One point that was particularly popular in a recent video chat – ‘How can I dress up without a suit?’ – was the idea of an unstructured or shirt jacket, to wear at home. 

Something that you can throw on for a video phone call, in other words, but doesn’t feel odd if you continue to wear it around the house. Very relevant during the lockdown recently, and perhaps increasingly so in the future. 

One of the issues with such a jacket is that the cloth is absolutely crucial. As there is no structure in the jacket, you’re effectively wearing just cloth. It’s purely pieces of material sewn together in whatever shape and size you desire. 

So I thought it would make sense to add a brief chapter to our Guide to Cloth, looking at which materials are most suitable. 

The Guide is nearing completion now, having covered every type of cloth from summer trousers to the venetian weave, and we’re filling in a few gaps here and there. Black tie is another one we’ll add soon. 

If you read this and the other chapters, and feel there are any more gaps, please do let me know. It’s already the most comprehensive reference source out there, I think, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better. 



The word ‘unstructured’ is used in tailoring to describe a range of makes – from a jacket with no shoulder pad or lining, to something with nothing inside at all. Basically, anything that has less structure than the tailor’s normal make.

Here, we mean the latter, the entirely unstructured. No shoulder pad, no canvas, no lining. Just cloth. It is probably doubled up on the front of the jacket, to form some type of inner layer, but still – cloth is all there is. 

The key characteristic this cloth needs, as a result, is body. 

It needs to have enough strength and density to hold a line without the support of structure inside. It needs to drape well: something more commonly discussed in womenswear, but crucial in a menswear piece like this. 

If the material is too soft, or too loosely woven, it will crumple as soon as it comes under pressure. The inside of the elbow will squash and fold, distorting the sleeve. The skirt at the back will be crushed as soon as you sit down, leaving a concertina following you around. 



So, what kind of materials have this body? 

Well, it’s an area we have touched on in other chapters. We know that trousers need this body, for example, and it’s a reason a twill weave is so commonly used in trousers. 

We also know that soft fibres, such as cashmere, aren’t any good without the support of another fibre in the mix. That’s something an unstructured jacket has in common with both suits and trousers

And we know that weight will help. Hence our discussion of light and heavy versions of linen (with linen being, perhaps surprisingly, often cooler in a heavier weight – as it flows more and sticks less). 

So denser weaves, stronger fibres, and heavier weights. 



If we start with the more luxurious, and perhaps more formal, type of jacket, then silk and worsted wool will be the things to watch out for. 

A lightweight jacket, perhaps 220-280g, in a worsted wool twill, will look sharp and luxurious yet still hold a good line. If something soft like cashmere is used, then silk is helpful in the mix to add body. 

A piece like this, if a tailor can make it, will have the wonderful light feeling of a ‘giacca-camicia’ – a shirt-jacket – with the seams around the shoulders pressed flat and almost invisible. A lovely, cool thing to wear in the summer. 



The alternative for an unstructured summer piece is pure linen, perhaps cotton. 

This will have less body, and will wrinkle. But it’s a conscious choice we’ve made. We accept the disadvantages because want the cool-to-the-touch feel of linen. Or indeed because we want a different style: a relaxed, rumpled look. The aim is no longer an elegant, clean drape. 

Still, if we want to minimise that wrinkling we can. By using a heavier, more densely woven linen: Irish, rather than Italian, in a twill rather than a plain weave, and around 10 or 11oz in weight. The same goes for fine cottons. 

The next alternative is a rougher, tougher look: a workwear cotton jacket. 

Again, we know that the cotton will not drape well. Cotton just doesn’t. But we can still keep a nice shape by using more robust cottons, most likely in a twill weave. 

Some heavier, tougher worsted wools can have a similar feeling as well. 



Finally, there are knitted fabrics like jersey. 

The advantage here is that they will have natural stretch, so they will feel comfortable in a similar way to a shirt, even if cut closer (the exact opposite of cotton, which usually has no natural stretch).

The downside is drape, and therefore wool is the best fibre to use, and ideally the fabric should be fairly heavy. Otherwise the jacket will look more like a piece of knitwear. 

It’s also worth investing in good-quality jersey, as cheaper versions have a tendency to stretch and bag-out over time. That elasticity slowly fades away. 



In the end, the key thing about an unstructured jacket is to be clear what look you’re after. 

A linen jacket will look and feel very different to a fine wool, and again to a rough cotton. There is no structure, so the cloth choice becomes even more important, and they all create very different looks.

You can even have pure cashmere, and it will feel lovely. It will just look more like a blanket hanging off your shoulders than a tailored jacket. 

The method of construction makes a difference too of course. A worsted wool piece might be made more like a jacket; a cotton workwear one will probably be rather different, with lapped seams, patch pockets and no doubling of material on the facings. 

Also, it is less likely that a bespoke tailor will be able to make something akin to workwear. For that, you will likely be doing made-to-measure, or made-to-order from a brand using a factory – someone like Stile Latino that made my unstructured jersey jacket above. 

But cloth choice is important there as well, even if it’s more directed by the brand. And indeed if you’re choosing between a handful of ready-to-wear jackets. 

Jackets pictured, from top, are:


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nice vintage Submariner, is that a 5513?


May I ask you to ask George about the lovely cloth this jacket is made of? He seems to have an inclination for unusual blues or related colours like this turquoise, doesn’t he? I’m thinking of his azure shirt in your book “The Style Guide” here. Both times combined with cream or off-white, by the way.


Great article as usual Simon, thanks.

I have a somewhat related quandary. I teach in a school and am looking ahead to September, when we anticipate a full return of all students. I would like to continue to wear a (relatively unstructured) jacket for meetings, whole school events, and so on. Given the ongoing pandemic, and the potential for serious outbreaks in educational settings, school management have decided that staff should only wear machine washable clothing, to allow for better infection control.

Are you aware of any jacketings that can be frequently machine washed? And makers producing machine washable jackets?

Stanford Chiou

Hi Benjamin,

Machine-washable jackets are available from brands like Bluffworks and Ministry of Supply (and Bluffworks’ jackets are on sale at the moment). Granted, these are a far cry from the sort of thing that typically appears in Permanent Style, being RTW and made from performance fabrics, but they might suit your needs.


Simon, may I ask for your opinion on the corduroy games blazer? I am interested in the navy version (RRL has a navy corduroy one too at the moment) but wonder if that combination is too unusual.


Shocked that you like jersey to be honest. To me it feels like tracksuit meets suiting !


I assume jersey is a relatively large departure from what tailors normally work. Would you try to seek out a tailor with particular experience using it? Or would any tailor likely be able to work well enough with it?


Hi Simon,

Any chance you’d be able to get details on the cloth used in George’s jacket? The blue/grey herringbone? It looks ideal!


I’ve always been a fan of Private White shirt jackets; great materials and good drape. They seem to have a large variety, though I only have wool and cotton twill pieces, never tried the linens.


Genuine question – am we taking off our jackets (whether structured or not) when we sit down at our desks?


I’m changing jobs and will (in theory) be working in an office much more frequently than before. When I last worked full-time from an office it was a suit but-no-tie kind of place and I took off my jacket before I sat down. Most days I wouldn’t put it on again until I went home.

I’ll take the advice from the recent video and direct my attentions first towards purchasing a good quality navy jacket – but how likely is it that I’ll want to wear it whilst sitting at my desk and what impact should this have on the structure or material I consider?

Ben R

I’ve been commissioning a few pieces in this style. So It’s nice to see an article on it. And I agree completely with your point about how relevant this style can be for Work From Home.

In regards to additional articles for the Guide to Cloth. Could you touch on other formal/semi-formal wear in the Black Tie article? Dinner Jackets, Morning Dress/Suit, Full Dress (White Tie), and Strollers. I would imagine the cloth would be somewhat similar across the pieces, except for the cashmere stripe trousers. Would be interesting to hear your advice/opinion on cloth weight though as I see Morning Dress more in the Summer, and Full Dress more in the Winter.


I did experiment with MTM unstructured blazers and safaris. One thing I noticed is they can be a bit unforgiving. When I put on a little weight it’s very obvious. Heavier fabrics like suede seem to hold their shape better.

Valentine Hayes

Belgian linen makes a lovely jacket

Caleb C.

I do not know if the recent weeks’ content has just been in my particular area of need or if I am starved for more menswear information the longer I work from home, but you really seem to be operating on all cylinders and in an amazing stride recently. I cannot put a finger on exactly what it is, but the articles seemed to be hitting home and it feels like PS is well oiled and optimally running. Thank you for your work.

Juan Huertas

I would echo Caleb’s comments, as those were my thoughts exactly after reading this. I’m a frequent reader, and lately I’ve had the distinct impression that you are improving exponentially what was already great. Thank you for your efforts.


What about wool-silk-linen? Due to the informal nature of how Singaporeans dress and also the hot/humid climate here, there are alot of establishment here which offer a sort of unstructured jacket as you mentioned. Majority of them would recommend WSL as a material to be used in such a construction. What are your thoughts to this?


How do completely unstructured jackets handle things in pockets? Does putting a mobile phone in an inside pocket completely upset the balance?

Adam Conrad

So would something that falls into the unstructured jacket-meets-shirt jacket like an Engineered Garments Bedford?

Stanford Chiou

Which wears cooler, do you think: an unstructured jacket in a heavier cloth, or a structured jacket in a lighter one?


I love these sorts of jackets. Whilst I wouldn’t hold it out as the apex of tailoring, I feel obliged to mention a totally unstructured Ralph Lauren jacket I have that is made out of what I can only describe as a much thicker polo shirt material. So it is very breathable (perfect for foreign travel), can be rolled up and stuffed in a bag (ditto), just about passable for formal-ish use (I have presented at conferences wearing this thing) yet hugs the body and holds its shape marvellously.


Simon— another useful piece. I’m wondering if I could convince you to do a 5 piece capsule collection type article for jackets. There are a lot of articles you have done in this area, but I’ve found those capsule articles a good distillation of your current thoughts, and very helpful.


I second Justin’s request. Although the article on your Neapolitan jackets is interesting, it’s not really a capsule article; it’s just a description of what you’ve collected over the years.


Simon, in that article you said that you increasingly reverted to the Neapolitan jacket for casual wear and English suits for business like and formal wear. Is that still the case or has your position changed?

Andy V

Are there any faux-pas cloth mixes when it comes to jackets combined with trousers/slacks/jeans? I live in a very casual area (Pacific Northwest of US), prefer jackets through most of the year, but often combine with denim or twill in Summers (casual + temperature).


Excellent advice! These are two very common mistakes that men often make.

Peter Zottolo

Jeans and sport coats can work, even with structured ones, but the jacketing and details have to run casual. Maybe a topic for a future post? 🙂

Stanford Chiou

Maybe this is a UK/US difference? Sid Mashburn favors jeans with a sport coat, even navy ones:

Stanford Chiou

Simon, you’ve brought me around to your way of thinking about minimizing the gap in formality between jeans and sport coats. But I would smarten up the jeans (darker indigo rather than mid-blue, perhaps with a bit of shine) before casualizing the jacket. (Definitely do both, but the jeans should take precedence.)

Stanford Chiou

I was under the impression that you were happy with your bespoke jeans from Levi’s. Has that changed?

Stanford Chiou

When I said “smarten up the jeans” I mostly meant going for a dark indigo over a mid-blue: darker, less saturated, perhaps with a bit of the shine that dark indigo denim often has (but not to the degree of a worsted wool) all qualities associated with smartness.


The Armoury Model 7 in wool seersucker fits the bill nice for the unstructured jacket, especially in hot climates. Wish I had one.


Is the jersey knit fabric a cotton-linen blend? Or does it have wool in it?

I was flirting with getting this jacket. Cheap enough to be an impulse buy…


Would love to hear your thoughts on unstructured jackets to the extent of them being without canvas – how often would it be in need of ironing, whether going without canvas helps jackets become lighter etc.

I’ve seen Alan from The Armoury wearing one made from Irish linen that’s was said to be without anything inside. Quite curious if there are any merits to bespoke pieces being made without canvas…


Hi Simon,
Interesting article … I’m struggling to get my head around this concept. When you say:

“If we start with the more luxurious, and perhaps more formal, type of jacket, then silk and worsted wool will be the things to watch out for.

A lightweight jacket, perhaps 220-280g, in a worsted wool twill, will look sharp and luxurious yet still hold a good line. If something soft like cashmere is used, then silk is helpful in the mix to add body.

A piece like this, if a tailor can make it, will have the wonderful light feeling of a ‘giacca-camicia’ – a shirt-jacket – with the seams around the shoulders pressed flat and almost invisible. A lovely, cool thing to wear in the summer.

Do you mean that this piece would have ZERO structure? no canvas, no padding etc? Or like your stile latino MTM above, does it keep those parts but scaled down?

I can see the advantage to the above but on the other hand, the proper cloth link someone shared – that looks like a stylised cardigan and to my eyes really silly.


thank you for clarifying, I’m asking bc I’m getting close to commissioning a few odd jackets, maybe two for summer and two for winter. Hadn’t until now really thought about going down the unstructured route; although I have a few jackets from Elia Caliendo that are half lined and don’t have a huge amount of padding.

For the winter weight, I quite like needlecord (as I have a couple of pairs of trousers from the H&S bunch) … and was thinking of trying Ciardi this time around. Probably not going the full hog without canvas, but reducing it down from their typical amount. In your experience would this be a project ‘too far’ for a house like them?

As you point out the jersey-type version doesn’t personally appeal, perhaps bc with jeans and chinos I would rather just wear a sweater or a leather jacket/valstarino – all personal preference of course!


Hi Simon, that makes perfect sense and good to know. Appreciate the advice; I don’t have much experience with other tailors (besides Caliendo) for casual jackets so the comparison points are helpful.

As you say, I like the idea of tailoring to be tailoring and yet I’m not opposed to trying to add a completely unstructured jacket to the mix; for me, it’s perhaps easier to think of it as a separate entity on its own rather than replacement (in our new world) for a softly constructed /casual Neapolitan piece.

So with that in mind, and given the likes of Caliendo/Ciardi aren’t the best places to try something like this, are there any go to tailors/MTMs that you recommend? If not jersey, some of the other cloths you discuss above (like what George is wearing) are certainly of interest. I can imagine Drakes coming out with something like this (although I don’t recall seeing it in their FW preview in the shop)

You’ve introduced me to something I’d otherwise never have really considered, so I thank you for that!


Thanks Simon, really appreciate the referrals

Michael B.

Fantastic article, as always – I echo the comments that PS continues to move from strength to strength from my reader’s perspective. If any happen to be in the market for a brilliant unstructured jacket at a good price (rather important for me as a PhD student ever-lacking funding), S.E.H. Kelly are currently selling a run of their recently updated SB3 in a beautiful 11oz tropical worsted. I received mine recently and have barely taken it off, and in navy the material reads in such a way as to be easily wearable well into autumn (in my opinion, at least – I always run warm so the relative lack of insulation isn’t a problem for me).


Hallo Simon,

a very interesting piece. What do you think about Luca Avitabile’s Valerio overshirt?

Thank you, best regards,


Joe Corsello

Great article on summer sports jackets, wish the article had come out before I bought a Ralph Lauren purple label linen and will unstructured double-breasted jacket. It fits perfect however looks like I’m wearing a bag! My TAILOR in Italy, Pino Peluso of Morel, Would be laughing at the site of this jacket! I am a jazz drummer performing with legendary Sonny Rollins and try to look my best at every concert, I subscribe to the Rake magazine which keeps me pretty abreast of different styles etc. I’m also loving reading all of your articles and watching your videos thank you. Joe Corsello


Hi Simon, apologies for the (not so) off-topic question, but do you think that a light and dry woolen cloth such as one from the golden fox bunch, in a gun club check and casual make (neapolitan shoulders, patch pockets…) could work casually, e.g with chinos or jeans at a push?


Hi Simon, good article. Do you feel corduroy would work well in fully unstructured sport jacket or is it better with a little bit more structure like a half-canvas?

I have narrow sloping shoulders, so I’m not sure if I can pull off something fully unstructured.

R Abbott

In the increasingly casual environment that predominates (all the more so in the aftermath of COVID-19), I’m prioritizing items that allow me to “dress up” without looking overdressed. As an example, my office environment is sports coats and trousers Monday’s through Thursdays (ties optional), and jeans and collared shirts on Fridays. If I wear a traditional navy suit and silk tie on a Monday-Thursday, I’ll look completely overdressed. But I can get away with a cotton suit with linen tie. Likewise, I turn up with a standard coat and tie on a Friday, I’ll look out of place. But I can get away with wearing an unstructured jacket and knit tie.

So increasingly, it’s wool or linen ties rather than silk ties, sports coats rather than suits, and so on. I’m also exploring shackets, tebas, unstructured sports coats, etc. that can easily be dressed up without looking overly formal. Perhaps an article on this topic might be worth it? Particularly on the pros and cons of various options for dressing up without looking too formal (unstructured jackets, tebas, shackets, etc.)?

Stewart Bone

A truly superb article. I like the analytical angle but you always give me something to consider. I am in Chengdu right now and really thinking about how sticky my clothes are but heavy linen was not on my mind. Interesting since I have lighter linen shirts and I assumed they were the best option. Linen seems to be the best choice for me in asia. 100% humidity still, despite my best efforts, defeats me. It would be great to see more photos as well. There are never enough imho despite the high quality. Thank you Simon.

Stanford Chiou

Consider a shirt made from hemp or a hemp-cotton blend. I’ve found them to be effective at keeping me dry in humid conditions, even moreso than shirtings touted for moisture-wicking, such as merino or various viscoses. Vis-a-vis linen, I’d say that linen does a better job at keeping me cool, but that hemp does a better job at keeping me dry, and I’ll willingly accept a little more heat in exchange for a little less humidity. YMMV


Hi Simon,

I wonder if you could do a piece on dadwear in a hot/humid climate (e.g. summer). I think there’s no issue with cold climates as one could easily layer and look stylish (e.g. barbour, vintage parka, safari, military field jackets and the like) but when one has to chase after/carry a kid, wear a baby carrier at the hip, and not be bothered by food stains on clothes etc, and be on the feet for longer periods of time, it can be a challenge to look stylish, if at all. I think this is an area which would be greatly appreciated. In putting together my outfits I do notice a certain thought process in the outfits which I think may warrant further exploration


Hey simon. Yup looking after children. By the way where I am (Singapore), I can’t even get away wearing long pants (e.g army chinos, denim) or any form of light weight layering (its impossible to wear my drake’s linen overshirt) as the heat is intense. I’m almost always in shorts when out with my kid. I have also been exploring clothing with increased functionality (e.g. shirts with tons of pockets on them so I don’t need to carry a separate bag etc.) but in general I do think there’s quite abit to discuss here I guess. Also given that almost all readers are men and will be/is currently a father, I think this is something stylish/style-conscious dads who are also hands on with their children will appreciate and connect with.

Shem Teo

Yes so I wonder if its possible to remain stylish in that circumstance. I think that would prove quite challenging. Wonder what’s your take on it

Stanford Chiou

This is why the *real* national costume of Singapore (and Malaysia, and Thailand, and really the whole of Southeast Asia) is a singlet, shorts, and flip-flops.

Even if the singlet were knit from Sea Island Cotton, the shorts cut by Salvatore Ambrosi, and the flip-flops (somehow) goodyear-welted, it still wouldn’t do much to raise their formality.


True, and I feel therein lies the challenge of dressing. I mean in cooler climate, its pretty easy to wear a sportscoat and look stylish/well-dressed but when things get really hot/sticky and in my earlier point about having to care for a child as well, I think its an interesting area to explore as one needs to seriously consider form and function in attempting to look anywhere near stylish at all.

Justin Tan

Hey Shem, can I ask what kind of tailoring you have already tried for the Singapore heat? I imagine it is similar to summer HKG heat and that seemed unbearable for me in a t-shirt and shorts after a few hours. I am also curious if there is any kind of tailoring that can be worn under such humidity and heat without risking safety (heatstroke), and even if there was one that could handle the humidity plus inevitable sweat.

Stanford Chiou

Shem, my very first tailored suit was commissioned for me by relatives when I was about seven years old, on the occasion of a family wedding. You could see through the jacket because it was, of course, unlined. The extremely scratchy cloth (it must have been a fresco) made me so fidgety that they had the tailors line the trousers. I may have been melting, but at least I wasn’t squirming all through the ceremony.

It was such an unpleasant experience that it put me off tailored clothing until well into adulthood.


Would your escorial tweed be good for these unstructured jackets? As a casual alternative to the sports jacket


Hello, I don’t quite understand the part where you say “Also, it is less likely that a bespoke tailor will be able to make something akin to workwear. For that, you will likely be doing made-to-measure, or made-to-order– someone like Stile Latino that made my unstructured jersey jacket above”

I got confused when you said “workwear”. Do you mean unstructured jackets are workwear? Are unstructured jackets then best made by MTM or MTO instead of your regular sports jacket tailor? If so how come?


What important differences can be noticed on a jacket made by a tailor not used to making unstructured jackets?

I’m considering asking an outfitter (MyTailor) to make an unstructured jacket; they are used to making suits but have gotten into the traveling jacket scene. How can I assess a company’s ability to make an unstructured jacket before starting a commission?


If I went to see in person what should I look for? Thanks

R Abbott

Can a plain blue or tan seersucker suit (ie, without the stripes that are typical of seersucker) be a substitute for a standard cotton suit or jacket?

Also, I noticed that many companies are advertising so-called stretch cotton. Is this worth exploring or are there too many compromises involved?


If you could have only 3 unstructured jackets (2 F/W, 1 Summer), which colors/fabrics would they be in Simon?


Yep completely unstructured. My city is very informal, so even a sports jacket is dressy. I thought i’d wear unstructured jackets to replace that


Sorry to nudge back to my original question, Simon, but hypothetically if you could choose 3 unstructured jackets (2 F/W, 1 Summer) as someone living in an informal, mostly warm city year round, which colors/fabrics would they be?


For an unstructured jacket, what’s the best ratio of wool/linen/silk and how come? What does each fiber give to the constitution of the overall fabric?


Is the third photo the inside of your jersey knit? Is the green fabric inside the lining? Did you have this half lined?


thanks — what’s the advantage of having it quarter lined as opposed to half lined or no lining at all? Does it matter what lining you choose and what lining material did you choose? sorry so many questions…

Initials CG

Be careful of the weight of the lining, though. This does make a difference. If you intend to keep your jacket on in the summer heat, a heavy lining will have you cooking – even if it’s quarter lined – because your arms, shoulders and especially upper back will feel like they’re wrapped in cellophane….


Hallo Simon,
does your (helpful as ever) advice on cloth for unstructured jackets also apply on overshirts like Luca’s Valerio, or would softer fabrics like corduroy also be suited for them?




I think you missed one important fabric: cotton/linen canvas (a plain weave). Boglioli and Lardini make a couple of very nice cotton canvas unstructured jackets. Because it’s a plain weave, canvas jackets tend to breathe better than those made from twill. And they have a distinct workwear flavor to them.


Simon, is 10/11oz suiting (worsted flannel/Super Fine Merino) suitable for weather between 15c and 25c? Will it be weighty enough (5cm cuffs on trousers) to retain a graceful trouser “drape”.

Do you have suggestions on how I “can play around” with for example, the lining and trouser cuffs to better achieve both?

My body temperature usually runs constant in weather <23c.

I am working on a bespoke foundational suit to cover me from March to June and early Autumn – my first suit in many many years.


Much obliged Simon.

One more thing and on a general point, which fabric mills would be top of you list for suiting material? Its for my 50th so very important to me.


Hi Simon. I’m keen to commission a sports coat for holiday travel. I often pack my bags very tightly so the jacket needs to be able to withstand being squashed. Does this limit me to an unstructured jacket only? I’m wondering if a compromise is possible which allows me to retain some structure and shape in the jacket but still be able to squish it in a back pack now and again.


Hello Simon.. I fully uphold the value of this type of clothing. I am puzzled by it’s association with the craft of Tailoring.
One of the fundamental skills in Tailoring is constructing the canvas inspite of wether the garment falls into the category of structured or unstructured. On this foundation the garment is assembled. I am sure that you will recall the wise words of Edward Sexton when he emphasized how important the canvas in all its various formats is.
Please do not continue to insult dedicated craftsmen and women by associating these garments with our work.
It is merely another form of outerwear.


Hi Simon, big fan of your articles.
I am currently considering commissioning a 210gm 45% linen, 40% worsted (and 15% teclana – which I have never heard of before) 2-piece suit. This is obviously very light but I live in a very hot climate. Is this liable to get damaged (and creased) easily, and do you think a full lining for the jacket would be necessary, or would half lining suffice? Would half lining for the trousers be advisable also? The other alternative would be a 310gm full linen which could be a safer option.
Thanks in advance for your advice!

Henry Nichols

Such a wonderful information. Thanks for sharing.


Hi Simon, was wondering how the lapel roll of an unstructured jacket would be compared to a fully canvassed one. I am contemplating between full canvas or unstructured for my next suit and I’m concerned about a flaccid and limpy lapel roll that I assume may come from the unstructured suit

Steve B

I’ve a number of Drakes unstructured jacket because they’re more casual & comfortable. Materials vary from Harris tweed, lighter tweed, corduroy to cotton/ linen blends. The key is fit & your shape & getting alterations so they’re less full in the waist & thereby, for me, let the body provide the structure as you might with a sweater. They also pair well with indigo jeans & chinos or smarter trousers if required. As for any jacket I’d not have too much bulk but leave that for a shoulder bag.
Good article for a more casual era but hopefully with style.

Alex McShane

Simon, can I ask a question about summer suiting and the benefits of being unstructured vs structured? I am currently looking at MTO in a oatmeal linen, the offers are unstructured, half or full canvas.

Originally, I was going to go unstructured, but the linen is lightweight, I wanted a breathable suit – that can be split depending on my needs, but I am concerned that it isn’t going to be as breathable now due to the lightweight linen? Any advise?

Alex McShane

Thank you Simon,

Seeing as this is meant to be quite casual I think less formal is more correct. I am just not used to it, most of my suits are very structured, so I am having to psych myself up. You never know this might be a revelation for me.


Hi Simon,

you wrote “worsted wool twill, will look sharp and luxurious yet still hold a good line.” For example cavalry twill, not usually recommended for odd jackets, is exactly what you describe: is rather heavy, have a pronounced twill, is worsted and would look sharp. So, could completely unstructured construction, keeping just doubled fabric on the front in order to have flapped pockets kind of solve the conundrum of not using sharp fabrics for odd jacktes? I. e. reducing sharpness by soft look and feel of un-structure?

And, from other end of cloth spectrum, shetland tweed from W. Bill: Not so rough, not so much friction, this could be used for such a jacket, don’t you think?

Thank you very much!



Hello Simon
I am in the market for an unconstructed jacket for autumn/winter. For wool, I am considering an 18/19 ounce covert cloth by Fox, maybe a similar weight in flannel. I’d like it to drape like cashmere but maintain the robustness and practicality of wool. It should look and feel casual. Alternatively, corduroy, though maybe stiff initially but should soften over time. I considered Caliendo for the commission. Do you think it’s worth going bespoke for such a jacket for both fit and finish? What are your thoughts on cloth & weights? Would the covert or flannel work for casual wear with a tee shirt, for example? Thanks

Bruce Marder

Hello. Do you have the name of the fabric maker and fabric number for the jacket that is blue with a Chevron design? You can see a Rolex in a picture.


Hi Simon,

A slightly tangential question.

After a couple of decades of wearing a (structured) suit to work every day, I have recently switched careers to become an independent investment advisor.

I am based in Dubai, which is warm and sunny almost throughout the year. Since I will be less office-bound in my new role, I am assessing whether I should get a couple of unstructured suits made to make it more comfortable to handle the weather.

One aspect where I would really value your thoughts is regarding suitability. I am quite slim (177 cm, 65 kg). Would taking the structure away make the suit look a bit ‘weak’? Is there, perhaps, a halfway-house solution that would help?

Any other advice that you think would help is of course greatly welcome.

Thank you