(The book version of this series is going to press now, and will be out in a couple of months. It will feature extra content and tailors not included online. More on that soon.)

 

 

Sartoria Panico is known as one of the more traditional Neapolitan tailors. Which means a soft make, but not an overly tight or short cut. 

As we’ll see as we go through the dimensions on this suit, that’s broadly true. The shoulder padding and chest canvas are light, while the shoulders are wider and the back straighter than most other Neapolitans. 

But there are little idiosyncrasies in there too. The low gorge and high roll on the lapel, for instance, which both make that lapel rather small. Or the fact the jacket is actually fairly short, but looks bigger because of those shoulders, chest and back. 

 

 

House: Sartoria Panico

Address: Via Giosuè Carducci 29, Naples

Site: www.sartoriapanico.it

Cutter: Antonio Panico

Price of suit (at time of writing): €3200 (incl VAT)

 

This suit was made for me fairly recently, in 2017, with measurements and a fitting in Naples, plus two fittings in Florence during Pitti Uomo. Panico doesn’t travel much outside Italy, and not regularly to either the US or UK. 

As with most of my tailoring, and certainly all featured in this series, I asked Antonio to cut his house style, with only the occasional interjection from me. 

However, he was keen to make me what he considered to be an ‘English’ suit, particularly given I had selected a grey-flannel cloth. So this meant a couple of style points he wouldn’t normally do, like forward-facing pleats and high-waisted trousers. And one point in the making: two darts in the front on either side, but no seam (so nothing running down below the hip pockets). 

This last point is interesting, as it’s a variation rarely seen today. Florentine tailors like Liverano use just one dart; most English tailors use a dart and a seam, with the seam further back (creating a ‘side body’); and Neapolitans also use a dart and a seam, but usually the other way around, with the seam further forward. 

It’s a small, technical point and hard to describe with comparative images. But perhaps worth a separate post some time. 

 

 

I really like this suit and find its slightly wider shoulders (6¾ inches) combined with drape in the chest and back, rather flattering.

It’s a combination I’ve only really found at Anderson & Sheppard among other bespoke tailors. 

However, I do find that the jacket also has a definite roundness to it – really only visible when standing stock still, as above (and not when moving, as in the top photo), but definitely there. 

This impression is created partly by those wider shoulders with real no roping at the ends, and by the drape in the chest. 

 

 

But it’s exaggerated by the shape of the lapels. These are fairly wide (3¾ inches) and cut straight from the waist button. 

That straight line, when folding outwards from the button, gives the impression of the lapel being convex, running out towards the shoulder (as with most Neapolitan jackets). 

The lapel is also a little short, as a result of the relatively high buttoning point (18¾ inches) and relatively low gorge (4¼ inches). Together, they mean the lapel starts higher up, and finishes lower down. 

The gorge line (along the top of the lapel) is also rather flat, adding to the impression of that notch shape pointing outwards rather than upwards.

 

 

Other small things that make a difference are the fairly generous sleeve, and the slightly lower (and curved) breast pocket. 

The opening of the fronts below the waist button helps too: the opening is not as big as with some Neapolitans (or indeed Anderson & Sheppard) but it starts early, from the waist button rather than the second button, and is rather curved. 

Finally, the jacket is surprisingly short: only a quarter inch longer than the jacket we held out as the ‘typical’ younger Neapolitan cut, Solito

 

 

If this ’roundness’ to the jacket is the most interesting aspect of the Panico cut, for me, then the most obvious point is its roominess. 

As you can see in the image above, the back is very straight, with almost no suppression through the small of the back. This might be a little less flattering from that angle, but makes it extremely comfortable when combined with the drape above. 

Also, it’s significant that the waist is far more shaped.

If you look at the jacket from the front, it is quite suppressed through the waist. It fits as close as any other jacket there, and looks even slimmer because of the big shoulders and chest. 

Yet if you pulled at the waist button, you would feel like there was lots of room – it wouldn’t feel tight.

That’s because there’s room in the back instead, and it feels like a conscious decision to have the jacket cut like this, prioritising a flattering look from the front rather than the side. 

 

 

I’ll be interested to hear what readers think about this suit, now they’ve seen it broken down and shot from all angles. 

It was very popular in the original review post, but that was in a glossy magazine production and setting. (See image below.)

I also rather feel that the reason it was so popular was the fact it had high-waisted trousers, worn with braces. This makes the legs look a lot longer and is flattering under a jacket.

But I don’t normally wear trousers like this because I find them unflattering and rather antiquated without the jacket. More on that here.  

The silk tie and handkerchief are from Anderson & Sheppard and the shoes from Edward Green, as throughout this series. The Edward Green model is the Berkeley in dark-oak antique

 

 

Style breakdown

  • Shoulder width: 6¾ inches
  • Shoulder padding: Light, just two pieces of domette
  • Sleevehead: Flat
  • Sleeve: Standard to roomy upper arm, taper from elbow
  • Cuff: 11¼ inches
  • Lapel: 3¾ inches, straight
  • Gorge height: 4¼ inches
  • Drape: Moderate
  • Outbreast pocket height: 10½ inches
  • Buttoning point: High, 18¾ inches
  • Waist suppression: Shaped
  • Quarters: Open, curve from buttoning point
  • Length: 30¾ inches
  • Back seam: Straight
  • Vent height: 9¾ inches
  • Trouser width at knee: 18¾ inches
  • Trouser width at cuff: 15¾ inches

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

The original review post, from which the image below is taken, is here

What to know more about how Permanent Style is funded? Read here

 

 

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David

Hi Simon, great breakdown as always. I’d probably have mistaken this suit for a Liverano’s, especially from the front view and given the material hiding that front dart. Are the neapolitan and florentine jackets share more similarities at older generation?

David

Yes, the shoulder line is quite obvious now that you pointed it out. You explained the darts very clear in the article already. I was meant to say the fabric, not worsted or patterned, sort of hides it anyway.
The darts and seams are definitely more geeky stuff. Interesting to have a separate article cover that.

Triskel

There are lots of lovely things about this suit – but I am biased as I’ve got a virtually identical one (not from Panico). There are points with which one might quibble (I think the coat is a bit short, but only by 1 or 2 centimetres, and I am not sure about the balance between front and back or the line along the bottom of the back, which looks a bit curved) but what interests me is your chosen trouser length. I have noticed this before, and note that you commented on this a day or two ago, but to my eye, and despite the break at the front, your trousers, which almost always seem to finish just at, or very close to, the level of the back of the shoe,
strike me as rather short; I was always told they should finish half way between the top of the shoe and the top of the heel, thus exposing much less sock, from the back, when walking. I should be interested in your further comments about trousers length if you wish to make any.

Anonymous

Sorry to disagree but you can get whatever slope you like on a cuffed trouser.

Make a cuff from a separate length of cloth to your desired depth. Cut the bottom of the trouser leg at an angle of your choice. Attach the “false” cuff to the trouser.

Et voila.

Anonymous

Sorry, I evidently misunderstood you when you said you cant get much of a slope on the bottom of a trouser which is cuffed, which is why I pointed out that you can.

You would only need between 0.5” and 0.75” to get the slope your reader was talking about, and this would not be very noticeable. It certainly wouldn’t look odd. Most tailors wont talk about this, though, as it involves quiet a lot of extra work.

Anonymous

Oh yes, I should also add that if made properly it would be literally impossible to guess the cuff was actually attached separately, and indeed the cuff construction itself is exactly the same as it would be if made on the hem of a trouser.

Thanks!

Grant

I really like this cut. So stylish, but so easy and comfortable looking too. I can’t help feel that it’d be even more elegant with just a touch more length in the jacket? (This feeling especially stems from that profile picture, where the shortness does look a little…not quite ‘mean’, but not as generous and flowing as the rest of the garment.) What do you think Simon?

Fred

Dear Simon, I like it a lot. Your point on the back very interesting, as indeed sometimes I find Neapolitan suits too snug to stay buttoned up and be comfortable. The fit suits the material, looks like you could sleep in it , and that in a good way!
Like the backdrop of the club even more.
A minor question. Flap on the pockets, Neapolitan tailors seem not to do that as a rule. And without does make things simpler, somehow less fussy. Your thoughts?

Mac

Hi Simon

Will Caliendo be included in the book?

Ravi Singh

Simon,

I think this is a stunning looking suit, all parts made to work in harmony, none too extreme but each distinctive in its own way (the length, the collar height, the lapel width etc).

My one thought though is that it does appear to be short in the back (balance?), I’m no tailor so it may just be my impression but when viewed from the side it does seem to need more length as its swallowed up by your shoulder blades and that may partially explain why the back is sitting away from you.

Is that a deliberate ploy to create that effect? I think only the cutter can say. Regardless, it is an excellent suit on of your best.

Anonymous

Hi Simon, What weight of cloth is this?

DB

Simon – I was curious about the fabric reference for this suit. I’ve seen VBC’s 504.801/6 described as a charcoal (rather than mid-grey), and the picture on VBC’s site seems a bit darker than your pictures (though I know that can sometimes be deceiving).

Is there any chance your suit is actually 504.801/4, which I think is the darker of two mid-grey options VBC has in this range?

Humphrey

Interesting.
So one is looking for a business suit – but as soft and casual as it can be – so opts for Naples. Would you go with Panico for such a project or Ciardi?

Otávio Silva

This is one of my favorite suits reviewed so far. So classic, understated and elegant! How does the fabric perform throughout the day? Does it keep a crease nicely? Do the trousers need to be repressed often?
Thank you!

Anonymous

A handsome suit, Simon, that is a pleasure to look at. Also, beautifully accessorized. And yes, I like the handkerchief. Is the tie a vicuña-colored grenadine on a light blue shirt? Zoomed in, but couldn’t quite determine. I thought the tie complemented the brown shoes very nicely. I suppose you chose the patterned socks rather than solid to add a bit of interest as everything else is basically solid? As an alternative, would you have chosen solid brown socks to match the shoes or would you have reverted to solid or patterned grey?

DE

Hi Simon, I’m not sure why (and I accept your normal warning about making too much of the photos), but the cuffs on these trousers seem to upset the balance of the suit (the shortness of the jacket may contribute to this). Maybe we will soon see a post appearing on Permanent Style titled: ‘Why I rarely wear cuffs today’… ?

EZEQUIEL

i always think that you would do better with a smaller leg opening, simon. have you ever analysed this possibility? i feel that it would give you a better overall balance

Rob Mack

This looks like a suit that I could spend all wearing. Re an earlier post, this proves that style and comfort do not have to be mutually exclusive. I’d like the coat and the trousers to be a bit longer. As Signore Barberi says ” I want to see your shoes, I do not want to see your socks.” Beautiful fabric and color. Well done.

Dan

As you mentioned, it’s interesting how Panico’s approach to creating a looser fitting back is in contrast to the other tailors, such as Huntsman and Chittleborough and Morgan. I guess they are both valid approaches, especially if you had the luxury to access both. Personally, I am an admirer of the silhouette of a more sculpted, cleaner back as I often get compliments from colleagues when wearing bespoke garments from the so-called Savile Row styled suits. The Panico approach may appeal more as I age, though. I wonder if the aesthetics and priorities of style and fit evolve as the cutter themselves age?

Jason

I like this – nice cut.
Jacket seems to have good proportions albeit, as stated could do with being a tad longer.
With regards to the strides, I certainly wouldn’t be going for suspenders and there does seem to be something bizarre going on with the cuffs. They do appear too short but maybe they are hitched a little high ?
A grey flannel should be a staple in any self respecting flaneurs wardrobe – they are so versatile.
This one would make for a louche look when paired with a roll-neck sweater or the right colour/weight denim shirt or, as shown here, dressed up it would work well for births, deaths and marriages.
With regard to the total look, I think this is one of the few colours that doesn’t go with brown leather shoes. Black (as in the original post) is best for dressing it up and a pair of dark brown tasseled loafers would look great for a more casual approach.
That said, another great post in the series but when are we going to see a style break down of your best suit – the DB A&S Corduroy?

Thomas

Yes !! I would be delighted to see a series comparing DBs… Do make that your next project please !!

Ian F

When comparing this to the original post it’s interesting to note how much difference context makes. Same suit, same wearer, same photographer but contrasting results. Shade, shape and style all seem altered by the move from a dynamic setting to one that is static and more forensic, a move that reinforces yet again how risky it is to judge tailoring from photographs. Even apparent fit is altered by a subtle change of viewpoint. In the original post there is a side view that seems to show suppression in the back but a similar shot here, where the camera position has shifted ever so slightly rearwards, clearly demonstrates what you say in the text about the back being almost straight. It would have been fascinating to see a re-shooting of the title photograph from the original post (with the same accessories) in the clinical setting of this post to be able to compare them with just the one variable of background.

Lindsay Mckee

Looking forward to the book when it comes out.

Joseph

Off point a little, but whilst on the subject of Italian flannel tailoring, do you yet have an opinion on the Kit Blake line in pleated trousers, quality of fabric and cut?

Anonymous

Simon,

Thank you for your continued postings during the coronavirus pandemic.

I really like this suit. What strikes me is the difference between the shade of grey flannel in this suit and the charcoal Vesteucci suit reviewed in this series. While I like both charcoal and lighter grey worsteds, I vastly prefer a lighter (medium grey) in flannel.

Is this just a personal preference? Does it impact on versatility of the garment?

Also, can you comment on chalk stripes with flannel? Is this only for business? As a New York resident in the US, we seem far less averse to chalk and pinstripes compared to others. A matter of formality?

Jason

I think you have a blind spot when it comes to chalk stripes with flannel.
Some of the great flaneurs of recent times – Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsborough to name but two – used that very thing to create magnificent louche looks but, it is an advanced art !

SC

The flannel looks really luxurious. I like how it looks from the front but not so much from side or back. The lapel straight edge gives a more modern look than the typical British curved belly though does appear a bit short. The jacket also looks a bit short and too much drape in the back for me, it makes it look a tad sloppy and loose. The profile doesn’t look flattering, with no contoured back and for some reason, this jacket makes you look like you have a tummy…not sure if it’s because of the button positioning or what. I much prefer your Ciardi and, though not neapolitan but still soft tailoring, your Steven Hitchcock jacket. They look to look more tidy and tight, maybe because of the fabric choice vs flannel? Or it may just be my preference for a slightly more structured look…

Rob

Hi – sorry for the question. I am a bit of a newbie. What’s the general position regarding getting a second pair of trousers with any commission. I suppose – due to finances -would only ever have two or three suits, but they would be quite heavily used.

James

Apologies for what may be a stupid question, but could you have the two sets of trousers made with a different rise? Say one with a mid-rise for days where you may be removing the jacket, and a higher rise pair (perhaps with braces) for days when you are sure you wouldn’t (or would be converting to a 3-piece by adding a waistcoat)?

Or would the choice of trouser rise affect jacket choices like buttoning point?

To expand the question slightly, I assume you could also choose to have one pair flat fronted and one pair pleated without it impacting the overall impression of the suit?

James

Hi Simon, thanks for replying, that’s very helpful advice.

JJ Katz

Just wanted to say: amazing suit.

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
Good morning. I would like to ask you a question regarding drape especially in the back.
Is there a difference between the drape in the back between English vs Neapolitan coats?
Sometimes you call is “looseness” and sometimes drape, are these two the same?
Have a good week,
Alex N.

Jim L

Simon, overall, I like the cut as it looks both stylish and comfortable. Pictures can be misleading, but in the full-body buttoned photos, the suit looks great although I do find the extension of the shoulders a bit extreme. In the upper torso to your nose photo, the entire upper half of the jacket looks too big. To my eye, the drape in this photo and the first photo looks to be an inch or so too much. Maybe I’m just be unduly influenced by all the snug fitting fashion table photos of the last decade?

Nicolas Stromback

I second those opinions from before. I think it has to do with the fact that this style really suits you (given what you have said in the past), somewhere in between the formal and casual side of things. Looks very comfortable and would go great with dark knitwear as well.

Also, what a lovely and distinct contrast that copper silk tie has with the grey flannel. Amazing.

Fabrizio Gatti

Hi Simon. All the questions about this wonderfully cut suit that I would have asked (and many more) have been already answered. However, I still have a few about the accessories. 1) Is the A&S necktie self-tipped? Is it made in Italy? Do you know if it comes from the Como area? 2) Would you mind sharing the name of the socks’ manufacturer or retailer? Thank you.

Fabrizio Gatti

Thank you, Simon. The ties sold online by A&S are all self-tipped and made in Italy. They may be offering different ties from U.K. manufacturers in their London clothing store… I’ll check on my next visit.

Daniel MM

Really looking forward for a POST with the comparative images of darts/seams – English/Napolitan/Florentine styles.

Cheers, Simon!

Stanford Chiou

I’m glad you got the idea to turn your tailor style breakdowns into a book. There are some garments I’m looking forward to seeing breakdowns of, like your green Solito jacket, your blue A&S linen suit, several of your Caliendo jackets…

Stanford Chiou

I understand that decision, given the limitations of physical publishing. But I remain curious about differences in jackets from the same tailor (assuming both were cut to house style). I’m referring to your green Solito wool jacket and your brown Solito wool/silk/linen jacket; the shoulder of the latter seems so much rounder than the shoulder of the former.

Stanford Chiou

I’ll show you what I mean.

Your green Solito wool jacket comment image) and your Solito Escorial jacket comment image) both feature a fairly clean drop from shoulder to sleeve.

The brown Solito wool/silk/linen comment image) looks very different. Your shoulder pushes into the sleeve more, creating a rounder silhouette; I would have thought that the shoulders were narrower on this jacket than on the other two, or otherwise constructed differently. On this jacket, the area where the arm meets the torso is less “clean” than on the other two; there appears to be an outward bulge in the chest, as if there were drape. If you hadn’t said so, I would never have thought that this jacket was cut to the same house style as the others.

Stanford Chiou

You are far more familiar with the jackets than I am, so I’ll take your word for it.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Joseph Anthony

Nice Breakdown as always!! Question, how can I keep my dress shirt or t-shirt tucked in all day? It tends to give up on me and it makes the so called “muffin top” look on me. Got any advice? Again nice suit as always!

Anonymous

How is the drape in comparison to Steven Hitchcock and Whitcomb & Shaftesbury? I assume A&S has the most drape of any tailor.

Patrik

Correct me if I am wrong, but it looks to me that you wear more of a mid rise trouser rather than these super high waist trousers most of the #menswear community has been wearing the last years? I don’t think it’s very flattering for most men to wear high waist trousers to be honest. My personal opinion is that most men are better looking with a mid rise waist trouser. What’s your opinion about this? Would be interesting to read an article about it, what you think is most flattering on men in general. Many thanks.

Robin Basu

Simon,
Are you aware of any tailors in London who can do exact measurement replica/clones of suits/shirts you have, if the tailor who originally did them is no longer with us? I heard that Hong Kong used to specialise in this and would often remake replicas for Cary Grant who liked a particular shirt but couldn’t use the original tailor.Is this only a thing which is done mainly in Hong Kong?

Jon

Simon – I have enjoyed your articles on this topic. I am 6’ tall and am an athletic 215. I’ve had a couple of suits made but, without going into detail about this or that house or city, have never been thrilled with the results. Is there a “style” you would recommend for someone my size?

Jon

Thanks, Simon. I will read that article. I have long enjoyed what you write. I don’t claim the levels of expertise you and many of your readers have. To me, clothes are critically important tools, albeit attractive ones, to send a subtle but clear message. Nothing else sends those messages in quite the way that clothes do – not watches (which I view as a different signal that is rarely consistent with my goal), jewelry, cars, or homes. Age, I suppose, has focused my interests rather narrowly.

Drew

I love this suit! I’m looking for something exactly like this! Can you tell me a little more about the cloth? Why did you opt for a 2/3 roll lapel? Thanks in advance!