The best cloths of Autumn/Winter 2019

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This series started as a way to highlight cloths from the hyper-seasonal collections - usually Italian - that came and went within a few months. 

The impulse was that readers often saw something I had had made, and asked what the cloth was - but by that point it was all gone. They needed to know before I decided to use it, rather than after. 

That issue remains, but there have also been comments that it would be good to highlight new bunches from other sources. The refresh of a three-year-old overcoating bunch, perhaps, or a mill releasing something new and different. 

So from now on the cloths highlighted here will include all new releases, but necessarily be more selective and subjective. There isn’t room to take in everything.

As ever, further comments on its usefulness or not, are very welcome. 

 

Fox Tweed

Fox Brothers has just released a new tweed bunch - or rather two, Fox Tweed 1 and Fox Tweed 2. 

This is a bit of a departure for Fox, known in recent years more for its flannels and less-hairy jacketings or overcoatings. But given the colours and overall good taste of Fox Air (its recent high-twist launch), it is a welcome one. 

There are certainly fewer bright colours in Fox Tweed than in a lot of other tweed bunches (which are inevitably rather hit and miss). But for me the difference here is a less striking one than with Fox Air, where the colour range in the rest of the market was often very conservative or oddly bold, and was attractively subtle and modern. 

Fox Tweed has some great patterns and colourways, but perhaps stands out most for its range: there are dozens of herringbones and twills across the two bunches. You can find several grey herringbones, then greens and browns, and some really interesting murky combinations. 

The ones I like most are the brown/grey/purple mixes like TD11 and TD18 below. 

 

TD11
TD18

There are also several vintage-looking checks which appeal, including ones with four-line windowpanes (eg TD64) and block checks (eg TD63). This makes particular sense, given the whole range was inspired by pieces from the Fox archive. 

All are fairly hairy and heavy, at 17/18 oz. 

 

TD64
TD63

 

Holland & Sherry Contemporary Overcoats

This is a new bunch from Holland & Sherry, intended to sit alongside its normal, more conservative range of overcoatings. 

There are some lovely heavy, British Warm-inspired cloths, but also several that are not my style. The latter includes a series of fluffy, bouclé-like options with a slight sheen. They’re mostly wool and mohair blends, 25oz or 15oz.

On the other side of the bunch, though, are some gorgeous, heavy lamsbwool meltons. All 27.5oz, there are herringbones and twills, both conservative charcoal and navy, and bolder cream and light-grey. 

My favourites are 9819402 and 9819301. The classic British Warm is 9819306. 

 

9819301
9819402
9819306

 

Escorial Natural 

Escorial are offering a seasonal range of cloths made just from the natural, undyed colours of the sheep’s wool - through agents Standeven. 

Natural colours like these feel very current, particularly as they’re less formal but still feel urban in their lack of strong colour. The creams, browns and soft greys are easy to wear in anything but a very smart office. 

My particular favourite is the windowpane 12050, but the herringbone 12058 is also nice. I’m told 12053 has sold out. They’re 11.5oz, and could make a soft suit or a lightweight jacket. 

 

12050
12058

 

Drapers jacketings/coatings

Among the seasonal Italian bunches, the Drapers range is one of the nicest. 

There’s a mix of what would be heavyweight jackets or lightweight coats, depending on your preference - 16oz or 17oz. Most are herringbones or twills, which makes the range of colours large. I rather like 6901. 

Among the slightly heavier options there is a similarly big colour range, with three shades of navy for instance. (None of them are black - nearly always indicated on the label by mills, to avoid any confusion with dark navy or midnight blue.)

I’d pick out the mid- or dark browns though, 6920 and 6921. Navy is great, but easy to find elsewhere. These shades are not. 

 

6901
6920
6921

 

Loro Piana 

Finally, the seasonal Loro Piana jacketings and suitings through up the usual interesting colours - which are always executed better by them, somehow, than pretty much any other mill. 

These are the selections that are presented on cards, and made in small runs so they go quickly. The pale-pink check of N698044 is lovely, and N698007 is a good example of that colour sophistication - I'd never normally consider red, but in that shade I am.

 

N698044
N698007

There is also a new bunch that’s interesting - Coarsehair - which adds mohair to cashmere to give a little extra body to the mix. Fortunately the mohair doesn’t add any sheen. 

Although not flagged up, the colouring of the bunch is all distinctly vintage, with soft melanges of yellow and brown in the greys. I've picked out N701004 and N701009. 

 

N701004
N701009
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Andy

what do you think of this article Simon- https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/oct/20/the-new-workwear-has-the-suit-finally-died

would the majority actually go through the pain of selecting the right cloth when suits are on a decline?

Jason

Frankly, this supposed trend to dress like a refuse collector or Dominic Cummings is so deja vu it makes me laugh.
At the end of the sixties and during the early seventies we had exactly this.
One only had to look at the evolution of dress with bands like ‘The Who’ and ‘The Small Faces’ to see a significant move from modernist to couldn’t care less refuse collector. Ditto in the ‘80s and ‘90s with punk and grunge.
Did the sartorially elegant participate – not at all – the chances of seeing Delon, McQueen, Grant ,YSL or Ferry dressed to sell ‘The Big Issue’ was zero.
Real style evolves and avoids extremes. If somebody can describe their wardrobe as a museum – they’ve simply been making the wrong choices. It’s that simple.
Choose your cloths well and brief your tailors with confidence and pride.
Elegance forever – refuse collector never !

Rups

The suit or tailoring is whether we like it or not on a decline. Many corporate offices no longer require a suit or even a blazer / jacket unless you are meeting clients. On the street suits and blazer / jackets are rare on the under 50s and when you see it usually it’s done in a ‘retro’ or ‘ironic’ style. I like tailoring, but I have to concede its not a particularly practical way to dress. Its expensive, especially when having tailoring made for you which it sort of necessitates as an ill fitting suit is probably worse than not wearing one at all. Its also something which is not particularly hard wearing or weather proof. Finally you need to stay in shape or keep having them adjusted as your body changes. So I dont blame society for moving away from this form of dress. Its not the end of the world, you can still dress nicely in smart casual clothing although this maybe an even bigger style minefield.

Anonymous

Do you think jackets will go the way of the suit? Surely if jackets, we’ll all look like slobs 🤷🏻‍♂️

Anonymous

I guess tailoring not the business to be in longer term ….sadly.

Robin

There’s a whole article (again) in Andy’s comment .
People don’t understand it’s easier to get dressed in a shirt ,tie and suit.
Although my biggest problem with a suit jacket or jacket alone is how the chest is exposed to the cold .

Matt

Why would anyone let the fact that fewer workplaces demand suits these days influence whether they get a suit or not? I have absolutely zero need for any tailored clothing, but I enjoy it and therefore I buy it. I have a feeling that’s how most who frequent this site feel about it.

Jason

Yes but ‘Elegance & Appropriate ‘ being the key words and there is nothing remotely elegant or appropriate about dressing like a bag man !
My personal observation about these fin de siecle trends is they are always driven by those that have overindulged or over cooked it on the previous wave.
It’s virtually like they think that buying all this ‘stuff’ would make them happy and when it didn’t they rebelled and went in a completely opposite direction.
I always think The Stones are a very good example of this. Look at them in the early ‘60s and they look suitably stylish in their modernist garb. Fast forward to ‘69 and Jagger is looking ridiculous in a dress and Richards looks like he’s just slept in a dumpster. They clearly overindulged on everything.
Contrast that with the stylistic furrows that likes of Cary Grant, Alain Delon and Steve McQueen ploughed over the same decade and you see a completely different picture. Their looks evolved but their innate elegance remained completely intact.
Doubtless the next Pitti event will see the star peacocks taking photos of themselves in bin liners with the new accessoire de jour being a supermarket trolley.
Good luck with that. I’ll be flaneuring around in A&S and slavishly following Reynolds Woodcock but appropriately adjusting the look to suit my own circumstance!

Anonymous

Its the excuse… there are some that are invited to black tie events etc regularly but for many the only opportunity to wear suits on a regular basis is still work. Life has generally become so informal, whilst a guy may like wearing the occasional suit and tie he isnt going to go to his local boozer or the supermarket in it as he feels like a peacock.

Now if money was no object he may have a wardrobe twice the size of Simon’s but for the majority of us we have to think there is a realistic opportunity to wear almost all new purchases with at least reasonable regularity (lets say once a month if not more often). So if work uniform is T-shirt & jeans the suit or even jacket cannot be justified.

Personally I like travelling and I dining, this year I’ve been fortunate enough to been to 5 of the top 30 restaurants in the world (the UK really isn’t doing well!) and in most I was the only guy I saw not in trainers… most the trainers probably cost more than my C&J Handgrade but its the way the market is currently moving.

Hugh

Thoughts on the Indian raw silk offered by prologue this a/w?

Chancellor

What colour are the checks in the Escorial 12050 windowpane? Are those purple? Or dark gray?

Scott

The taste level of Loro Piana is simply outstanding. That N698007 fabric is wonderful. Overall, LP is my favorite mill.

Evan Everhart

Good morning Simon,

I really enjoyed this article and would like to thank you for taking the time to put this all together! I agree upon the browns in the Draper range, and that exceptional red in the Loro Piana bunch which you’ve highlighted! I have a strong love of warm colors as you may have guessed…..Earth tones and warm grays and they’re so very difficult to find done well!

I have a question, as I mostly see what my tailor has on offer which is decidedly both broad, and selective as to what he might actually bring on his tours….Do you happen to see much in the way of plain mid to heavier weight twill woven fabrics in solid colors in the newer bunches, or is that something which I may have to try to acquire as vintage yardage from a purveyor? Please inform. Hard finished twills in warm gray are kind of what I grew up with, sometimes with windowpanes, sometimes with stripes, sometimes plain, but almost always made up in a basic lighter warm gray hard finished twill. My Great Grandmother who made most of them for me said that they were the easiest to wear and should last almost indefinitely and be able to be given to my sons when I had some….Her usual sense of humor. I have them all piled away in storage, and most no longer fit as I am marginally taller and no longer have a 26.5″ waist or a 38 chest. Ha!

Anyway, please do tell and if you know sources of such I am assuming worsteds in heavier weights, I would be greatly indebted to you! I am planning another DB suit for next year, but in a warm lighter mid gray this time, and only 3 piece (jacket and 2 pairs of trousers as I always prefer).

Thanks again, and have a Blessed and Beautiful Day, Sir!

Evan Everhart

Excellent, Sir! I figured that you would be the right man to ask! 🙂 Have a blessed and beautiful day-week!

Andrew Eckhardt

I do appreciate you now listing the weight of the cloth in freedom units.

Tobias

Simon, thanks for this great article. Where can I find more about the Fox Tweed? There is nothing on their website and also nothing on the merchant fox … Cheers Tobias

Ben

Not a very useful post without more discussion about why a particular swatch appeals. There’s little doubt these are all quality fabrics given their provenance, so judgment rests on aesthetic preferences and personal coordination, which can’t be generalized. Most of these colors don’t work for me. How a fabric should be used should also be specified. I can’t see a useful suit being made out of TD64 or N701004: too busy in both instances.

Anonymous

Hi Simon, very helpful article. It appears the Holland & Sherry Harris Tweed no. 892020 is no longer available. Do you know if they will be reproducing this cloth? If not, could you recommend an alternative cloth for an overcoat?

ezequiel

hi anonymous. maybe you can take a look at 8919020 (https://apparel.hollandandsherry.com/en/8919020-harris-tweed-bitter-chocolate-mix-solid), which appears to be quite similar (darker)

Anonymous

Quite lovely. Thank you

Thomas

Simon, Do you know of a good source for fabrics in Manhattan e.g. Loro Piana, Brisbane Moss, Scabal etc
Want to be able to buy fabric for my tailor who is not based in the USA.

Much appreciated

Evan Everhart

Hi Thomas,

Most foreign tailors, most tailors in general should be able to directly source any fabric for you if you request it. The upcharge should not be anything too dramatic. Even better if you know the fabric and maker and bunch and all that, just let them know what you’d like and they can do all of the math and procurement for you. My tailor informed me that they would be able to do that for me.

Happy hunting!

Michael

Some lovely fabrics. It’s always nice to see some highlights from a few different bunches. I especially enjoyed the Fox Tweed and the Loro Piana bunches but I suspect that’s simply because I’m more likely to order a jacket before another overcoat.

One of the aspects of these articles that I often enjoy is the commentary of what different fabrics might go well with and/or suit being made into. Possibly that’s a reflection of my inability to visualise things!

Anonymous

These articles are useful but could do more to cover what is new or changing in each season’s cloth offering, along with a personal view as to what you might utilise for future commissions. Separately Andy posts a link and highlights the frame of changing fashion. Jason argues against this but examples are spurious (McQueen eschewed suit and tie in private life). I doubt that we will return to more formal dress as a significant change has, in the last twenty years, occurred; the equalisation of women in the workforce and the fight against dictated dress-codes. Newsnight, for example used to sport a fully dressed (suit and tie) Paxman, now it’s Emily Maitlis in a too-short skirt and dress T. By comparison (as the argument might go…) the suit looks stiff, outdated and a representation of the male patriarchy etc. However there is another argument: that fast fashion conglomerates, a small number of corporations, control the majority of world clothing manufacture. Within this paradigm, to reduce costs, simplification of design is key, RTW suits, for example are complex and require time. Much better to have us in shapeless leisure wear. This fundamental drive is supported by the celebrity-driven sports wear industry (Yeezy et.). Both of these forces promote a unisex homogenisation of dress codes, often scripted and underlined by corporate sensitivities around equality and political correctness. The suit is unavowed in its masculinity – and stands against the tide of modern political change. It’s social acceptability however will decline until the tide of history and its social sensibilities alter once again.
https://www.thefashionspot.com/buzz-news/latest-news/401107-at-a-glance-see-how-these-six-corporations-control-the-luxury-fashion-industry/
https://fee.org/articles/fast-fashion-has-changed-the-industry-and-the-economy/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/walterloeb/2015/10/23/who-are-the-fast-fashion-leaders-and-why-does-it-matter/

Jason

Mon Dieu, I have no desire to move into a handbags situation with a fellow flaneur but to call the example of the late great Steve McQueen “spurious” is laugh out loud funny.
If ever there was an example of a sartorial black belt it was McQueen.
He dressed appropriately for every occasion andin his own inimitable style as Tom Claxton’s photographic study of his friend gives testimony to.
Of course, he didn’t wear a suit, shirt and tie when driving his scrambler through the majove desert but neither do I !

Mark Seitelman

As to cloth shops in New York City:

1. Lori Piana has its own store on Madison Avenue. Along with RTW, MTM, and sportswear, it sells LP cloth. It is expensive.

2. Beckenstein used to be the exclusive agent of Scabal. It is supposed to have an excellent cloth selection. It also has custom suit services. I’m not sure if it is MTm or bespoke, but the results are excellent. Noted dandy and man-around-town, attorney Ed Hayes, is a longtime customer.

3. There is a shop in the garment district called Moods which sells both men’s and women’s cloths.

4. Many locals consider Tip Top in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as the king of cloth stores. It sells odd lots and end runs. The store is gigantic, and the inventory is breathtaking. It is a short trip from Manhattan by either subway or cab.

5. There are a smattering of other shops, e.g., Black Tree on the Lower East Side.

John

Hi Simon,
This kind of updates is welcome. Yet I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good to also pay more attention to clothes that would be suitable to trousers. As you believe we are heading to wearing more separates.
Thus the following question: wouldn’t the Fox Bros TD 18 suitable to trousers too?
John

Anonymous

Hi Jason, excellent come-back re. Steve McQueen. If only I could be racing in the Mojave! Perhaps ‘spurious’ was too strong as I share an admiration for his style, it’s just that he was often in other, more practical, costume (LeMans, Great Escape, Bullitt, Junior Bonner etc.) vs. the beautiful Doug Hayward suits of The Thomas Crown Affair.

Anonymous

Hi Simon,
Is the Escorial 12050 fabric similar to what Solito made up for you? Is the windowpane scale the same?

Anonymous

Would you describe the escorial wool herringbone as pale brown or sth similar to your cashmere cream jacket? Also, would 11.5oz escorial runs too hot for UK summer?

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Would you mind sharing your thoughts on this? I’m planning to have this make up as a jacket.

comment image?format=750w

Anonymous

Thank you for the comment. I currently have a navy and grey sports jacket. Would you recommend the Escorial herringbone or the fabric above as the third jacket? Thanks

Gavin

Simon – when thinking about cloth for suiting, how should one think about the weight of the fabric vs. lining when it comes to drape as well as warmth? I get that the fabric and weave is an important element as well, particularly for heat retention.

To put the question a little differently, given all things equal, how should one think about whether to pick a cloth that is a little heavier (say 13-15oz) but only quarter/half lined vs. a mid-weight cloth with full lining? I am usually of the view that I prefer the heavier cloth with quarter/half lining because heavier cloths are generally more durable, wool will breath better than most lining materials, and I get the benefit of the trousers draping better (since most trousers are unlined from the thigh down).

I know it’s hard to make a generalization, but let’s say the drape isn’t materially affected by the lack of a full-lining, would you recommend that folks go with quarter/half lining but a heavier cloth? Or go with a lighter cloth but fully-lined?

Thanks.

Matt

Hi Simon,
Appreciate another helpful guide. I’ve been working to find fabrics for a winter jacket — working with a smaller Neapolitan tailor who visits London periodically, and in a meeting this week he didn’t have bunches from a number of mills you mention here. Easy enough to visit H&S office on Saville Row, but any advice on how to see broad range of bunches for other mills not based in London e.g., Fox, Drapers, Lp?

Matt

Thanks Simon, I was able to see Drapers a the W Bill showroom on Sackville street (an interesting experience, as the basement “showroom” is very much a working distributors space, surrounded my shelves of fabric bolts).

I also swung by the Holland & Sherry showroom on Saville Row — my second time there — and was very impressed by the experience. They do a really nice job answering questions, and supply consumers with fabric swatches on cards to take home. Really makes it easy as a consumer to consider their fabrics.

Rups

Simon love the idea of a tweed suit, but at 17/18 oz the Fox Tweed you mention seems awfully heavy. I live in London, so Winters can be chilly but not freezing, central heating is usually going full blast indoors in most places as you probably know. Is that tweed quite porous or is it densely woven? Wondering if it is worth investigating it further or giving up as it just won’t be that practical as Im not about to go marching on the moors anytime soon)

Rups

Would a jacket also be too heavy and warm esp. if it is more open weave? Would it be too warm most of the year in London? If so why have they made such a heavy cloth and not gone down a few oz like a sherry tweed at 13oz? I know menswear connoisseurs like idea of heavy cloth but in London the tube, most offices and homes are warm so I don’t know how its possible to wear 18oz unless you are actually walking around outside all day in the winter.

Ben R

Simon, do you have any insight or have you heard anything on how the COVID-19 Global Pandemic has effected, or will effect, the seasonal cloth bunches for this upcoming Fall/Winter season?

Alexandre

Hi Simon,

I am thinking of a new sport coat for fall/winter, either tweed or cashmere.
I am based in New York and have a tailor overseas I like to work with.

Where would you recommend I go in NY to see and purchase fabrics? (not necessarily looking for vintage fabrics but more importantly good advise and quality selection at affordable prices!)

Thanks!

Alexandre

Understood, thanks for the quick response!

I recently stumbled upon Lafayette Saltiel in Paris and really loved the experience of choosing fabrics and buttons with these specialists.
https://en.lafayette-saltiel.com/

Was hoping to find something similar in New York but I will look for other options.

Best,
A