New book: Bespoke Style, the cuts of 25 of the world’s finest tailors
Nothing is more satisfying than when long-grown projects come to fruition. Indeed, I'm not sure many media today could support a project that's taken this amount of work and time.
It began in 2016, with the idea of trying to commission a suit or jacket from most of the world's best-known tailors. I already had most, but there were a few gaps to fill in - particularly Neapolitans like Panico.
Having done that, the idea was to photograph all those suits, in the studio, in the same poses and lighting. In order to make them easy to compare.
No false poses, no flattering light, just the suits as they are. Then measure all of them and analyse the results, with the help of another tailor. And publish it.
We've put many of them online during that time, and those can be found in the Guide to Tailors Styles page. But the aim was always to produce a book - to have all the photos at better scale and resolution, and in one reference work.
The result is this hard-backed book, launching today: Bespoke Style. It breaks down a total of 25 tailors, including ones like Caliendo, Edward Sexton and Dege & Skinner that have never appeared online.
It also includes some extra material, in the form of regional introductions. The book is divided into sections for England, France, North Italy and South Italy, and each has a chapter that lays out some of the traditions of that region.
There's also a personal introduction, an extended guide to what all the measurements mean, and we added the article 'Is bespoke worth it?' at the end, for everyone that is questioning the value of the work they've seen in all the preceding chapters.
Talking about this openly, I think, is particularly important in today's economic climate. These are all very expensive clothes and must be recognised as much, as much as I think they are also extremely valuable.
The book is hardback (unlike previous PS books like the Style Guide), runs to 188 pages, and is available now on the PS Shop online.
It is also available from the following shops:
- Anderson & Sheppard - London
- The Armoury - Hong Kong
- The Armoury - New York
- Atelier de Luca - Paris
- Bryceland's - Hong Kong
- Bryceland's - Tokyo
- Crane Brothers - Auckland
- Decorum - Bangkok
- Degand - Brussels
- Double Monk - Sydney
- Edward Green - London
- Kevin Seah - Singapore
- Michael Jondral - Hannover
- Oak Room - Taipei
- Paper Cut - Stockholm
- Principle M - Beijing
- Skoaktiebolaget - Stockholm
- Solito Sartoria - Mexico City
- Stefano Bemer - Florence
- Uncommon Man - Dallas
- Unipair - Seoul
- WJ & Co - Kuala Lumpur
Not a bad spread of local stockists, particularly in Asia. Go support your local retailer, whether it's buying online or in person.
And contact them individually for details of availability and shipping. The book is not available from Amazon or similar online sellers.
Obviously Covid prevents any launch party for the book, which is a real shame, but I will be holding a signing session in The Service - the new coffee shop on Savile Row - this Thursday 22nd from 11am to 4pm.
So if anyone is in London and would like to buy a book and have it signed, just come by any time that day. London is obviously under greater restrictions at the moment, but I will be masked and distanced. So if you feel comfortable coming by, please do.
Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to every tailor included, but especially to the book's sponsors - Anderson & Sheppard, Edward Green and Vitale Barberis Canonico.
Without you this project simply wouldn't have happened, so thank you Anda, Euan and Francesco. And I'm sorry it took so long.
All photography: the wonderful @jkf_man.
Book available on the PS Shop site here.
Hi Simon, congratulations on the book! I would really like to get the book signed, but obviously working from home at the moment so I won’t be able to get into central London for 4pm on Wednesday. Is there any way you could stay later for us folks to stuck working from home until 5:30 to get in? Thanks!
I’m afraid not, sorry. I need to get home for bath time!
If you want, though, send me an email with anything you want writing in the front, and I’ll leave it at Anderson & Sheppard for you to buy from there?
Thank you so much Simon, I understand I’m based in SE London too. I’ve sent you an email.
Congratulations on the new book, Simon. And thank you for drawing attention to The Service – I’ve always felt that part of town was lacking anywhere you could get a decent coffee, so it’s nice to see that something has opened up to fill that void, particularly under the current circumstances. Will there be copies of the book available to purchase at the signing on Thursday?
Yes there will, sorry for not making that clear.
Which is the blue suit on p. 55? Love the colour tone.
Airforce flannel from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury – article on it here
Simon. Looks like a great way to bring together and expand on the online series of articles and it’s always so much nicer to have a good quality hard copy reference. It would be great if you could add a signing option online, for those of us that can’t make it to London book signings, especially in these very strange times.
Wonderful news Simon.
I very much look forward to reading what promises to become a menswear classic.
Simon , A superb concept as I was planning to esquire about the same but in a more condensed from as in; what are the key aspects of tailoring in each of these regions? On a short technical question, what is the “standard” maybe”preferred” opening measurement for the bottom leg opening on today’s trousers?
I’m not sure what’s standard really, but I have 19cm width usually, sometimes 20 for smarter trousers.
About prices – are the prices you list in the book and on the site what I could expect to pay if I (not a writer) walked in and asked for the same thing? I ask because I’ve recently begun collecting a few nice jackets. I live in Detroit Michigan and I am surprised to find that the tailors here charge roughly the same or even more for bespoke or higher end MTM as the prices you list. The fabric is the equal but the craftsmanship is no where near.
Interesting, thanks Steve. Do tell me more about those tailors if you care to – always interested to hear about regional ones like that.
And yes, the prices quoted are what any customer would pay
Congratulations Simon, I miss using suit, tie and freshly shined oxfords.
Permanent Style brings hope in these messy times because beautiful things as arts and crafts should not be dismissed.
Absolutely. Art will save us (at least mentally)
Simon-congratulations! And thank you for collecting all this.
Call me old fashioned but I just hope some copies end up In libraries even in a scanned form. In fifty year’s time fashion students will be desperate for this sort of detail. If only we had the same from fifty years ago.
Good point. At least hopefully the website will be there
Simon where I can get the book online or in The United States?
See stockists above – Armoury in New York, Uncommon Man in Dallas
Unfortunately, it hasn’t (yet?) shown up in their online shops.
Ah, OK. Drop them a note, they should be receiving them very soon (perhaps US customs has got in the way)
The book looks fantastic and I will be purchasing ASAP.
Just thought I’d mention that your readers who are subscribed to the weekly roundup would have received this today (Thu 22nd) at around 4pm, which is alas too late to come to your signing!
I’ve changed my subscription preferences, but might be worth noting for any future events.
Thanks Mark, and good point.
We are just about to introduce a newsletter alert system for every post, if people want that. And it was on social media too. But I didn’t think about the weekly newsletter coming too late.
Only one from New York City??
None from New York actually – not sure which one you thought was?
There is real dearth of good US tailors unfortunately – see post here for lots of detail on New York, if you’re interested.
You listed “The Armoury New York.”
Sorry, I assumed he meant only one tailor, not only one shop.
Yes – only one stockist in New York. Our aim is not to have it sold everywhere, but rather in the great menswear shops we love around the world.
Good point. Simon. There is a tailor in Philadelphia who does full bespike and we are in the exploratory stage about having him make me suit in the spring. I know of no true bespoke tailor shops in LA though I have used Art Lewin who is pretty close to bespoke. He has several very good tailors but I am just sure if he can match someone if the good ones on the Row. Thanks for the on-site on Davide Taubs role in making me the recent suit he made. The one thing I noted about him versus previous G&H personel was that he really was involved with every fitting- part of his tailoring background I suppose and the suit was a success!
Meant to say insight! This auto correct feature works poorly!
Who in Philadelphia are you looking at?
I asked The Armoury about ‘Bespoke Style’ earlier today (Saturday 24 October). The New York locations have 10 copies between the two of them, which are all at the Tribeca location at the moment, but I was told that five of them would be sent to the UES on Tuesday. I decided to order my copy online instead, which I suppose means that there’s nine now.
Will your book be available in Canada or should I order from Personal Style directly ?
Thanks Simon ,
You’ll have to order from Permanent Style directly – or from one of the US stockists listed if that’s cheaper for you
Definitely like it in a book format, though maybe for future, if you can turn this into ipad app it would be amazing (and full interactive), though guess that won’t be cheap, but you can keep expanding on it (and as much as I love books they do take up space and the weight)
Any chance I could purchase an autographed copy and have it sent to the states?
No, sorry Richard. All the books are distributed from a site outside of London, so I can’t sign and send individual copies
Could you please tell me the size of the Book ?
It is A4
Let me assure American would-be buyers that delivery is quite rapid if one orders from PS directly. I ordered my copy last Monday and received it Thursday in the middle of the Midwest. Had a wonderful time reading it, too.
I picked my copy up at The Armoury NYC and could not be complimentary enough. It is a great read and an excellent reference source for anyone with an interest in tailoring. Bravo Simon!
Hi Simon, congratulations on your publication. I have just placed an order to buy one in Bryceland’s & Co., and looking forward to learning from your great work.
Thank you Horace
On page 5, your jacket sleeves are wrinkle free.
I am having issues keeping my jacket sleeves wrinklefree throughout the day. Is this something that I just need to live with, or do you have any suggestions for how I can fix this?
Love all of your work by the way!
Thanks in advance
It will vary hugely with the material. Even just with wool, a dense worsted will crease a lot less than a loose soft woollen.
In the end you will need to live with some creasing, but you can also help it by hanging the jackets with plenty of room around them, and either putting some steam around them or pressing them yourself. There’s a video on pressing here.
I notice this book seems to be self published, what was the reasoning behind this route rather than one of your previous publishers? It seems you are having to deal with all the distribution yourself.
Yes, we’ve done that twice before as well – with the 2015 Annual and with The Style Guide. It’s for a number of reasons, including greater creative control and the fact that, frankly, you’re much more likely to make money. This particular project is not exactly very commercial either, it’s pretty niche.
Interestingly, we don’t usually sell any fewer doing it this way. PS has such a large readership that, combined with the great menswear stores that want to stock it (and promote it) around the world, the reach is greater than a publisher. The Style Guide is still the best selling of all the seven books I’ve done.
I ordered the book through the PS shop, along with some other items – is the combination of items (and the need to bring them together) reason to expect it to take longer to ship out? Compared to previous orders it has been quite a while longer without a notification of shipping (a bit over a week now), but I’m not sure if this is something to be expected or something I should be following up on.
I’d follow up on it – do email me or the support team ([email protected]) with the order number
I’m in Canada, and I looked into buying the book a few weeks ago from one of the US stockists, but found they changed pretty exorbitant shipping ($40 for a $52 book). I decided to hold off and instead buy from the PS Shop when making my next order, calculating the import fee would be much less than shipping from the US. Unfortunately, in attempting to place my order, apparently the book can’t be shipped to Canada by PS. Is that through agreement with the US/Mexico stocklists that you won’t ship to Canada and leave the market to them?
No, it should be fine to ship to Canada. Can you email the support team on [email protected] and let them know exactly what happened when you tried to put a Canadian address for shipping?
Love your site, lots of good information humbly stated. I have read many of your articles, but have a somewhat specific ask.
Where/who would you recommend for a suit in Rome or possibly Naples, with a budget of around €1100? At that price I know bespoke is out, but would I be better served with MTM or RTW and good post purchase tailoring?
I am an American who finds himself in Rome for a few years. I wear suits 4 days a week during normal times. I have a decent base of 10 suits, a mix of navy, black and grey with minor variations in patterns/hues/stripes. Some are getting on in years; about 8 years for the oldest and 6 months for the newest. My office environment is conservative but not rigid. I would like to replace one suit now and another every year or so to freshen up my wardrobe. Right now I am limited to Rome due to COVID, but I could wait a few months and (hopefully) go to Naples; Milan is not really an option.
Thank you. I’m afraid I’m not really the best person to give advice at that price level, given it’s not what I normally cover. Still, the pieces we’ve done on quality in suits, and perhaps on RTW v MTM should provide some help. I’ve linked to them there in case you haven’t seen them.
Do you mind listing the 25 tailors mentioned Simon? Greatly appreciated
Sure – they are the 20 that are already in our Style Breakdown guide here, plus: Pirozzi, Sexton, Whitcomb, Caliendo and Dege
Sounds like an interesting idea!
However, the “results”, so to speak, could be thrown out by a couple of variables, such as how long some of the suits were commissioned and how your understanding/knowledge of tailoring has changed over that period, as that could well influence what you asked the tailors to do. Also, of course, your weight and build could have fluctuated over time, thus influencing the fit of the suits, so that the earlier suits may not fit you as well anymore.
Anyway, it sounds like an interesting comparison and I look forward to seeing a copy.
Thanks Jim. Fortunately my build hasn’t changed that much, though you will see some comments on that on the Cifonelli chapter, for instance. I also asked the tailors to do the same things pretty much.
You can see some of the chapters online here.
Will this book be republished as it seems to be out of stock?
It is, yes, the whole first edition amazingly sold out. There will be another edition next year.
I too am looking forward to the next edition as I didn’t manage to snag one last time around. Do you have an update on when it might arrive?
It should be here at the beginning of next month. As always, the best way to get access is to email the support team and be on the waiting list