Video: The cut and parts of a bespoke jacket

Wednesday, November 6th 2019
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At the prompting of readers, I will be doing some more video pieces over the coming months, looking at different aspects of suit style.

These new, slightly shorter films will be a nice accompaniment to the Style Breakdown series - where I measure and analyse every tailor that's ever made me a suit.

The first one, here, explains how small alterations to the parts of a jacket can affect its impact and style.

For example, people often focus on the padding that a shoulder has, and then perhaps on the roping. But just as important is the width of the shoulder - extended for a bigger stronger look, or smaller for a casual sweater-like look.

Then there's the chest, the width and line of the lapel, the waist button, the opening and so on. In this first film I run through each of them, using my Fox Air suit from Kathryn Sargent as an example.



In future videos we'll compare this English/structured jacket specifically to a soft one from Naples, and then look at some little details of the Neapolitan shoulder.

The full Style Breakdown series, including 16 tailors so far, can be seen here.

And many, many thanks to Fox Brothers for supporting this series. Their new Fox Tweed bunch is shown at the beginning of the film, and there are more details on my favourite cloths from it here.

In the video I am wearing a corduroy suit from Ettore de Cesare, chambray button-down shirt from Luca Avitabile, and printed silk tie from Drake's.

All Permanent Style videos can be seen, collected, on our You Tube channel.

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I think this is one of the best things you’ve done!

The lapel , then shoulder, distance from notch to shoulder etc, this is the magic behind why a suit looks the way it does.
Your articles on the style of each tailoring house is very good but only such a video conveys the way small details on a jacket make such as huge difference.
I’d even go so far as to say the top 6 inches of of a jacket (lapel, notch, shoulder) are everything.
I’ve seen this sort of thing demonstrated on the SuitSupply website but never understood as to what overall and knock-on effect each change was having.

The curve of the lapel and it’s effect is something over never heard explained (and believe me I devour alot of information on this sort of thing)

I’ve noticed a massive improvement in your presentation ( not that it was bad before but less “umming” and “arring”.) The flow of the narration is excellent .

Well done , Simon.
This sort of thing may have been done before but not as well as this .
And please more of this .


Maybe even go over some of your previous written blogs and turn them into vlogs.

More specific ideas could be ;
Difference of two jackets ( although I think one b is coming up soon).

What things look like when they’re wrong .

On jacket lapel , shoulder etc …. how offsetting one effects the other . For example I’ve noticed certain shoulder – lapel proportions can make one’s head appear big.

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
I believe you are planing something on this,
but a video on overcoat styles and details (such as pockets slanted, flaps, post-box, etc or back pleats, half-belt, etc.) would be extremely useful.
P.S. The Michael Browne overcoat is very “sexy,” quite stylized. I would only question how practical it is as the chest is left unprotected against cold/wind.
Alex N.

Alfred N

The Michael Browne overcoat is beautiful. I would be very curious to hear your thoughts on how you would choose whether to wear that or the Cifonelli one? They seem to fall into the same category of elegant, fairly formal (and obviously navy/overcoaty) but yet they’re also very different in a way I can’t put my finger on (but which I’m sure you’d be able to articulate).


Yes, MB coat very sexy, and I’m sure it was by design…but the sexiness also precludes its use over tailored suits. It is kinda tight as is …more for wearing over casual smart knitwear as in your pic


Chiming in here, I’d love to see some video coverage in the tailor analysis series. Even a 20 second clip of you walking around in your suit, lifting your arms etc will make a big difference in understanding how things fit etc.

As an example, I find the lovely cord suit you’re wearing in this clip, looks a lot stiffer and tight in the upper back than I would’ve expected from corduroy. Not necessarily bad, just surprising.
Another example that comes to mind was in the Vestrucci post, there were several comments on Tommaso’s supposedly bad fitting jacket while sitting down. However in the b-rolls it’s easy to see how wonderful the suit fits when he’s standing and moves around.


I agree with Robin, this is an extremely useful video. Having some of the concepts often written about pointed it with motion marks understanding them much easier.

In addition to jackets, I’d encourage also covering trousers, shirts, and shoes, recognizing that there are only a few points relevant to those, and they would be much shorter videos.


Simon, great educational video. Most guys will probably say they know all this already but they don’t. Question: I always assumed the palm of the hand should be below the bottom of the pockets (provided the arm is not totally straight but in an angle). Would you agree? thanks


Very good. The only point of criticism I’d make (and it applies to some of your earlier videos too) is that it looks odd when you cut to a second camera angle without changing your gaze to look at the second camera.


Very enjoyable. I agree with Robin that the format is excellent and other articles might also suit this.

I noticed that the video gave me a much better sense of the style of the garment than the still photographs did in the more technical series (and that I felt like I had a better sense of the fabric as well – although that could just be a lighting/background point). This may just have been an effect of having other garments in view though (i.e. the suit you were wearing and the jacket in the background).

An example of something that I think would have worked well in this format is your “which office are you article” (or any article showing different levels of formality). I think any article which relies heavily on visuals would benefit from this format. Articles about how use of colour or a different tie knot affects an outfit would be examples of things that I think would translate well into a video.

Articles discussing how things are made (or your favourite items of a season) could still work but you might need to edit them carefully to retain your neutral style. (I was reflecting that an interview with a tailor might well be a good video but could more easily come across in a way that might make some readers/viewers think the video is an advert or paid for… not that anything will stop some people believing that!)

Kathryn Sargent Bespoke Tailoring

Thank you Simon for using the jacket we made for the Pitti Uomo 2018 event in this video! Proud to be chosen as an example of Great British Bespoke Tailoring.


Slightly off topic, there’s a link to tailor style guides. Nice compilation and really good work done. However, I don’t think it’s complete list. At least I remember reading one about Musella Dembech just recently.



Your clothes (like the suit you are wearing in this video) look infinitely better in videos than in photos. I also think I get a much better feel of the cut and fit of your clothes from seeing them in video. If you were to use a little video when reviewing some of your commissions, just to see the garments in motion, that would be useful.


I think having the jacket sitting on a tailor’s dummy helps to enforce the points you’re making about the different style points of a jacket. Appreciate that this may be too much of a faff to organise, but perhaps including a short video segment with each of your Style Breakdown pieces highlighting some of the noted style points would make for a nice counterpoint to the photos of you wearing the garment.


More of this, please. Besides the exceptional content, the fact that the viewer can see you move around is significant. Still shots, even if captured in movement, don’t give a good idea of how a bespoke suit moves with the body compared to RTW. Seeing the jacket while you move in it, gives an idea. Hence, the next presentation should be done on a treadmill.


Very insightful video Simon, thanks.


The discussion in the video is quite abstract. Comparison images of jackets with different takes on the highlighted features would go a long way toward illustrating points about their aesthetic effects: an easy job for a skilled illustrator.

The discussion is also incomplete and perhaps inaccurate. A wider shoulder or lapel doesn’t simply broaden the shoulders/chest but also—and equally importantly—affects the overall balance of the outfit. Flared quarters primarily create the impression of a more tapered waist; I don’t find the effect particularly “relaxed” but might be persuaded to this end. The amount of waist suppression, the shape and diameter of the armhole and the trajectory of the roll line are all manipulable features that distinctly alter the anterior silhouette of the jacket.


Useful as always. What are your views on vents? Would you ever use a single or have no vent? If so, when/what style would call for either (compared to the more common, double vent)? Thank you.


Probably the best explanation of bespoke techniques and alternatives that I’ve seen.
I would proffer an alternative view on the opinion that drape together with shoulder and lapel width gives an image of upper body strength.
As somebody with a big chest and muscly body (albeit at my vintage not everything is as it once was) I find drape to be slimming and that narrow lapels on me look a little ridiculous – out of proportion – virtually as with they’ve been left off.
As so much of this depends on body shape it would be great if you could recruit a couple of flaneurs with difficult body shapes and challenge a couple of leading tailors to do their best for them.
I’ve always loved Joe Morgan at C&M’s work but just don’t think his house style would look right on me. I once popped in to see him wearing an A&S cord. He is such a gentleman, he simply looked at me and said – you obviously like your clothes but I think I could give you a little more shape. I left thinking shape might make me look like a night club bouncer but Reflect that he might have been right ?
It’s difficult and it’s a good job we’ve got you doing this for us.


It would be difficult but would set a completely new standard regarding bespoke analysis.
Tailors are all too keen to show off their wears on dummies or svelt models but it is really how their house style performs on different body types that is the acid test.
The PR opportunity and associated business opportunity for tailors who could get it right would be significant and surely this cuts to the heart of bespoke ?


Hi Simon,
This is an excellent initiative! This video also happens to be better than the previous ones!


Mr Crompton, is a ventless coat really flattering? It seems to me that ventless jackets show diagonal cloth waves when raising the arms for example Unlikely those cases, vents act as “fuses” , and so thah kind of wave appeared on the cloth is interrupted by a vent. What do you think about this?


I know that you are always seeking to improve (an admirable practice) so I write with positive suggestions: it is odd that you speak to camera on the wide but are not facing the camera on the MCU (medium close up). Also the MCU is properly lit and balanced whereas the wide is over-lit with reflection off upper face/head – it requires a small grading tweak. Suggest recording wide in one pass then a second pass MCU, then a third section of close-ups on detail. The three passes can then be intercut in the edit. Timing of the intro is a little off with the montage cut losing rhythm at the end (it’s rushed). Music is bang on. You are, as always, interesting, calm, composed and informative.