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This suit from Dege & Skinner is perhaps the best example in this series of the archetypal English structured suit.
The shoulders are padded, but not to any extreme (less than Chittleborough & Morgan, for example). The lapels have a little belly, before straightening out (unlike any species of Italian). And the jacket is fairly long, more than covering my seat.
It is broadly fair to say that the style is the most common among English tailors today, and has been for some time.
There may be subtle differences in padding or drape, but most conform to these rough principles and proportions, historically derived from nineteenth century dress uniforms.
House: Dege & Skinner
Address: 10 Savile Row, London
Cutter: Nicholas De’ath
Price (at time of writing): £4925 (incl VAT)
Suit starting price: £4925 (incl VAT)
I had the suit made by Dege in 2016.
The tobacco linen was driven by the fact I loved a similar suit made by Sastreria Langa in Spain in 2014, but not the make or weight.
The linen that time had been light at 9oz and not very starched, both aspects of linen not woven in Ireland. This time I went for 11oz from W Bill instead, which I have found I prefer for the way it rumples rather than wrinkles.
Tobacco linen still seems to be a trend, though it’s a long-running one at this point. I was copying someone else when I had mine made in 2014 – though I can’t remember who. And readers still today talk about it like a fashion.
I imagine that the overall look of this suit will go down well with quite a few readers.
Its shoulders, structure and length are elegant. The closed quarters mean less shirt is exposed. That and the length at the back make the legs look longer – because you cannot see where they end.
I fundamentally agree these things are flattering, and it’s why I don’t think I’ll ever stop liking or wearing English structured tailoring.
I wore this suit during a trip to Naples last year, complete with panama hat, and I felt like the very image of an English gentleman.
The only issue is that it is so formal in its smartness.
White tie is also incredibly flattering, with its high trousers, cutaway fronts and sweeping tails. But that’s not enough reason to wear it. To be stylish, it needs to be socially and culturally appropriate too.
The key advantage that softer, usually Italian cuts have is that they can look casual and informal, yet retain many of the flattering aspects of good tailoring. Like an emphasised shoulder, nipped waist and ‘V’ on the chest.
But to return to this Dege & Skinner.
The shoulder is not that wide, at 5⅞ inches. However, we’re measuring the shoulder seam, and the neck is not as high as some other suits (eg Richard Anderson); so it is shortened at the neck end and looks wider than the measurement suggests.
There appears to be a little roping at the top of the sleevehead, but there is no sleevehead roll in there: this is merely the shoulder pad and its canvas running out into the top of the sleeve.
The lapel is typically English, curving out slightly from the waist button, before straightening as it approaches the notch.
Most other things are moderate and typical too. The buttoning point (19¼ inches from the shoulder seam), the sleeve, the suppression of waist and back: all sit in the middle of a range among other English suits in this series.
The only things that are different are minor ones: the outbreast pocket is rather higher, at 9¼ inches rather than 10 inches (bottom of the pocket to the shoulder seam); and the vent is longer, at 10¾ inches.
A last point is the finishing, which includes more handwork than the suits in this series from Richard Anderson or Henry Poole.
The in-breast pockets are cut into the cloth rather than the lining, which takes rather more time but should be stronger. And little points like the piping there are also done, nicely and neatly, by hand.
In terms of overall style, this suit always makes me feel very summery and I picked deliberately bright accessories for it.
The blue-and-white striped cotton/linen shirt (from Luca Avitabile) is worn with a lemon-yellow knitted-wool tie and blue/brown cotton handkerchief (both from Anderson & Sheppard).
The suit looks rather more chic with a simple blue shirt and navy tie. But this feels celebratory.
The socks are green cotton. The shoes are the Chelsea from Edward Green: dark-oak antique on the 82 last.
- Shoulder width: 5⅞ inches
- Shoulder padding: Moderate
- Sleevehead: Slight roping, caused by pad and canvas, no sleehead roll
- Sleeve: Moderate
- Cuff: 10¾ inches
- Lapel: 3⅝ inches, slight belly then straight
- Gorge height: 4 inches
- Drape: Small
- Outbreast pocket height: 9¼ inches
- Buttoning point: 19¼ inches
- Waist suppression: Moderate
- Quarters: Small, straight
- Length: 32¼ inches
- Back seam: Moderate suppression
- Vent height: 10¾ inches
- Trouser width at knee: 20¼ inches
- Trouser width at cuff: 16½ inches
Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man