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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

Sitedege-skinner.co.uk

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.

 

 

Style breakdown

  • 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

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Jack

Beautiful suit, can imagine it on a warm summer night in Italy! Would love to see it with a light blue linen shirt, maybe awning stripe. I wore my pair of those exact Chelseas today and they are the perfect understated shoe

Jack

Aha perfect Thankyou, nice to see the alternatives. I’m motivated to get something in tobacco or caramel coloured linen when summer comes around in the Southern Hemisphere!

Omar Asif

Hi Simon
I notice that you chose dark (ish) brown shoes when wearing a black tie – do you think that this shoe and tie combination could work with a mid to light grey suit or would that suit need black shoes?

Michael Ryan

Nice. It’s seems remarkably flexible for such a striking colour.

Morten

Beautiful suit and nice to read one of these break downs again. It’s very interesting to see how much background and lighting affects how we perceive the colour and elegance of this suit. In the sterile white studio the suit looks a bit awkward and mustardy, while the photos from Italy shows it in its right habitat. The suit really looks darker and crisper under the intensity of the Italian sun. You’ve put it very elegantly in the linked article:

“But high-contrast outfits such as this are a good example of its importance. And just as much, of light.

The outfit I am wearing here – the same as those Italian aristos, with tobacco linen, white shirt and black tie – would be too strong in contrast for me until I have a tan in the summer (I tan quite easily).

And it would be too strong on any but the highest of high-summer days in England. The sun is simply not bright enough. ”

Peter Turpeinen

Very nice

Matrix.RX1

I had this exact same fabric made up in a suit, it appears btw. much darker in real life (imho) and I can say that by far it is the suit that attracts most compliments from women, despite me being 40 and post-pandemic suits being well, sadly, less used.

Peter Hall

Beautiful suit. I think it demonstrates how to take British tailoring and slightly soften it-an approach,me included, find very modern. I really like how the cut draws you and helps frame the face. Have you worn it without a tie,Simon, or do you regard it as too smart?

Peter Hall

Fantastic. I’m just organising a trip to London to purchase shirts from Emma Willis. I doubt if I will ever wear them with a tie. …Our modern office life.

Peter Hall

Thank you.
I only have her brushed cotton shirts-which I like very much, but can see how the standard collar works best with a tie. My office is semi formal, so the style of the brushed cotton will be ok.
https://www.emmawillis.com/collections/brushed-cotton-shirts

zo

Simon, can you suggest the italian MTMs makers? I know LA, the ones you use for your own brand shirts, is one. Any other?

Paul

I have to say that for once I disagree entirely!

I have a number of Emma Willis shirts – both poplin and oxford and they are all excellent worn open without a tie.

Granted, the poplins might be considered a little formal for that, but the collars do stay open beautifully, if not as perfectly as the oxfords.

But I appreciate that it all depends on the shape of your body, length and thickness of your neck and so on.

In case it is helpful to others I have broad shoulders, a fairly normal length neck and wear the slim fits.

Paul

Whether it’s to your standards or not is another matter entirely, Simon, but they work for me!

Alexander

Are the patch pockets and the height of the trouser cuffs also unusual for an English suit?

Paul

I like the suit.The only question I would pose is the width of the trousers at the knee.It does’nt show in the photos but a 20 1/4″ knee seems quite wide.Personally,I would have asked for 18″ here ..although perhaps you would disagree,Simon.I just feel that a slimmer trouser leg looks more youthful and stylish.

Robin

That’s a beautiful suit.
Tobacco and Denim are two colours introduced to me by PS.

On the specifics of the jacket don’t you find that patch pockets draw the attention to the waist and can make the hips appear very wide ?
On a jacket to be worn as a separate would you consider jetted or flapped pockets or would that make the jacket appear more like a suit jacket ?

Burt

Interesting article, thank you 🙂
How would this suit compare to that other British one, the dark olive by Gieves & Hawkes? Thinking of comfort, occasions etc.

Also, just wondering how forgiving linen is re: dirt & spots compared to wool?

Burt

Thanks, Simon. My tailor originally advised against pure linen because of that and the fact that wool or a blend is just more robust & versatile, but then a darker colour linen might be an option for a 3rd or 4th summer jacket.

Gary Mitchell

Its the truth of English tailoring, I wear a lot of Italian suits but always, always, feel so much smarter when I button up an English suit. I get the point that the Italians let a little informality into their suits which is great for feeling relaxed and almost casual… but nothing feels as smart as an English suit and even here in Africa, its always my English suits that get the compliments.

Adam

Pictures 1 and 2 are really just begging for a caption contest (winner gets a free copy of your book?)

Peter Hall

Picture 2.

Can I just ask a question about cream shirting?

Adam

Picture 2 looks like you are hosting the first in person event of the After Times and everyone showed up wearing short sleeved shirts, ties, cargo pants, black dress shoes and white socks.

if you think I'm sexy

Picture1: hello boys

Sartorial

I wonder if there is a country where people are better dressed?

Omar Asif

hi Simon
any reason why you went for patch pockets on a structured suit instead of traditional flap pockets?

MLS

Interesting color suit. Handkerchief is nice touch.
The cuffs look extra wide.

Sebastian

How does this suit compare in comfort to your other less structured suits?

Dege have a tailor who moonlights, is there any disadvantage going directly to him and paying about half the amount?

Jan

Very nice. Although I cannot quite get my head around the combination of a super casual colour and material in a very smart cut. The contrast between the first two and the latter is a bit difficult for me. A more relaxed and unstructured suit (say from Napels) in a more formal colour and cloth ends up at roughly the same level of formality I guess but is certainly easier to understand and appreciate and use in daily life for me. The hight of the breast pocket is also interesting by the way. Looks like it was never intended for a hank because it would almost stick out against the collar bone?

Anyway, thanks for so selflessly (;)) experimenting and analysing for all of us.

robert

Simon-

Few outfits in the clothing pantheon more elegant than a linen suit.

I go back and forth with my tailor on breast pocket height frequently requesting he raise it closer to the shoulder seam. His standard places it too low on my chest for my height. Another benefit of bespoke.

Nico

Great to have one of these again Simon, thanks. Nothing would please me more than to see such sharp cuts come back in force.

Alison Cloonan

I have to say you pay for excellent quality such as this Savile Row suit. A superb cut and fit, suitable to wear for any occasion. Also full of elegance and style. A perfect summer suit lightweight and breathable. Does it crease easily?
Great post!