Anglo-Italian made-to-measure jacket: Review

Wednesday, September 16th 2020
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I know a lot of readers have been waiting for this review of Anglo-Italian, so I’ll go straight into summarising my thoughts. All of them have, as per usual, already been discussed openly with the brand (Jake). 

My made-to-measure Anglo-Italian jacket is a good make and a good fit. It’s not something that pushes to compete with bespoke (unlike some MTM we’ve covered) but I guess that’s not Anglo-Italian’s aim - it’s one reason they sell their cloth too, so customers can use the same material for full bespoke. 

It’s also quite a distinctive MTM product. Jake argues, and I think it’s fair, that a lot of of MTM out there is similar in cut and make - the thing that differentiates the better ones is overall style, the look and advice. Less the cut. 

That cut is rather roomy, with a surprisingly low buttoning point. It’s very comfortable, but could just feel big to some people. The jacket doesn’t look large - as I think the photos demonstrate - but there’s a lot of room in there. 

This is amplified by the make. This jacket has no shoulder pad, and it’s rare for Anglo to use one. There’s just canvas, running all the way up the front and into the shoulder. 

This makes it soft and pliable - a feeling that is reinforced by the Anglo cloths. Mine (AIT30) is typical for their range: open weave, spongey in feel, with some natural stretch.

It is this, as much as the subdued colour palette, that makes a lot of the Anglo-Italian cloths feel quite contemporary, I think. 

Of course, if this were a worsted suiting, the jacket would feel different. But it would also be less structured and more pliable than a worsted from somewhere else. 

In this respect, the jacket reminds me more of a more casual brand like Stile Latino, and the jersey jacket I had from them a few years ago, than it does any bespoke tailors. 

The Anglo is better made than the Stile Latino, though, and it’s worth running through all these aspects of make. 

One obvious way in which the Anglo jacket is not at the level of bespoke or some top-end MTM is that neither the chest nor collar are hand-padded. That’s not the be-all and end-all of course, but it’s a good thing to establish first. 

(It’s also something that has changed since Anglo started - my original launch piece on them in 2017 mentioned the tailoring would have a hand-padded lapel.)

Elsewhere, the make is not at the level of other top-end MTM that doesn’t have this hand padding.

The obvious comparison there is the Armoury suit I reviewed, which was made by Sant’Andrea in Italy. That was a good example of the best in the non-hand-padded category. 

However, while that Armoury suit was made beautifully, it was also expensive ($2750 for an MTM jacket, compared to £1490 from Anglo-Italian).

Accessibility is a factor for Jake - it’s why he chooses to have cheaper makers for the shirts or polos, for example - and that comes across in the work included in the tailoring. 

So, Anglo is not at these levels, but it does have the basics of a good jacket, such as a hand-attached collar, which is helpful to control the roll of the fronts, and some non-functional extras such as neat hand-sewn buttonholes. The finishing inside is fairly straightforward, as can be seen below.

Turning to the cut, the most obvious thing is that buttoning point. 

The waist button on my jacket is 20 inches from the shoulder seam, which is the same as the lowest I’ve had from any bespoke tailor in the Style Breakdown series (Anderson & Sheppard). 

However, that A&S jacket was also a touch longer - just over 31 inches, where the Anglo is just under - so proportionally this is the lowest buttoning point I have. 

I do like a lower buttoning point; I wish a good number of my English and Italian jackets had lower ones. I also think it’s the direction fashion in general is going.

But this is probably a touch too low for me, and I’d likely raise it slightly on a second jacket. 

As with most tailoring, it is possible to change that at Anglo-Italian. Their house style is a carefully thought-out, clearly defined one, but small changes to the buttoning point are OK. 

On the flip side, there’s no point going to a tailor for a style they don’t do, and that’s particularly the case with Anglo. Given how much work Jake has put into the proportions of the jacket, it would be probably insulting to try and make it into something else. 

I’d go as far as to say the main selling point of Anglo-Italian is how everything in the shop works together: styles, colours and cuts. To a certain extent, you have to take that or leave it. 

Interestingly, one reason Jake likes that lower buttoning is that it gives the overall jacket a very relaxed, louche look. This is a conscious attitude with the clothing, and is influenced by modern tailors like Sartoria Ciccio in Japan, but also older English tailors like Douglas Hayward.

This is also reflected in drape that sits low on the chest, and a slightly lower armhole. 

The functional benefit of the lower buttoning is that it brings that point and the waistband of the trousers closer together, reducing the likelihood of showing shirt material when you put your hands in your pockets, for example.

The two will never be the same height unless you wear real high-waisted trousers of course. But it does help.

Elsewhere, the jacket has a very natural shoulder (there is also an option with slight roping), a fairly high gorge (making the buttoning point look even lower) and a pretty straight lapel. 

In fact, the lapel reflects another aspect of the Anglo cut, which is that it incorporates aspects of both English and Italian style. 

The lapel is not entirely straight, otherwise it would seem to roll outward, but it also has none of the belly of English lapels. The patch pockets are definitely more curved than English ones, but not as stylised as Neapolitans. 

The overall look is very soft and natural (and Neapolitan in that regard), but there are none of the showy frills of southern-Italian style - no ripples in the sleevehead, no big tack stitches, no double rows of pick stitching. 

These are subtle things, but they all go to reinforcing one of the big points I made at the start, which is that the Anglo cut is surprisingly distinctive. At least, it surprised me - perhaps because I was too focused on the overall look, the cloth and colour palette. 

The fit of the jacket is good. It’s a roomy jacket, which is perhaps easier to fit; but still, tricky things like my sloping shoulders and hollow back were dealt with well. 

It’s not that important now, but when we had the first fitting on the jacket (a pretty much finished piece, not a basted fitting) it did feel even bigger. The changes we made were all to shape it more: taking in the waist on the side seams and in the back, and shortening the sleeves. 

In the end, I think readers will buy Anglo-Italian for their style. It is the thing that I think is genuinely different, and attractive.

So it matters less whether the quality of the jacket is a tiny bit better or worse than another, or another brand offers the same level for £200 more or less. 

It is not a competitor for bespoke, and I'll carry on using bespoke (I am, in fact, about to use some Anglo-Italian cloth with Sartoria Ciardi).

But for others, the decent quality and modern style mean Anglo-Italian should be considered alongside anything else at this price level.

In the images I am wearing a deliberately Anglo ‘look’:

  • Ready-made shirt, Anglo-Italian, £150
  • Wool tie, Anglo-Italian, £120
  • Grey flannel trousers, Whitcomb & Shaftesbury
  • Brown-suede loafers, Edward Green

Anglo-Italian made-to-measure jackets start at £1490 (including VAT) and go up in four tiers, depending on the cloth: £1560, £1640, £1730 and £2200 (the latter just for cashmere). House cloths are normally the lowest price, the same as mine. 

Made-to-measure suits vary in the same levels from £1760 to £2100. Trousers are £450. 

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man