Brioni bespoke jacket and trousers: Review

Wednesday, October 13th 2021
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This Brioni jacket was made for me under their bespoke programme, using the London store on Bruton Street. We also made a pair of cotton trousers, which I cover lower down, and a shirt. 

In our previous article, I made the case for Brioni as a bespoke option for those that like the experience of a luxury brand, and the easier access of having a network of stores.

With bespoke starting at £5,360 (inc. VAT) Brioni is around the same price as the biggest-name tailors, whether in London, Paris or Milan. The quality of the make was also, from what I could see, very good. 

The only missing piece of the puzzle was fit. 

Fortunately, this has also turned out well. There are a couple of small areas that could be improved on the jacket, but overall the fit is at least average among the top bespoke houses, and you’d hope would be improved over time in the same way. 

I wasn’t that confident at the start, though, for two reasons. 

First, the system of taking measurements and aspects of the body shape was quite programmatic, working from amending house blocks. Often this is a warning sign that what you’re going to get is closer to made-to-measure than bespoke. 

However, it’s only a rule of thumb, because what really matters is how much, how often and how finely the tailor is willing to alter those pre-existing ideas of fit. 

Having an individual paper pattern, drawn from scratch, suggests there will be more of this. But there’s no reason you can’t do that from a block as well. 

The second thing that worried me was that under this Brioni system, the first fitting would be in a spare piece of material, and largely in a Brioni-style jacket - not the style I would necessarily want in the end. 

This can be useful for the tailor to get the ideas of balance and proportion right, before moving onto style. But it does mean the customer has fewer opportunities to see their desired style and perfect it. 

At the first fitting many of the fundamentals were good, such as the front-back balance and my sloping shoulders. 

But we did make large changes to the style, lowering the buttoning point almost two inches (to 18.5 inches from the shoulder seam), adding an inch in length, and widening the shoulders, as well as making the waist and back larger. 

At the second fitting (there were four in total) Brioni’s approach seemed to work, with the jacket now in its correct cloth, fitting well and in a style I preferred. Tailors might well question this step-by-step system, but if it works for Brioni to coordinate between the store and the Italian workshop, the only thing lost is one extra look at the style. 

The cloth I picked for the jacket, by the way, was a wool/silk/linen in a pale beige. It was intended as a replacement for this jacket which, despite Elia's best attempts, I have simply outgrown. (There’s a whole separate article there, on the longevity of tailoring and changing body shapes.)

Brioni do have a lot of cloths to select from, but they tend towards the more silky and luxurious, the Super 180 wools and the superfine cottons. So a lot of them I wouldn’t go for. 

I still found something I loved, but a service like MTM at Ralph Lauren Purple Label would have more cloths that would appeal to me, as well as perhaps a greater range overall - both luxurious worsteds and hairy tweeds (and nearly all proprietary). 

The trouser material was a silky-feeling cotton, in a lovely cream. And the shirt they made by default was also in a luxurious twill. But both were superfine cottons, which feel lovely but do crease quickly. 

It’s also fair to say that Brioni charge a greater uplift for luxurious fabrics than most tailoring houses. Although there is a good range available at that starting price of £5,360, the cloth I picked meant the jacket would have cost £4860 and the trousers £1640 - a total of £6500. 

The trousers fit very well from the start. In my notes on the first fitting it says: “Trousers good - nice fit, nice balance, overall impressed. Widened leg slightly, took in waist a touch, but that's all.” 

These corrections were made precisely at the second fitting, and from then on there was just some umming and erring over length. 

The jacket was a little trickier to fit, because the first fitting had been so much tighter than I would normally want. But by the third fitting, there were only minor things to correct, like a little wrinkling on the front from the way my shoulders are rounded forward. 

The final result, as is shown in the images below, was solid. Perfectly balanced on the front and under the arms; following the contours of my back nicely from nape to seat; sleeve pitched cleanly despite being a relatively slim cut. 

All this was more impressive given it’s such a lightweight cloth, and unlined.

I wouldn’t normally have a summer jacket completely unlined, but it’s the style Brioni usually do, and it gave them an opportunity to show off their internal finishing. 

That combination of being unlined and using a lightweight material meant that the back was not as clean as a heavier, lined jacket would be. But still, I think there was a small issue with the slope of the shoulders on the back of the jacket. 

This is never perfectly clean, as otherwise you wouldn’t be able to move, but it looks to me as if the back could do with being picked up on either side, to make it less messy behind the armhole. 

There is also, perhaps, a little wrinkling still on the front of my shoulders where they round forward. This is very slight, and I think actually exaggerated a touch by the shadows of the photography, but it’s something else that could be improved in any subsequent commissions. 

Overall, though, I should emphasise that this is a solid bespoke fit - better than pretty much any MTM I’ve had, and better than a good number of bespoke tailors too. 

The finishing on the jacket was also superb - better than most Italian tailors. Only the top-end names like Ferdinando Caraceni are comparable. 

The pick stitches around the edges are exactly what such details should be: clearly handmade, but small enough that most people wouldn’t notice them. 

The binding on the inside seams is delicate and precise. The buttonholes are finely done, and it’s always a nice touch when the top buttonhole is sewn twice - on the inside and the outside (see below).

This is done because, unlike the other buttonholes, the top one might be seen on both sides as the lapel rolls open at that point. 

The trousers also have attractive finishing touches, like the extra strip used on the side pockets. This adds strength, but also looks nice and clean. 

Interestingly, a reader commented on our first Brioni post that they would expect the Roman house to offer very padded, square-shouldered suits. 

This is a cut that has been associated with them in the past, and you still see on some ready-to-wear. But actually the summer suits and jackets I was looking at were all softly made, with minimal shoulder padding and inset shoulders. 

There is a range of makes, all with names that you can ask about and use for reference. Mine was the ‘Plume’, which I picked because it was the lightest style that still had a full construction in the chest. 

Brioni also does styles with nothing at all in the chest or shoulder, and they can do the same inset shoulder as I had, but with the ‘shirring’ or ripples associated with Neapolitan tailoring. 

So - again, as another reader asked - they really are a good option for a range of Italian cuts, from the stronger shoulder I’d associate with the Milanese, to the very light and soft Neapolitan. 

The first article on Brioni contained a mistake about hand padding of the ready-made jackets. A reader questioned this (thank you) and when I talked to head office, it turned out I had been misinformed. 

That original article has now been amended, and if you have any questions on this aspect of the RTW, I recommend reading that. It also means that those jackets, while still very well made, aren’t as unusual or great value. 

However, this whole process was about covering the bespoke at Brioni, rather than RTW.

It was meant to establish whether what they offered was proper bespoke, and whether it was executed well. 

On those points I can confirm that it is, and it was. There were some small fit issues, as described, but this was still strong bespoke and I think should be considered by anyone that likes the luxury experience of a big brand. 

My only caveats would be house style - it helps a lot if you like the natural style of the brand or tailor - and the rising price for different cloths.

I haven't covered the shirt in detail, because it wasn't the focus and because there wasn't room. But I can at a later stage if readers are interested. 

Note that there is a surcharge for the full bespoke fitting and hand-padding I had, of £300. This is referred to internally as the ‘LM1’ service, and is included in the price quoted above. 

Other clothes shown:

  • Green knit: Linen, made to order, from Dalmo
  • Brown oxfords: Yohei Fukuda
  • Brown loafers: Edward Green Belgravia in mink suede
  • Belt: Brown suede from Rubato
  • Grey trousers: Crispaire, made by The Disguisery
  • Pocket square: Cream cashmere from Anderson & Sheppard
  • Watch with brown strap: Cartier 'Chronoflex' Tank Francaise
  • Watch with black strap: Jaeger Le-Coultre Reverso

Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt

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Oggi

Like the jacket,goes really well with your grey trousers.The cotton pants are fine but I’m not a big fan of trousers that wrinkle easily.That said,they do look nice though.

Julian

Excellent post as usual, Simon! Brioni was one of the earliest sartorial brands I knew when I was first acquiring the taste for dressing well, so it is good to know how and what they are now.

I was struck by your reference to your old Caliendo jacket from ca. 2012. Is it a case of your having outgrown it physically? I thought that one of the advantages of bespoke are the generous inlays which allow for alterations over the years. What’s the story there? When do you actually give up on a suit or a sportscoat?

Jonny

Hi Simon – Really interesting read. Would widening the leg on the cotton trousers after the first fitting not have resulted in marks/holes in the fabric? It’s always been a concern of mine when going for MTM trousers and has kept me away from cotton as a result. Also, would corduroy hide these marks better if a seam were to be let out because of the more textured feel?

David

I did have this issue with a pair of bespoke W Bill twill cotton trousers. The marks are obvious to me when I’m hanging the trousers but when being worn I highly doubt someone else would even notice let alone care. Otherwise it makes a good trouser fabric, fairly crease resistant and durable with an attractive look.

Ryotaro

Hi Simon, great read as always. A question on the second-to-last photo: do you have a preferred configuration for sleeve buttons, ie 3 or 4 buttons, kissing or stacked? I went back to the Guide to Suit Style entry on buttons, and in the comment section you said you might do a post on the subject, but it’s been a while since then…
I ask because I’m looking to lengthen the sleeves on a flannel sport coat and am considering adding a fourth button (kissing) to fill the space. Would this suit some styles more than others?

Ryotaro

Nice, thanks Simon.

Feurich

I notice a lot of overlap at the buttoning point that I am not sure I like. It is a nice jacket but it doesn’t establish its own style. I think that for less than half the price you could get something very similar in Naples, minus such extensive handwork. I would have been pleased to see Roman shoulders etc. but this style does not seem to exist anymore and its a shame since variety is always interesting.

Robin

Great photos showing the combination of colours.

Would be interested to learn, from you , more about ‘blocks’ that your articles often refer to.
It would certainly give a better appreciation of MTM and the technical details involved.

Ant

Really like this, Simon. Particularly the colour palette and overall balance.
You’re best placed to critique fit, of course, but it looks great.
I certainly am now more inclined to pop into their Bicester store for a mooch around, although I appreciate it will likely be odd bits and pieces.
And finally – if there was ever a need for inspiration for an alternative colour in the Dartmoor, the olive (ish) of whatever it is you are wearing with the cream trousers above makes the case perfectly. I’m wearing my cream one today actually, but certainly would love a green, or brown.

zo

Last I checked the Brioni Bicester store was just full of slim stretchy pants and polyester polo tops.

Chancellor

Great review as always.
I’d be interested in a review of the shirt. As well, I don’t believe you’ve ever reviewed your bespoke Marol shirt—I’d like to see that review as well. Thanks!

Matt H

Have you outgrown many of your older tailoring?
Personally I prefer the Caliendo jacket (partly because of the herringbone pattern) but this is very nice. I think I would appreciate the cloth choices that Brioni have to offer.

Rupesh Bhindi

Hi Simon,

Jacket looks beautiful and works well with the grey trousers. Is fabric from Brioni’s exclusive range or a particular mill like Loro Piana?

RTK

How long did it take from start to finish to complete the commission?

Philip

Hi Simon, would you say that CdL and Cifonelli have offered a clearly superior fit, in your personal experience?

Albert

I was curious to see this result and pleased it is quite successful. As you remarked, the convenience and professionalism is appealing for those frustrated by visiting tailors! I’ll give the bespoke service in NY a try if I can find a cloth I like. How long did the process take, from the first meeting?

Albert

Thanks Simon.

David

Very interested in a piece on changing body shape and longevity of commissions as you mention. Would be interested to hear if there are any specific considerations you have made with specific items that has increased their longevity from a fit perspective.

David Toser

If a client has had a thorough discussion with a tailor and the measurements have been taken by the person drafting the jacket and/or trousers (presumably the tailor) – four fittings are absurd. Three should do it and in many cases two if the client and tailor have worked together previously.
There is no small amount of pretension in deciding more is better. I have attended many fittings of celebrity talents with top tailors and these are my observations over 20+ years.

Ben

Nice, detailed coverage. Thanks for clarifying the pad stitching situation.

The fit is nice and conservative. No big issues, but no particularly flattering lines either. The sumptuousness of the fabric does a lot of work in these shots.

How was the general tailoring experience? You made the point in the first post that some of Brioni’s price is justified by its reliable communications and seamless, pleasant experience. Has that borne out?

Kwan

Hi Simon, I have a question regarding the alteration of sleeve length. Do you alter the sleeves of jackets from the cuffs or shoulders? Regardless of the length they need to be cut and the price what do you think would be the best? Thank you!

Mark Purcell

Imagine a cone, larger circumference at the top coming down to a smaller circumference, this is a sleeve. The measurement of that larger circumference is the size required plus fullness to go into the respective armhole. Move down the cone, shortening the sleeve length, and you’re reducing the circumference measurement, hence, reducing the fullness allowance. This produces a “dry” looking sleeve, lacking fullness and probably showing a shortness of crown. A job never to be done by anyone other than a tailor who makes the full job in the first place.
On mtom, stick to sham buttonholes and if you’re that particular find a good tailor that can hand sew your cuff holes at a lesser cost and hassle of shortening from the crown.
Oh, and what happens to a check jacket with long sleeves?

Thomas

Simon, first photo of you about to walk into the Brioni store is great, very nice color combinations and overall a “cool” look. For decades I have always thought that Brioni was perhaps a bit “flash” but your article certainly resets that opinion and I wish them the best after many years where their ads and marketing campaigns seem to really stray from their heritage. Enjoy the clothes.

Gianluca Leopardi

Brioni should be a reference for most tailors for creating a luxury experience from the moment you walk into the store ( Bruton Street interior design being my favorite). Though the price tag is hard to swallow, the work on the Jackets is really refined and well executed, but the trousers do lack a bit. Having a pair of trousers that cost £1640 with machine made buttonholes and straight machine sewing on the pockets seems a bit off. Needless to say a great commission Simon!

Tim

Very nice Artikel. I would have appreciated an article that covers a matching jacket and trousers from a 160s+ wool more though, since this is the material a ps reader would most likely choose when going bespoke with brioni (at least in the dream of doing so).

CDBP

Nothing wrong here. All clean and high quality and modern.
Just seems pretty wildly over priced.
Fit matters. Finish matters.
However, I think “purchasing optionality” matters too. I feel you could get something very close to what is in the article for a great deal less money.
However, if you want, as an example, a cream flannel double breasted suit of high quality, you need to go to a top tailor. You won’t find anything like it elsewhere.

Carl

Great article. It seems that Brioni is still in the game. This article got me to think about an article that I read some years ago in Parisian Gentleman. It seems that Hugo has a more negativt view of Brioni. (To be honest. I trust you Simon 1000 times more than I trust the recommendations from Hugo). https://www.parisiangentleman.com/blog/wake-up-brioni

Lawrence

That article is from 2016. I myself was trying to figure out if maybe then going to Simon was sign of course correction. All brands have become more casual, but the website is not as Vulgar today as those images.

Robert

Hi Simon,
I can agree that your commission were made very well and fit very well too. However, if you don’t like their house / signature style (and having to largely alter them to your own taste), what’s the point of making it with them? Kind of goes against your own previous advise to seek the tailor who’s style you appreciate.

Robert

Thanks Simon. Certainly do appreciate your coverage on a variety of makers and styles. Looking at the number of responses, there indeed seems to be a lot of interest/curiosity in Brioni.

Sigurd R

Dear Simon,
lots of praise but to my eyes the back of the jacket looks bad. Look at those wrinkles in this photocomment image
Also, why are there an inward bump on the left upper arm just below the shoulder seam? Not nice.
Thirdly, and this may be a style thing or a photo angle distorsion, is why the back of the jacket is shorter than the front?
4th, is why the jacket´s arm cuffs are not parallel to the shirt cuffs herecomment image
?

Sigurd R

Thank you for your reply.

Kind regards,
Sigurd R.

Tatyana

Hey Simon
A small remark re the front vs back length. It has to be level if you are getting a bespoke garment made. You have slightly prominent shoulder blades and a curve at the top the back that pull the cloth at the back upwards. If the prominent shoulder blades are properly accounted for in the pattern, the skirt of the jacket front and back will be levelled.

Warm Regards,
Tatyana

B.

Why not post a pictures of the baste or forward fittings like you do for all the other bespoke tailors?

John

Hi Simon,
We just have to confess that this jacket – and the overall outfit – is really chic!
John

John

By the way, two trendy items that make people behave like ships: the white or off-white trousers and socks. And above all the socks being worn with casual and even smart trousers whose colors are not near white!
Frankly, I’ve come to prefer those who go sockless, as this trend impoverish our sense of style. Why this irrational focus whereas so many colors are available? One just need to take a look at the current assortment offered by Mes Chaussettes Rouges to know that the choices seem limitless.
John

Duncan Roberts

Do you not specify things such as the size and position of pockets, you seem to be content with whatever the tailor offers as his standard.

Duncan Roberts

I can understand that Simon but wih a bespoke garment surely such a test can be justified if it is not essential.

Certainly something I insist upo.n

John weeks

The coat is short in back balance, needs to be passed up through middle an inch, nothing to do with shoulder height ie slope, I would not have let that go from my workshop

John weeks

Simon it’s quite obvious it’s short in the back,it isn’t meant to be a critical comment ,it’s just from a fitting comment, I’m sure the make is great but fitting is a different aspect, many tailors are great cutters but when it comes to fitting they are lost at sea, this is an observation not meant as personal, if read as such my apologies

John weeks

Not to make an argument but it’s painfully obvious it’s short in the back from all the photos, I understand the problems with fitting as I have many body builders as customers they are very difficult to fit to say the least, but observing your body figure it’s obvious that your inclination is more than the usual proportion and therefore you need back length, it isn’t an argument but after 3 fittings it should be bordering on a perfect fit, I’m lucky on occasions to be able to ask the customer to arrange a second fitting, just to add I can’t fathom out how you would find the matter funny after paying such an exspence

John weeks

Simon I admire your unshakeable view of the coat but fitting is fittinng and any good tailor/ coat maker would not have let the coat to be left the workshop, please excuse if I sound direct but it annoys me in today’s standard of so called fitting, your figuration demands back length, please forgive me for being direct, it isn’t meant in a personal fashion just my annoyance at today’s standards

Patrick

I think you would be a very difficult fit for a tailor as judging from the photos you have a slight increased dorsal kyphosis and the consequent rounded shoulders that are also very sloped, with a fairly wide base of neck. That said, the tailors have seriously failed, especially in the second frontal view photo which shows major wrinkling behind the lapel, and the same problem at the back which you comment on. Perhpas the style does not go with your physique?