here.

This shoulder isn't the easiest thing to do on my body, I've found. Sometimes a very natural shoulder (with no ripples/excess in the sleevehead) can cause wrinkling around the top of the sleeve: my Anderson & Sheppard jackets suffer slightly from that, for example.

Enzo had no such problems, however, and it is a joy to see that smooth line, tracking the contours of my shoulder.

Some fans of bespoke get obsessive about clean backs to a jacket. I understand the appeal, but in my experience such backs are often at the expense of comfort. The back has to move and stretch - and with no excess cloth, some practicality is sacrificed.

This is less the case with the neck and shoulders. They are largely immobile, and show off the tailors three-dimensional cutting skill, given the twists and turns the body makes around them.

The cut elsewhere, as I've mentioned on pieces on those Ciardi suits, is Neapolitan but with more room and length than many younger tailors in Naples.

It doesn't look it, but I could comfortably fit a decent sweater under the jacket, and a thick shirt like this cowboy one (Niche, from No Man Walks Alone, first covered here) makes no difference to the fit at all.

As ever, I photographed the jacket after several wears - and, on the day, after a whole morning of wearing it in the office and around town. The cut and cloth come off well.

The only issue is that I should perhaps have had the jacket fully lined, rather than only half lined. I find it sits a little on the hips and the seat of the trousers, stopping it from hanging cleanly.

And that brings us onto the cloth. I'm sorry to disappoint readers, but it is a vintage cut of gun-club tweed from Lafayette Saltiel Drapiers in Paris, of which the only other length has been sold.

So it's no longer available. But it is a recommendation for sourcing vintage cloth, whether from Lafayette Saltiel or an old established tailor with some bolts lying around.

You'd simply struggle to find tweed like this today - not because of any different practices or virtues of old machinery (it is not 'better' in any objective sense), but because mills don't consider anything this weight, containing this much wool, to be commercial.

I'd guess it weighs around 18oz. It's also woven rather closely (more than most modern tweeds), adding to the wool required.

The colours have a vintage feel too. There's cream and orange in the base, green and navy (not black) over the top, and then a stronger orange - perhaps we can call it 'pumpkin' - as the windowpane check.

I generally dislike gun-club checks, as their colouration and check size make them feel rather rural and antiquated - I normally go for Harris or Donegal tweeds as a result. But the mix of colours here avoids that.

The only other type of gun-club I've seen that I like, incidentally, combines many strong, primary colours - in the same way a Harris tweed often has, but writ large. Drake's have done a good line in these in recent years.

I should include a brief warning here about buying vintage fabrics.

There are quite a few places in London, near me in Fitzrovia and around Brick Lane, that sell lengths quite cheaply. But they're not always intended for tailoring, and can contain rogue synthetics.

If not intended for tailoring, they can be woven rather loosely, and so won't drape well: those intended for women's clothing often have that issue. And synthetics in the mix are not the end of the world, but are not usually what PS readers will be looking for.

Generally, the safest thing is to buy cloth that has the selvedge of a mill you know, and ideally with the fibre mix stated.

The tweed, of course, is entirely the wrong weight for the start of Summer. But I got some good wear out of it in London before things warmed up about a month ago.

It is also the kind of jacket that can work well as outerwear, as the replacement for a coat - which extends its use well into Spring. I'm considering a navy herringbone from Fox to wear in the same way.

I wouldn't recommend it as your first or second bespoke jacket though - unless you're the kind of person that never wears one indoors.

The flannel trousers are from Edward Sexton, and the pin is an old Iron Maiden one I found in a second-hand shop.

Wearing a handkerchief can feel a little showy these days, particularly in a casual outfit like this. But a pin adds a little colour, interest and personality.

The shoes are my unlined suede Dovers from Edward Green. And the coat is also vintage - more on that in another post.

Enzo from Sartoria Ciardi is in London again on June 25 and 26th. He's currently visiting every two months or so, and uses a nice suite on Hertford Street

His communication isn't always fast, but the best contact is [email protected]. Jackets start at €2600.

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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Robert

Beautiful! I have the aforementioned Drakes jacket from a similar pattern from AW17. When you mentioned wearing it with cotton trousers, which colour did you have in mind? I got great use of the Drakes one with jeans and flannels, but always interested in other trouser pairings you think it’ll work with.

TWH

Hi Simon,

Superb! flawless even. The shoulder line is incredible like you say. Excellent pattern matching and the proportions are spot on! It is in a jacket like this that one can really see the skill and artisty involved in this pursuit of yours.

Ciardi is well worth a look in. Do you think they would be upset if a new customer requested this shoulder as opposed to their house style straight off the bat?

Anonymous

They did the same shoulder for me when I visited them last year in Naples.?

Sam

An Iron Maiden pin, fresh! I think you handle a dash of pop very well, it really broadens the spectrum and relaxes things. It’s interesting how pocket squares seem to be falling slightly out of favour in some #menswear circles. I like them but they can feel like one element too many, and a bit affected.

Robin

Don’t think I like the cloth .
Sorry , normally like gun check but that’s such a tricky colour and pattern to mix with anything else .
Or is there another article in there about how to wear it ?

Robin

Its a plaid . Its a gun check. It’s kind of orange in colour with other stuff going on.
It’s a real ‘dandified’ jacket which would work but needs alot of care and attention from other pieces.

jason

Great cut jacket albeit you are right about the half lining. It does show in the photos and is something I always avoid because it never drapes well.
Elsewhere I have to say I really don’t like western style two pocket shirts with traditional cut jackets. To my eye, they just don’t work. Denim shirts by all means but not that style.
As for the pin and vintage coat, I’m sure you have your reasons but for me, they are the antithesis of what I consider to be style.

Jacob S.

Style should be fun!

Anonymous

Agreed. The cowboy shirt is an abomination which has no place on this site nor, frankly, in any wardrobe that aspires to style.

Great for fancy dress though, with bootlace tie, Stetson, big buckle jeans belt and hand tooled boots.

J.

I really like the finished jacket, although not something I would personally wear. I have seen the cloth / semi-finished jacket and I think that these photos make an injustice to the pattern and color. I personally find Ciardi’s cut to suit me perfectly, despite having a totally different built than you Simon. Save for Enzo being a skillful cutter, I believe that it matters a lot that he is taking the measurements and doing the fittings himself.

Paul

Hi Simon
Nice jacket. Do any of your readers have any experience with Saint Gregory who are doing a trunk show in London this Friday ?
Thanks Paul

Dan

They don’t happen to travel to the U.S. do they?

Sartorius

Hi Simon, I like this a lot. The cut looks lovely and the natural shoulder is very very nice.

I’m looking at commissioning an odd jacket in exactly this sort of cut, and with a natural shoulder, but it would be in very lightweight wool, and unlined, as it would be for high summer (in the UK, if there is such a thing…).

I’d be interested in whether you would recommend Enzo for this, or someone else (as I know you have had several summer weight odd jackets made by other tailors)?

Thanks.

Sartorius

Thanks Simon. Any views on how Enzo compares with Caliendo (who I know you have been very positive about for other summer jacket commissions on here)?

Sartorius

Thanks again Simon. How would you say their English is (as I noticed watching the video you did with them that you had a translator)?

I’ve found that language can be quite a problem, trying to explain what you want, if the maker’s English is quite basic, and can lead to misunderstanding and then issues with the end product.

Bryan

Really nice looking jacket. Classic style.

Levantine

How heavy is the fabric?

Scott

That shoulder is fantastic!

Jackson Hart

That is a well-executed and most beautiful jacket, Simon. I always wanted to ask you this, and your raising of the subject allows me the perfect opportunity to take advantage of you. Do you believe that a herringbone pattern, by itself, i.e., solid, Neapolitan, offers enough visual interest to make a stand alone jacket? I am not exactly sure of what you have in mind when you mentioned it above, but would love to hear your thinking on this subject… as you raised it. Thank you.

Ironic Maiden

Nothing screams Iron Maiden fan quite like a CIARDI JACKET IN VINTAGE GUN-CLUB TWEED FROM LAFAYETTE SALTIEL. There’s a nice little irony in the pin being such a quiet part of the outfit. 🙂 Now you have me wondering, how fans would react to having such a respectably tweedy gentleman in the mosh pit… or whether you have another outfit in mind for that. 🙂

Oliver

The jacket looks very nice and to me rather similar in style/cut to your Zizolfi Harris tweed. How do you find they compare?

Peter

Dear Simon,
have you ever bring a jacket back to the taylor because, after wearing it a few times, you felt that the jacket is out of shape?
I am insecure, but I do not want to bring it to an alterations tailor.

LAStyleGuy

Fabulous fit and fabric. But glad I live in a warm enough climate that I wouldn’t have been tempted to try and secure the cloth it’s made of, only to then be disappointed that it’s no longer available.

Anonymous

Caliendo still a tailor you would consider – and if so, could you specify for what projects you would choose one over the other?

Ben

Hi Simon

Lovely looking jacket. Although, I t’s not something I would wear but one of the best things about PS is that it brings things to my attention that I otherwise wouldn’t consider, and I think that is helping me to develop my own style and refine what I do and don’t like by forcing me to think about clothes and accessories other than those I search out.

I note that you like Enzo because you “like his roomy Neapolitan style”, and I wondered how your own sartorial journey is reflected in fit? I often think that people star their bespoke (or more often MTM) wanting something that resembles a wetsuit, probably in the misguided thought that “fit” equals hugging every line of the body, but after a while they realise that “fit” equals appropriate size and shape for the individual body.

Dan Ippolito

Gorgeous jacket; the shoulders are a thing of beauty, and the back strikes the right balance between being “clean” and being comfortable. I, of course, would have worn it with a broadcloth shirt and a knit tie, and would have dispensed with the pin. But then again, my tastes are antiquated if not quit rural 🙂

Matt

Do you think he will ever come to NYC? Also, what does he charge for a Sportcoat?

Tristan

Hi Simon I really like your jacket. Perhaps you can clarify something for me? Numerous times you have referred to the English cut of tweed jacket being too country (notably in “The Guide to Tweed”) however in many posts you wear a cowboy shirt with press studs – no less – which makes me think of rodeos and Willie Nelson.
Can you explain this incongruity where the Tweed coat is too country where the cowboy shirt is sheik?

Anonymous

I do struggle to understand where the inspiration to wear such a beautiful jacket with a cowboy shirt comes from. It makes no sense.

Would you match a bib fronted dress shirt with a denim jacket, or a collarless shirt with a pinstriped DB? No.

Beautiful jacket, but de trop in this guise.

JB

Ciardi seems tremendous value for money. This is one of your best jackets ever I think.
Curious as to why you didn’t go full lining though, given it’s clearly a FW-jacket anyway?

Jimmy

The cloth isn’t dissimilar to one of the London Lounge gun-clubs, both in colour and weight.

L.deJong

Which version? I’m still in the middle of biying no.8

Alex

Interesting you describe this as a mosh jacket. I’d always thought the English structured/military style was the go-to in this department, with Neapolitan the preserve of lighter festival wear. But do you think it’s more a question of cloth choice?

Anonymous

Truly a handsome, well-fitting jacket, and an informative post. Thank you.

The vintage feel of the cloth seems to be mitigated a bit by the softer shoulder construction and the half-lining, which also makes it highly wearable in more casual settings. I also think these more complex patterns showcase the art of the weaver, but perhaps I am incorrect here.

This continues to confuse me, but isn’t this technically a houndstooth pattern? The pattern has “teeth” like a houndstooth or dog tooth wedding tie. I believe gun club checks to be a similar, multi-colored pattern, but without the “teeth” (i.e., more of an actual check)?

Shawn

Pardon if you’ve commented on this and I’ve missed it, but it I’m wondering if you could offer your thoughts on ‘proper’ jacket sleeve lengths. Specifically, I’m curious if you use a standard measurement from either the shoulder or the finger/hand. The tailors I have at my convenient disposal seem to err a bit longer than what seems to be the norm in your posts and I’m curious how you arrive at your length. I’ve heard it said that those of us in the US tend to wear our sleeves a bit long but it feels a slippery slope to begin hacking off length without a way to remove individual subjectivity from the equation.

Simon C (not Crompton)

Could this lead to Mr Dickinson et al reworking some classics? 22 Savile Row? Wasted Yarns? The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cutter? Infinite Seams?
I’ll get my Casentino.

Anonymous

I’m not usually a fan of GQ for detailed advice but this is fairly informative:
https://www.gq.com/story/dropping-knowledge-gun-check

Tim

A wonderful jacket again from Ciardi. I loved the roping he did on your previous jackets, but the clean lines here just scream comfort. Looks like a lovely autumn jacket with those warm colors, such a shame those hefty fabrics aren’t made much anymore.

Anonymous

Simon

You say the jacket could be worn with jeans at a push. I’d have thought such a jacket would be a prime candidate to be worn with jeans. Why do you think it’s a push to wear this jacket with jeans ?

Anonymous

Ah. I see now where you’re coming from.

Peter Martin

Nice jacket, well cut

Adrian

Lovely looking jacket. I’m interested in your remark that Ciardi make a slightly roomier and longer jacket than younger Neapolitans – how long is this one, and how much shorter would a typical ‘contemporary’ jacket be? The proportions of this look terrific to my eye.

Anonymous

Should I wear a light sweater with dress shirt to my fitting with Enzo or should I wear just a dress shirt?

Anonymous

I’m not sure since I’ve never had a jacket made before. But do you wear sweaters under jacket Simon? It’s not something I see often in your photos. I like the idea of wearing sleeveless white sweaters under a jacket but I’m not sure about the ones with the full sleeve. What do you think?

Raphael

Hi Simon,

Don’t know where to ask this, but have you considered trying Sartoria Cuomo?
Vincenzo comes with recommendations by the Cerrato brothers and should be interesting to you and your readers considering his age/perspective and good work.

Raphael

Not necessarily different in terms of make, but the price point is very attractive for bespoke with regular trunk shows in London. If fit and finishing is on par with others, then he may be worth taking into consideration.

Raphael

I understand your concern and do remember your experience with Biagio Granata.
Vincenzo, however, has been traveling to London for almost two years now. In my commissioning process so far, he has been responsive, friendly and reliable.

Guy

Hi Simon – I’ve had a similar experience with a half-lined jacket recently: I feel like I have to keep tugging it down to make it fall cleanly. How easy is it to get an alterations tailor to put in a full lining do you think?

Rupesh Bhindi

Hi Simon,

What colour is the flannel trousers and which bunch is the fabric from?

Thanks

Rupesh

Bois Kostas

Hi Simon. The heritage flannels of Fox are herringbone patterns. May I ask if the herringbone pattern is suitable for trousers ? Thank you

Nick

Hi Simon, I keep coming back to this cloth as it is just spectacular, somehow no other gun-club check seems to be so subtle whilst actually being quite loud. I really, really think you should consider doing a run of this tweed for the shop. I checked and Harris Tweed Hebrides have a minimum order of 50m and I think there would easily be 20+ takers judging by the comment section!

Will

Thanks very much, Simon. This is a truly lovely jacket – one of the best you’ve shown on here, I think. I recenly bought a vintage sports jacket in a very similar cloth and am waiting for a few small alterations. Slightly more anachronistic than in a Neapolitan cut but that’s part of it’s charm.

What sort of colours and materials would you wear it with, if dressing more formally? I am slightly stuck for inspiration.

Haackk

Hi!

Is the length of the shoulder seam on this jacket the same as on your Ciardi cotton jacket? If not, how long is it? Related to this – is the shoulder slightly extended or does it stop right at the end of your natural shoulder?

Thanks

Alexander

Dear Simon!
I love both your Ciardi and Caliendo jackets. It is very hard for me to choose between them. Just to clarify again: Caliendo is closer to Solito? That means: Caliendo is more “modern”, closer to the body, has more suppression in the waist and back, is shorter overall, has a higher buttoning point?
The gorge on the Ciardi is maybe slightly higher and the lapels a bit wider? Or is this just my wrong impression from the pictures? The price of the Caliendo is slightly higher at around € 2.800,00 incl. VAT?
Both are above average regarding the finishing quality for Naples?
Do you have any new commissions planed from either of the two?
Thank you very much!

Alexander

Did you have this sports jacket made at the same length as your suit jackets from Ciardi? (31¾ inches)
Have you ever wanted your sports jackets to be shorter than your suit jackets?
Thanks!