J Mueser made-to-measure jacket: Review

Wednesday, April 6th 2022
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Jake Mueser made me this made-to-measure jacket over the past six months, entirely remotely. 

We had one hiccough, but the result was still good and I’d recommend it. It is a solid MTM jacket, in an unusual cloth that I think also highlights Jake’s taste and style. 

The hiccough came with the third fitting, when an attempt to deal with splaying vents led to the workshop making the jacket rather too long. 

New fronts had to be cut for it, and the jacket remade. But the end result was good and I have to say I’m really looking forward to wearing it this summer.  

But let’s back up a little. Jake (above left) runs a small shop in New York under his own name, J Mueser. He’s based on Christopher Street down in the West Village, though has also just opened a temporary store in midtown, in Rockefeller Center. 

You may have seen Jake or his colleagues on social media, or around at Pitti, doing a decent job at showing how tailoring can remain both contemporary and stylish. Given the relative lack of good tailoring in New York (beyond the quality default of The Armoury) I was interested to see how effectively Jake was filling this gap. 

The only suit I’d seen up close was one Jake made for my friend Jamie a couple of years ago, and that seemed fairly basic - none of the things like a hand-attached collar that I’d look for in a quality (non-bespoke) suit

It turns out that was an example of Jake’s lowest of three tiers of tailoring - the ‘Campania’, which is offered as ready-to-wear and made-to-order, starting at $1650. The level I’m more interested in is the ‘Waverly’, which begins at $2450. 

Both are made in Italy but the former is a more industrial product, while the latter is cut by hand and made in a smaller workshop. 

Above both of these is a real bespoke product, known in ‘Mayfair’, which is made in New York by a group of local coatmakers. 

I personally dislike ‘bespoke’ being used so prominently on the website, given only one of the offerings is at that level. But the word is used pretty broadly, particularly in the US, and Jake describes the top tier openly as ‘bench made’ which is often the way full bespoke products are referred to in the US.

Jake has also played with using a Neapolitan bespoke tailor, with them cutting and assembling suits that he measures for in New York, which is an interesting model. But that remains the smallest of the offerings. 

At the very least, given this range of tailoring options, I’d say it’s worth making sure you understand which type you are ordering, and engaging with Jake and the team on that point.

The Waverly jacket I had made-to-measure was a nice make: hand-felled lining, handsewn buttonholes, shape to the collar and chest.

It doesn’t have a hand-padded canvas, which is what stops it being the top level of MTM I’ve covered on the site (from Saman Amel and Jean-Manuel Moreau for example), but this is the top tier most will want, and I think what most that can afford it should aim for. 

It’s also worth saying that during the ordering process, it was clear that Jake had a deep understanding of both the dynamics of tailoring and the system he was working with. 

The fear with MTM from a new brand, is that it’s basically a young stylish guy who’s signed up to a basic Munro or similar suit-ordering system, and knows little about figuration or how tailoring measures interact. Jake was clearly not that, and I think that’s also obvious in the final result. 

Style-wise, while everything Jake puts out isn’t necessarily for me, I love the cloth he tracked down for this jacket. He apparently found it in a sale in New York’s garment district, and it looks very much like an old Ralph Lauren Polo one, with its distinctive straw colouring and open weave. 

It’s a style Polo has done for years, but you could never find from the regular mills. (An attraction of MTM from a brand like RL that doesn’t get talked about enough.) Drake’s started doing something similar recently as well. 

However, it’s the loosest and most open version of that cloth I’ve ever seen - you can literally stretch a swatch of it by a couple of inches on the bias. That makes it hellish to tailor, and means the jacket may well grow a bit over time. 

Jake had used it for a few other people already, however, and seemed to know how to control its behaviour. Plus it was a look I was really interested to try, even if it meant the jacket was that much more rumpled and casual.

As mentioned, we conducted the whole process remotely. I took my own measurements, and we did three fittings over Zoom. 

This is not the way Jake normally works. Remote services are usually restricted to a more basic MTM with the Campania line, where a couple of fitting jackets are sent and simple adjustments made. Or video calls are used when a customer can come once to the shop, but not a second time. 

My experience is a bit of an exception therefore, one Jake was happy to make because I was pretty experienced, and because he was familiar with what I had made in the past. 

However, the strong end result reflects even better on him as a result, I think. The custom service is only available if you visit the store, but if he can make this jacket without ever seeing me in person, it should be as good or better if you did visit.

The jackets I received (from New York via Italy, with Jake checking them each time) were pretty basically stitched together, but most of the fundamentals of fit were strong from the start. The first fitting was pretty big and long, but the balance was spot on. 

The only significant issue arose at the second fitting, when making the jacket slimmer caused the vents to gape a lot, pushed out by my ‘prominent rear’ and hollow lower back.

This is a common problem for Neapolitan tailors I’ve used, although I have to say other top-end MTM makes (Saman Amel, The Armoury, JM Moreau) dealt with it without a problem. 

The jacket went back, and at the next fitting was perfect, except the front was now long - just over an inch longer than before. Jake was unsure what caused it, but said the fronts would have to be remade, using new cloth. 

The final jacket was very good, as you see here. So it’s not worth trying to work out what caused that issue, much as I love to play with the 3D twisting and turning of bespoke patterns in my head.

I wouldn’t say the jacket is perfect. The vents could still have a bit more overlap for example. 

But this was a good result, done entirely remotely, in a difficult cloth. In particular, I’d say the latter should be borne in mind when looking at the fit images. The fit is strong even in a tricky material like this - a hard worsted would flow beautifully. 

If anyone has any other questions about the jacket, for example the style or cut, please let me know in the comments. 

A ‘custom’ suit in the Waverly make like this starts at $2450. My jacket cost $1950.

It is pictured in the first outfit with a pink PS Oxford shirt, my vintage Levi’s, and Alden full-strap cordovan loafers

And in the second outfit with the PS Cashmere Rugby, the same jeans and loafers, and a hand-tooled RRL belt. 

Photography: James Holborow 

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Gregoire

Great stuff. Lovely jacket, reasonable price point, interesting cloth. A perfect PS article

Jim

It’s a lovely cloth and I like the more casual look. Indeed I like the majority my tailoring to look that way as I wear it casually most often. I’m sure it will age nicely and become a comfy favorite. Having said that I can’t help but feel that the fit may be a little to fulsome considering the cloth is likely to give a certain amount over time. I would fear that this jacket may become slightly to loose/ large overtime. It doesn’t look like much Tolerance has been built in to allow for this. That is to say it might be as casual as you would wish it to be now. Any further loosening of the cloth may take it to far.
I also note that the front quarters appear relatively straight/ closed for a Neapolitan jacket. Would you agree?

SamS

When I saw the close-up on the fabric, I could have sworn it was the silk tweed RL used for a raglan coat last spring/summer (which I found through PS instagram, and ended up buying – that IG should come with a warning label!) Seems like an outstanding fabric for a casual jacket.

I also think the look with the PS rugby is one of the better “jeans with a tailored jackets” looks I’ve seen, because everything in it is fairly casual but of high quality and good fit. Jackets with jeans look off (in my humble opinion, obviously) when the jacket fabric or cut is too formal, but the pattern and texture of this jacket means it looks fairly natural with denim. No doubt the RL association helps too!

RT

I’m not usually a big fan of the “jacket and jeans” look either, though I think that denim and tweed can often work well together. I tend to prefer the denim as a shirt though, as in this instance, I think that the jeans work well with the jacket. I really like the look of the cloth and although I’m probably less of an RL fan than many PS readers might be, this certainly reminds me of those aspects of RL designs that often appeal most to me.
Simon – a couple of questions. What is the cloth – is it wool or a mix of materials? Is the jacket fully, or partly lined?

Peter Hall

I like this modern upgrade of a classic style. I originally thought it was an unusual colour for a tweed!
Reminds me of a much loved, comfy, slightly lived in armchair-sorry if that’s not the look you were going for. But, it’s a good look

Peter

Really like this cut and fabric. The Waverly offering seems very similar to Anglo Italian’s MTM on a quality/make level Simon, is that fair? But on a style level tending a bit sharper? (In this case of course offset by the casual fabric choice).

Peter

I think you rightly corrected my comment such that it compares AI with the Mueser Waverley offering rather than their lower level Campania one – thank you for inferring my intention!

Leo Oettingen

Just an aside re: NYC tailors/MTM offerings, the scene is definitely growing. Gallo is really superb bespoke.

Alan

Beautiful jacket and great fabric. Could you comment a bit on the style and fabric composition? At first glance it looks more Ivy League than Neapolitan with the closed quarters, shape of the lapels and spacing of the buttons. It works well with the fabric but is not a style you seem to wear that often.

Alan

Perhaps it was the Ralph Lauren reminiscent fabric together with the cut that’s a bit different to the usual Neapolitan style you feature a lot that was giving me an Ivy vibe.

Robert M

Agree on the vents (I have the same problem), but a great jacket nonetheless. Fantastic cloth, too! Is it 100% wool? It looks pretty wintery, but you say you want to wear it in the summer, won’t it be too warm?

Karol

RL-style herringbone tweeds are never a bad choice. I thrifted a dark brown one recently… Not as well fitting as I’d hope, but still good enough

Robin

The jacket has no shape along the sides but boy does it look comfortable to wear !
It comes across as a throw on and forget piece .
Almost Clint Eastwood ‘Dirty Harry’ wardrobe .

Interesting you mention “ basic Munro or similar suit-ordering system”.
There is a lot of that about and I would love to hear your thoughts on it .
In particular where Munro fall short (or should that be offer ‘value for money’).
Considering most readers may not be C able to afford bespoke but MTM is within reach it would be great to be more educated as to what’s out there regarding ‘tailors v suit-ordering services’.

JSB

Simon,
No comment on the fit but on the fabric – quite possibly one the best I’ve seen you wear for a sports jacket with jeans.
Very nice indeed.

Dario

Hi Simon,
I know that we shouldn’t make many conclusions from photos, but the photo of the buttoned jacked from the front, the lapels look very different between them. The left one seems to have some belly while the right one seems straighter… Any comment on that?
I absolutely love the fabric!!

Craig

What a nice fabric. It walks the line between rustic and city very well. It looks pretty stout and heavy, in a good way. I’m surprised it has so much stretch to it. This kind of jacket would fit nicely with your concept of a capsule wardrobe, it seems incredibly versatile.

Lawrence Stuart

Hi Simon
Nice look overall, mainly due to the fabric, but a few observations;
The shoulders, even allowing for your slope, look over-extended to me.
The vents, as you have said, are a poor fit.
The sleeve buttons look set way higher above the cuff then would be expected.
All of the above leave me struggling a little to see the point in spending nearly $2000 on such a coat, particularly with the complexities involved.

Thanks

Noel

Beautiful fabric, it looks similar to tweed even though it’s a summer fabric. Certainly different to other wool/silk/linen mixes we’ve seen here that feel closer to linen.

Jan

Brilliant fabric and lovely jacket (both by the photo looks of them only). Thanks for sharing. Last year I had a jacket made by WW Chan in a salt and pepper herringbone from Marling & Evans which ends up as light grey – slightly more compact as a but still a very nice loose / open weave with some linnen mixed into the wool – and it is a fem favorite!!

Kelvin

Hi Simon,

Saw that you briefly alluded to Munro (assuming this is Atelier Munro). As far as I know you haven’t tried anything by them but based off second-hand experiences from friends/your own browsing of their offerings, what are your thoughts on them?

Scott

Hi Simon,

I’ve been a bespoke client of Jake’s for a few years now. He and his team have made the vast majority of my wardrobe and I couldn’t be happier. Once we worked the minor kinks out from the first commission or two (as would be expected on any level), my pattern has been perfected. I can’t say enough good things about J. Mueser but I will mention that their prices are very reasonable and they are able to finish commissions astonishingly quickly. I would implore you to give Jake’s bespoke service a try. Whether you want try something formal or casual (what he can do with moleskin will change your life), you won’t be disappointed.

Dr Peter

A fine-looking jacket. A couple of comments.
I noticed some wrinkling on the shoulders, at the top where the sleeve joins the body of the jacket, especially in the side views. Was this intentional, perhaps a spalla camicia look favoured by some of the Neapolitans?
Also, regarding the issue with the vents, you mention that it is not fully closed with perfect overlap even after the corrections. Does this portend well for the future, especially with a cloth that stretches as much as this one does? My concern is that the vents might become more open with time, perhaps because the cloth that is at the top of each vent could stretch with regular wear and movement.

Dr Peter

Excellent video on spalla camicia. I now understand the distinction you made in your response to my question much better! Thank you, Simon.

William Kazak

This jacket reminds me of a jacket I found when I thrifted in Indiana. It is Armani Jeans label. Looks very similar and will fit me when worn with a wool sweater. I had the sleeves shortened. There is no rear vent. Mine is a three button front. I saw a picture of Carey Grant in something like it. He raised up his collar and then buttoned it at the neck! He must have had his tailor create the smaller button for that look.

David Bok

The way the jacket contours to your upper back and shoulders is really nice. I quite enjoy my off-the-rack Ring Jackets, but they always have some issues with the space between the neck and upper back. Regarding your Waverly jacket, do you think the elbows could present an issue due to the nature of the cloth? If one tends to bend their elbows frequently due to driving or desk work, could the fabric “remember” the shape, causing it to balloon out?

Lawrence Stuart

Not sure I understand the sockless look. Isn’t that really a fashion thing, and therefore not worthy of PS?

Felix

I think when the weather makes you decide to wear denim and a jacket then heat regulation via your ankles is unlikely to be an issue. I don’t have a problem wearing loafers and shorts, but I think going sockless with long trousers always looks a little studied these days.

Bob

Not impressed. I have now a coat of exact same fabric made to measure. Cost me £450 altogether and it fits much better. I think it’s the first item in your blog I don’t like at all, in many years

Jens

Hi Simon, I also have a very prominent seat and a hollow back which makes rtw jackets non-wearable for me. How exactly does a tailor cope with this anatomic challenge?
I have a made to measure jacket from a Swedish brand which suits me very well to be honest, except on the part between my hollow back and my seat. Is there a way to change that for the better?
Thanks a lot in advance!

Jens

Thank you very much, Simon. I really appreciate your comment. I will go to my alterations tailor and see what he can do.
Have a good start into the new week!

jim

This is the best fitting, soft shoulder easy tapered fitting jacket I’ve seen you in.

Shawn

Please don’t forget Alan Flusser for tailoring in NYC. They offer full bespoke and MTM. Excellent results and bonus is consultation with Alan and/or Jonathan.

Anonym

The jacket looks great. I would have gone a tad larger (width) on the jeans though.

Ben

I managed an RL store in NJ when we got a line of blazers in the kind of fabric featured here. It was just about the perfect fabric for the jeans loving crowd the store catered to, and the outfits here are just the way I’d wear it.
The fit on the commission is not remarkable. The fabric is quite forgiving, and our rtw models hung well on a wide range of customers. They also featured the standard Polo Blue trim cut with open quarters that I prefer.
The RL models also have not lost much shape as far as I can tell. Maybe it’s a concern if you wear it hard.

Gary Mitchell

Loving the shape and look of this jacket, I love the cloth also but concerned that it looks like it could easy ‘catch’ or pull (almost like a knitted cardigan). Other than that small concern its could well be the nicest casual jacket I have seen on PS.

Ajbjasus

Really like the comfy looking jacket, but the jeans are much too distressed for me for this look. They’d be great with a tee shirt and trainers or work boots, but this looks sloppy.

Harry of Monmouth

Simon
The width of sleeve cuff
Looks dreadful

PB

Very Ralph. Very nice. I have an ’83 Brooks Brothers Russian twill tweed that looks and fits similarly, also a little big and bookish. Feels more like outwear, which I like in in-between months.

Kenneth

Good morning……lovely looking jacket..perfect for the fall and winter seasons..everyone enjoy your weekend……peace

Michele

Hey Big S,
I’d like to have my first sport coat made soon, but I’m having trouble committing to a fabric.
I’m thinking of a dark brown hopsack with some linen in the blend, either H&S or Fox. Should I just be a good boy and stick with navy?
It would strictly be for dinner/other evening leisure in spring/summer. I don’t wear tailoring for work and I have a suit in case somebody dies.
Cheers

J Crewless

A big fan of Herringbone. Similar to my vintage Kuppenheimer Tweed. 👍

Jake

I get the vibe that you aren’t that into J. Mueser. Maybe I’m misreading…?
I’m curious how the vibe differs from that at The Armoury…?

Edgar Post

Why not tell your readers you got this jacket for free?

Morgan

Hi Simon,
I was wondering how you’d approach a situation where you are not happy with the final results of a made to measure jacket. I recently had a jacket made at a place where I have had a few items, jackets and trousers, made previously, but this time the jacket was much too tight. I have asked for it to be let out, but I have my doubts that there is enough fabric for this adjustment to be adequate. I was wondering what the protocols are for made to measure if I remain dissatisfied with the fit. At what point can you say that you aren’t paying for the garment?

Morgan

Thank-you, Simon.

Norman Edward Webb

Really like the unstructured cut and hang on this jacket. I bet that cloth is soft, too.
I’m looking for something in that style but a dark grey PoW type check – although not a rigid, traditional PoW. Patch pockets and a slightly narrower notched lapel collar. I probably would have it double-vented – just a smaller central vent.
I’d be a bit anxious about the remote, self-measured approach to fitting.
Any suggestions where I might go in the UK for this type of casual jacket, please?
Many thanks – and a great blog with loads of information, ideas and opinions.
Thanks
NW (Bristol UK)

Norman

Good steer, Simon. First glance – they present some options. I have a very specific “look” in mind – so I might need to talk to them. I saw a jacket very close to what I’m after by Canali but they had discontinued it. Appreciate your quick response. NW