Edward Sexton Offshore Bespoke suit: Review
I was impressed by the results. It’s a very well-fitting suit, and certainly feels bespoke. Any reader that normally buys ready-made suits, or most made-to-measure, would feel they were getting something superior.
But there are noticeable differences from the full bespoke Sexton too – which I have previously used for a grey-flannel suit in the same cut, here.
The most obvious of these is that the chest is rather stiffer, largely as a result of it being machine padded, rather than by hand. Of course, you can have a lightweight machine-padded canvas too, as most Italian RTW suits use. But Sexton uses heavier materials.
There are also some small differences in the fit. The collar sits nicely on the back of the neck most of the time, but when the arms are raised – for example, when I put my hands in my pockets – it lifts off the neck more than my bespoke would. The left sleeve could perhaps also do with a tweak to the pitch.
We did have two fittings on the suit, but both these issues are ones that I didn’t notice until I started wearing the suit for longer periods. And both will hopefully be able to be corrected.
Overall, I’m pleased with the suit and I think it delivers what it claims: an Edward Sexton cut that’s more accessible than the normal bespoke (given that it cost £2500, inc. VAT as opposed to £5500).
However, I wouldn’t say that it feels the same as the full English bespoke experience, as I have done with some other offshore services such as Whitcomb & Shaftesbury.
Interestingly, in one way the experience mirrored that of some other high-end made-to-measure I’ve had, such as from The Armoury.
This was, that while the fundamentals of balance and 3D shape were good from the start, smaller and easier things went wrong. With The Armoury, it was the trouser waist that was a size too big. With this Sexton suit, it was the length of the trousers.
It felt a little silly changing the length, which was too long, too short, and then a little too long again. But Dominic and Dan were very pleasant throughout this process – which all took place in the new Sexton shop on Savile Row.
The only other changes we made were putting a little more shape in the waist, and shortening the sleeve length. Edward was present for the first fitting, but not subsequently as smaller changes were required.
By the way, I’ve found that alteration marks on the trousers, such as those visible around the cuff in the photos here, fade over time with wear, washing and pressing. So they won’t be there forever, even on linen.
It’s important to note that Edward cut a new pattern for me on this suit, rather than use my existing one. This is something he is wont to do, apparently, even on old customers.
So my experience was closer to the normal Offshore Bespoke one, in that a completely new pattern was drafted. It would have been less similar if my other, already refined pattern had been used.
Although, at the same time, we can’t know how much that pattern was aided by Edward’s existing knowledge of my shape and peculiarities.
In terms of the make, this suit is mostly the same as full bespoke. The finishing on things like buttonholes and buttons are all obviously done by hand, for example.
However, some points are done by machine, such as the attachment of the lining inside the jacket and the waistband on the trousers. The work that is done by hand also isn’t as fine as on my full bespoke.
This says more about the standard of the full Sexton bespoke, I think, than the offshore product.
The former is among the best in the world, with especially fine, precise work coming out of London. The offshore standard is still very good – better than most Neapolitans, for example – but not at the same level as London.
The style of the Edward Sexton double-breasted is one I love, but I find often doesn’t come across in simple fit shots.
The big sweep of the bellied lapel is wonderful, particularly when married with the wide, roped shoulder and long straight edge below the waist button. But it can look a little square in straight-on photos, with arms soldier-like at the sides.
The stylish line of the lapel is really revealed in more normal, three-quarters shots like the one below. Or when you have a hand in your pocket, sweeping back that front edge and revealing the large overlap. Even seated, as shown top, with the two sides of the jacket falling across the lap.
A good cut works well in all these contexts – and double-breasted styles have particular potential for doing it well.
The linen, by the way, is from W Bill (WB61324, Fine Irish Linens). It is what I would always pick for a suit or trousers in linen: Irish, plain weave and 12-13oz.
The dark-brown colour is one I’ve enjoyed in tailoring for quite a while – see my Dalcuore high-twist suit for example.
I find it’s particularly good at looking smart and subtle, yet distinctive. It’s an unusual colour for linen so you’re unlikely to find someone wearing the same thing. But it also avoids the colonial/wedding feel of cream or beige.
The trousers will also do double duty with smart polo shirts or knitwear in the summer, in the same way as I wear that colour of flannels in the winter (see here).
I particularly like this shade of brown with blue (especially denim and chambray) and the neutrals of white, grey and black.
Above it’s shown with a chambray-linen shirt and black knitted tie, while below the shirt is a white twill, worn without a tie. My alternative for the second outfit was a black shirt with cream handkerchief, which looked just as good (in the same vein as the Vestrucci flannel here).
The dusty brown does supports bright colours very well - as with the handkerchief shown below – but for me they’re best in a small accessory.
I’ve deliberately worn the handkerchief in a demonstrative fashion, springing flower-like out of the breast pocket.
It’s not what I’d normally do, but I think it helps draw attention when you’re not wearing anything at the neck. And let’s face it, this kind of suit is going to be worn to an event or dinner most of the time, where such flounces are more acceptable.
The subject of suits without ties is also one that deserves delving into at a later date.
The shoes shown are Belgravias from Edward Green, in black cordovan. The handkerchief is from Rubinacci and the tie is knitted silk from Tie Your Tie.
The linen shirt is from Luca Avitabile, the white twill from Simone Abbarchi.
Edward Sexton Offshore Bespoke starts at £2,500 (including VAT). Details on the whole process can be found on the background article here.
Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt