Thom Sweeney is a bit of an outlier in British tailoring. First because it’s a high-quality bespoke workshop with a stylish, effective ready-to-wear brand as well (something no one else seems able to achieve). 

And second because their bespoke genuinely mixes traditional Savile Row with younger silhouettes and softer tailoring. Which again, many have tried but few do well. 

They don’t get talked about much in bespoke circles at the moment, but I think that’s partly because the RTW has been so strong. The bespoke deserves to be constantly in mind. 

 

 

House: Thom Sweeney

Address: 1-2 Weighhouse Street, London

Site: www.thomsweeney.co.uk

Cutter: Thom Whiddett

Price of jacket (at time of writing): £2000

Price of two-piece suit (at time of writing): £2850

 

This jacket was cut for me by Thom Whiddett in 2011, one half of the founding team alongside Luke Sweeney. 

I really liked the jacket, particularly as it was so different to what I’d had from more traditional tailors. A good bit shorter, a much narrower sleeve, and actually the first place I ever saw Caccioppoli cloth. 

The cloth I chose was probably a mistake though. Even though the windowpane check isn’t that strong – being blue on navy, rather than white or some contrasting colour – this kind of big pattern just isn’t me. 

It still gets worn, but not as much as a plain blue or navy would have been.

 

 

The cut is very similar to what Thom Sweeny offer today, but a little more extreme. The approach has softened over the years.

So they still cut a shorter jacket than most on Savile Row would ever do, but not quite this short. 

This has a back length of 29¾ inches, which is less than even the shortest Neapolitans in this series (Solito was 30½). It’s the shortest jacket I have by almost an inch. 

That goes for the sleeves too, which are very narrow, ending in a 10½ inch cuff. I remarked on my original post that I could feel the material very much in the crook of my elbow when I bent it. This is also less pronounced today.

 

 

However, other areas of the style haven’t changed, and certainly aren’t extreme. 

The shoulders are the same as most Neapolitans (5¾ inches), for example. The back is close but not as tight as, say, Cifonelli. And the chest has no drape but isn’t cut close either. 

In fact, the overall aesthetic is not aimed at being close, but rather at exaggerating proportions. 

So having a short jacket and a fitted waist, but decent shoulders and a broad lapel, makes the top half of the body look rather bigger. The contrast is greater. 

The same goes for the open quarters and the relatively low buttoning point: 19½ inches is very low as a proportion of the total jacket length.

The shoulders also look a little bigger because they have some decent roping. 

 

 

The length of the jacket means it doesn’t cover my seat, which these days I wouldn’t go for. But if it was an inch longer it would do, and the proportions elsewhere would still make the upper half seem big. 

If you wanted a relatively shorter jacket, this would be the way to do it. 

The other things I might change would be a slightly wider sleeve (as in fact I think that adds to the impression of strength, rather than detracting from it). And a slightly taller collar. 

But those are both things that can always be changed through bespoke consultation – the sleeve in particular. 

 

 

In recent years Thom Sweeney have also done more tailoring with less padding and canvas, making it more of an Italian weight. 

But one thing it’s important to remember – I think – is that even with those structural changes, this is a long way from being a Neapolitan jacket. 

There might be less structure, and the proportions might be rather different, but this is still definitely an English cut. The slight belly to the lapels, the straight line of the quarters and the shoulder line all make that clear. 

 

 

Here the jacket is worn with a bespoke shirt in my PS Oxford cloth – available as cloth and finished shirts on the shop site. It’s my favourite shirt in the world at this point. 

The white linen handkerchief is from Anderson & Sheppard, the shoes are Belgravia loafers from Edward Green, and the trousers are in Crispaire high-twist wool from The Disguisery. 

Those shoes are probably also my favourite pair ever, and I’ve just got a pair in black cordovan in the same model. I’ll do a ‘How great things age’ post on them soon. 

 

 

Style breakdown
 
  • Shoulder width: 5¾inches
  • Shoulder padding: Moderate
  • Sleevehead: Slightly raised
  • Sleeve: Slim through
  • Cuff: 10½ inches
  • Lapel: 3¾inches, slight belly
  • Gorge height: 4 inches
  • Drape: None
  • Outbreast pocket height: 10¾inches
  • Buttoning point: 19½inches
  • Waist suppression: Quite suppressed
  • Quarters: Open, and straight from buttoning point
  • Length: 29¾inches
  • Back seam: Suppressed
  • Vent height: 9 inches
  • Trouser width at knee: 20 inches
  • Trouser width at cuff: 17 inches

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

Read the original 2012 feature on the jacket (and grey cords) here. (Be prepared for more hair and rather less beard…)

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Tony

Morning

Couple of comments. Firstly, I agree with you about the cloth; its not a very practical. Secondly, I think it is the shortness of the coat, as you mention, that makes the buttoning point look low. 19.5” is not really that low, but if, as you suggest, the coat was 1” longer then, assuming the buttoning point stayed where it was, it would not look low at all. Thirdly, please don’t say “quarter” when you describe the forepart. Quarter doesn’t really exist as a tailoring term, but is creeping into the lexicon when used here, which does not benefit those who come to your site to learn about tailoring.

Regards

David G

Buttoning point should really be no more than 1” above the belly button. Huntsman would say on the belly button.

If you know what you are doing, you would be quite clear with your cutter where you want it, and equally clear about the back length of the jacket.

If you aren’t, then you will get what you are given, so prepare to be disappointed.

David G

Hi Simon. I think you missed my point. I didn’t mention the length of Huntsman jackets. I talked about the buttoning point being max 1” above your belly button. So if you’re 6’ 3” the issues of 19.5” becomes irrelevant, as it would if you were 5’ 7”.

If the house style is to place the buttoning point 2’ above your belly button so be it; if it is the case, you are always going to get a jacket which is verging on “too short”.

Ben

I’ve heard and used “quarters” with tailors from New York to Shanghai and never had a problem. It is most definitely a “tailoring term.”

Carl

Interesting with tailors/brands that work with different lines. I have often wondered about companies like Gieves & Hawkes and Ralph Lauren that both have high end products (full bespoke and purple label) and low to mid-end products (RTW and polo). Isnt it a huge risk that some clients gets confused, especially the ones that are more interested in the brand than in the craft?

Joseph

It seems you narrowly avoided having the jacket made too short that you would never wear it (as opposed to occasionally.) But I think that underlines how escaping such “close calls” is an actual skill involving restraint and good taste that saves buyers time and expense. (I hope the subtle compliment comes across, haha.)

As regards short jackets and covering the seat, Simon, what are your suggestions for men whose legs aren’t as rangy? I imagine both jacket and trouser length play a part in not making the legs look shorter than the body?

Joseph

Interesting, I would hardly have guessed your legs were shorter than average. I guess it boils down to your smart and informed choices on proportion.

Compromising with the jacket length a tiny bit is the key, as long as the seat is just about covered. Got it. Thanks, Simon!

Karol

I’ve got a similiar RTW summer jacket. Deep blue cotton/linen with a striking off-white windowpane. Also in the shorter cut. And like you said it in one of the capsule wardrobe posts, it is a PAIN to wear. Pairs with nothing but grey/cream, and then cream is striking on it’s own, so it’s a double threat. Windowpane always contrasts, unless it’s something really subtle, like beige on dark brown perhaps. And the shorter length… The internet is chock full of people complaining how companies cater to 10lbs androgynous boys, not “real men”. Well, I’m looking exactly like the stereotype and it still screws my proportions over. Longer really seems to be better. So pretty much a guide how not to choose a first jacket 🙂 The struggle is real

Quote: “is a bit of an outlier in British tailoring. First because it’s a high-quality bespoke workshop with a stylish, effective ready-to-wear brand as well (something no one else seems able to achieve)”

I don’t really understand this statement. Do you mean that the quality of their RTW is higher than usual or that the style is better than usual?
Because to me it seems that many tailoring houses nowadays offer both bespoke and RTW/MTM and as I am not interested in the RTW/MTM, I don’t really bother about their non bespoke offerings.

Peter

interesting and informative as always Simon. I love this series. Just thinking about that jacket length topic – Do tailors work to some sort of formula to determine the appropriate length in relation to height of the wearer? I wonder how that would be devised. You’re 6 foot (72 inches,) I believe, and the median length of your jackets seems to be 31 inches. 72 divided by 31 is 2.322, so maybe you could divide the height of the wearer by that figure? So a 5 foot 8 tall man’s median length would be 29.97? Do tailors have a ratio like that they work from or is it all by eye?

Robin

With you mentioning measurements around J sucker d SF leave snd length it occurred to me that it would be good to understand your body and clothe measurements and proportions better .
For example sleeve length for me is a BIG bugbear and I’ve only just understood that a 25 CM shirt sleeve is best for me and thus a 24 CM jacket sleeve , so that a bit of shirt cuff is on show .
And I’m just beginning to narrow down that a 40.5 inch chest needs 40.5 + x chest on a shirt.
These minute details are very often learnt over time and through trial and error. So some advice and guidance from you in this area would be good.
I know this could possibly be a more ‘technical’ article but very helpful , particularly regarding when readers commission MTM
Maybe an article on this .

Also you state the lack of “stylish, effective ready-to-wear brands”.
More writing on this from you would be most welcome .
Although at times the RTW you mention is more expensive then some bespoke tailoring . So an article but within a budget below bespoke pieces .

Thanks

John

Hi Simon,
I personally do like the style of this jacket, even though I wouldn’t choose this kind of cloth for it. As to its length, I don’t think it’s the shortest you have got made. Take a look here:
https://www.permanentstyle.com/2017/06/ettore-de-cesare-neapolitan-summer-blazer-and-top-coat.html
It’s really striking how their difference in matter of style affects our perception of your body! This feature is indicative of the challenge we face when having to choose the right style that is right for our body!
John

Simon

2000 GBP seem relativly cheap to me, compared to other houses shown in the series. Is it GB/London-made or kind of foreign bespoke like eg W&S offers?

Jason

Personally I quite like the jacket pattern. It’s reminiscent of a Zegna cloth that is sadly no longer with me.
It’s true that trouser pairing is somewhat limited but a lighter grey may look better.
Unfortunately the ‘bum freezer’ length relegates the jacket to the read and laugh file and no serious flaneur would sally forth in this which, is a pity because I quite like other aspects of the cut and the idea of mixing the Italian with the British could have merit. Albeit, I sometimes wonder if we don’t already have this with the A&S drape ?
Great shoes by the way.

Ben

I would have definitely gone with lighter trousers—a gray or even white—with black shoes.

Paul Boileau

Aaaah £2000 for a jacket…..those were the days…… I suppose this post highlights one of the problems with this series: the idea that a tailors/ bespoke house default style is somewhat immutable and not subject to the vagaries of fashion; the particular preference/ style of a new cutter say or how the suit is made up. I know this is supposed to be permanent style but the only constant is change…

Anonymous

I had a jacket made by Thom Sweeney 2 years ago and the pricing was about the same.

Otto

Thom Sweeney made several sport coats and a suit for me. In my experience the sport coats are very well suited for a modern office environment because they look good without a tie, which is not always the case with sport coats from more traditional SR houses. And I really like the Caccioppoli cloths, they are unusual, yet subtle.

Phat Nguyen

Hello Simon, what do you mean when you drescribe a jacket Drape?

thank you.

Gonzague

Nice cut. Pretty close to Tom Ford In my opinion.

FIDELIO

Hi Simon,
I actually think their cut has soften significantly. In fact my first reaction was that it was striking how different your jacket looks from the garments I have commissioned from them. Living in NYC Thom Sweeney are a convenient bespoke option since they have a shop here in Soho. I have commissioned two suits and a navy blazer from them since 2017. The first was a navy worsted suit meant to be formal so I asked for their house style with roped shoulders. The second commission was a grey flannel suit for which I asked that they use their soft shoulder construction with no roping, quite different. The navy hopsack blazer is also soft with a natural shoulder line. In all cases however the length was correct (fully covered my seat), the lapels not nearly as wide and the foreparts -interestingly- actually a bit more open and rounded than in your jacket. That said they all have the narrow sleeves you mention. I quite like the style generally and the finishing is superb.

FIDELIO

I agree Simon, it seems the style has changed sufficiently to merit an updated review.

Peter

Interesting. Sorry, deeply boring follow up – when you say it’s generally “half the height from the top of the collar of the suit to the floor” is that with or without shoes on?

Dave

Are there any good shops in Dublin that aren’t found elsewhere?

Gab

Hi Simon, a quick suggestion: in these very useful style breakdown articles, maybe you should add the measurements in cm as well? That would help you non-imperial readers, like myself.

Gab

Sure, it would just be a tad bit more convenient. Imperial metric users might be more used to conversion without help than the other way around. Anyway that was just my two cents.

Néstor

Hi Simon,

These articles of the style breakdown series are my favourites but I would also be interested in a comparison between the different cuts among the same house. I’ve noticed that the cut of your A&S jackets are slightly different. (In fact, your PoW three piece suit is my favourite of all your A&S because it seems to be a true 3 button, with almost straight lapels and I would like to ask to have something made in the same style when I try a British drape cut tailor in the near future).

Stephen

I am based in London and looking for a less structured business suit.

How would you compare Thom Sweeney to Sartorial Ciardi? Both in terms of end product and experience. Is the permanent presence of Thom Sweeney in London a substantial benefit?

Also given the lower price point to other tailors on Saville Row, are any compromises made?

Frank

Just curious, as your post talks much about the length – is there a certain set of proportions that a shorter jacket is more likely to flatter? My instinct is perhaps it could be good on a shorter man, or perhaps a man with shorter legs?

Michael Evans

Hello

Interesting reading these posts about jacket lengths.

Your reader David G hits the nail on the head with his comments about “no more than 1″ above the belly button”. This is the absolute fulcrum around which everything else sits.

Get that bit right, and the natural jacket length follows easily. Remember also the guide about being able to curl your fingers around the bottom edge of the jacket. This further reinforces that fundamental point.

These thing s are so simple, and, if understood and applied, create a foolproof way of sorting out the basics.

If you ignore them, you are likely to get a jacket that looks a bit dodgy.

First time poster so forgive me being so forthright, but it really is so simple.

REUVEN L LAX

Interesting. I have a sports coat from Thom Sweeney made in 2016 – several years after you. This was cut by Eithen, and the style is a bit less extreme than yours. The coat is a tad longer, and looks a little bit softer. The finishing was quite good – not the best I’ve seen but far better than most!

James Righton

Hi Simon,
Thankyou for this. I have long wondered why Thom sweeney is rarely discussed in bespoke culture when most of us are aware of it, and know someone of their clothes. It’s nice to see the newer names spoken of, and between this and your Michael Browne piece, it makes me feel good about the future of the style of clothes I love.

I know budget is a hot and controversial topic here on PS, but i would love to see you try a Cad & Dandy piece at some point. Again, they are rarely spoken of but offer a bespoke suit starting at £1k which is pretty extraordinary. I think many of your readers would be curious as to whether there is value there or false economy, I can’t imagine I’m the only person who has eyed up their site from time to time.

Edward

Are your arms ever so slightly longer than average for your height do you think Simon?

Zo

I have a few RTW Thom Sweeney items purchased from Mr Porter and here and there. The quality is fantastic. I find the fit and sizing a bit odd, and have had to play around a bit. They label their sizes 2 sizes too small compared to everyone else. And I find their trousers (purchased as suits and separates) have a very low rise and a stark taper (you cant finish with a turn up).

Burt

If you are going to publish these style breakdowns in a book, I wonder if you could give the cutter kind of a last word? You write you have changed and would chose differently today, e.g. as to the fabric. Perhaps the cutter has changed as well and might give you & us some valuable feedback while looking back at the project?

Peter

Strange that should remark on the window pane check and then on the belly of the lapel. In Thoms defence I think he has cut the lapel in this way to sustain the check further towards the top button. Window pane check don’t look that great when the vertical lines run down the edge of the lapel.
Incidentally I think the shoes are beautiful.

Joe

Hi Simon

Just for interest sake, how many Jackets do you own in your collection?

regards

Joe

Scott

Interesting, I would have thought at least double that, given the number of tailors you’ve commissioned and some multiple times. What a pleasure it must be to walk into your closet every day with all those fantastic choices.

Alex

Hi Simon,
Excuse my commenting on a old post, but the very first image sums up perfectly a question I had:
The small ‘tent’ (I’m unsure about the correct term) created when you raise your arm higher… is that something caused by the padding in the shoulder, and the width of the shoulders? Or, is it also due to the height and size of the armhole?
It’s one of those characteristics that I struggle to define, but personally don’t love when it’s exaggerated… the below image shows an example:
comment image
I’ve personally gravitated towards more unstructured tailoring due to having broader shoulders, a thicker chest (as well as climate, dressing needs etc) and no real desire for padding… so is this effect something that’s acceptable and merely one I’m not used to?
Your image is the most elegant and minimal example I’ve seen… so is it also down to the house style? Would this characteristic be one you would find on tailors such as Cifonelli, Dalcuore, De Simone et al?
Thank-you for the clarity, I’m sure we all have strange peculiarities we gravitate to and from!

Alex

Thanks Simon,
Much appreciated. A good case for a well-cut bespoke or MTM then, as well as taking into account house styles and constructions for personal tastes, not just the names!

James Dalessandro

I’ve been in the clothing business almost as long as you’ve been living. The coat is a window pane. Check is something completely different. pants are too short and cuffs too big. But that is a matter of fashion not style.

Miles

Hi Simon,

On this point:

“But one thing it’s important to remember – I think – is that even with those structural changes, this is a long way from being a Neapolitan jacket. ”

Is there a London based tailor you would recommend for a Neapolitan jacket? Or do you have a list of Neapolitan tailors who travel to London on a regular basis?

Miles

Thanks for the pointers Simon! I will read up on all of them.

jmehpg

Is Thom Sweeney the next best (UK) alternative to JMM & Saman Amel while their trunk shows are on hold? I am still looking for a sports jacket to commission, but I am considering UK options with no end in sight of the pandemic.