This Anderson & Sheppard jacket is part of a suit I had made over 10 years ago. When I wrote back in January about my ‘favourite clothes ever’, I named it my favourite ever piece of bespoke. 

It is therefore a good candidate for our ‘How great things age’ series, and a good advertisement for bespoke’s long-term value. 

I brought it into A&S to be altered last year, having gone through some changes due to visiting the gym more (some weights, but mostly yoga and pilates), and cutter Danny Hall did a great job. 

He not only let out the side seams, but extended the shoulders, which is not always easy. Fortunately the A&S fit is more accommodating in general to these kind of changes, unlike naturally closer-fitting styles like Solito or Chittleborough & Morgan.

I also had the sleeves lengthened, as getting bigger in the back has the effect of pulling up the sleeves (a particular issue with shirts, given they’re that much harder to lengthen). 

 

 

I mention the alterations because they demonstrate one way in which bespoke tailoring is great at ageing. I’ve always shouted about the virtues of bespoke in this regard, and a decade later I’m living proof. 

But the other reason is to talk about the marks of ageing, which to me make a jacket like this – in a fairly casual material – both more personal (obviously) and more beautiful (perhaps more subjectively). 

You can see the mark on the cord created by lengthening the sleeve in the image below. There are more subtle examples on other parts of the jacket, such as around the side seams. 

I personally think a cord jacket should be thought of in the same way a pair of jeans, or perhaps better, an old pair of chinos. Marks are good, fraying is good. They add personality.

 

 

That’s not the case with finer things. A worsted-wool suit needs to be treated more delicately so the elbows don’t shine prematurely. 

And interestingly, signs of wear seem to look better in a tailored jacket than tailored trousers. Balding elbows can add character, less so balding knees. 

That might be an argument for buying separates rather than suits in these casual materials. It also leads neatly onto the only mistake I made with this commission, which was to use cord that was a mix of cotton and cashmere. 

The material from Scabal is lovely, and I still recommend the bunch; I have my eye on the olive green, 501465. But it’s much better in a jacket than in trousers. As a trouser, the cashmere means it loses shape. 

(I’ll be writing a fuller piece on different cord bunches and how they compare in a couple of weeks, so maybe hold off questions on materials until then.)

 

 

I wouldn’t say the jacket has proven to be that versatile tbough. I love everything else about it – the material, the colour, the style, the cut – and as a result derive great joy from wearing it. But it doesn’t work with that many trousers and looks. 

It’s best with a good tailored cotton trouser in beige, as shown in that ‘favourite clothes ever’ article. It’s also great with grey or green flannels, as pictured, but here there is a risk of it looking a little old-mannish. I find myself wanting to add alternative touches, such as a denim shirt. 

The Anderson & Sheppard cut also places the jacket somewhere between Neapolitan and structured English in terms of smartness. As a result it’s harder to wear with jeans – you need to perhaps wear it open, with the collar up, or in some other way mess around with the tailored lines

Being a double-breasted doesn’t help of course. It adds great style, but detracts from the versatility. That’s why I’ve tried in the past to have single-breasted versions made, at Pirozzi and at William Crabtree

However, I think it’s important to recognise that there can be a downside to versatility. A jacket that goes with everything might not have as much personality of its own. 

It’s not because of its versatility that it’s my favourite bespoke ever – it’s because I love wearing it so much when I do. 

 

 

Finally, I’ve mentioned this before but I think these images are a particularly nice illustration of why the Anderson & Sheppard DB cut is so nice. 

In the image above, look at the line that runs from the fastened waist button, into the rolling lapel, over the top of the draped chest, and finishing in that distinctively tall A&S collar. 

I think it’s so elegant. You don’t get that line and roll with any non-drape tailor, and not with any ready-made suit either. Some aspects of the A&S cut I know people dislike, like the slightly messy back of the sleeve, but I find the appeal of that line and drape to be pretty universal. 

 

 

The suit was cut in June 2012 by John Hitchcock, then head cutter at A&S, in Scabal cotton/cashmere. 

It is shown with:

  • Shirt by Simone Abbarchi in Lighter Everyday Denim
  • Flannel trousers by Whitcomb & Shaftesbury
  • Cashmere scarf by Begg & Co/PS
  • Tassel loafers (Belgravia model) by Edward Green
  • Cashmere PS watch cap
  • Canvas tote bag by Ichizawa Hanpu at Trunk (not currently on offer, but apparently coming back)

Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt

 

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Elio Gianni

This gives me tons of ideas to commission my own cord jacket…

Neil

Great looking piece. It is the centre-piece and so would make any competing items difficult to match. Especially now it has aged.
I have an Ralph Lauren Corduroy from 20 years ago, The material has softened and discoloured, but is incredibly comfortable to wear. It is cotton.
Has the same happened with the cashmere?

Neil

Gary

The beanie, like a baseball cap, is IMHO far too casual to wear with that jacket. A dark brown felt trilby or flat cap would be perfect.

Robert M

I like the beanie in this outfit, a good example of high/low dressing. I do wear a flatcap myself on occasion, but I wouldn’t with a cord jacket – even if this one doesn’t look old fashioned at all, I’d be afraid of making the whole a bit too ‘grandpa’.

Robert M

Oh, and one more thing – I’d definitely wear this jacket with jeans!

Matthew V

Simple a lovely jacket. I am a big fan of corduroy too, having had a off the peg very dark green SB from Kilgour (in the first Carlo era) and then much more recently a MTM SB navy suit from Anglo Italian, which was my first new suit for a number of years, for my 50th. Whenever I have the opportunity to wear it, I immediately remember how great it feels on.

Maybe I need to try A&S too!

Jim Bainbridge

I like how the sleeve lengthening looks, and I wouldn’t have expected to based on my own experience – but with that said, that might be the fact that it’s cord specifically; it fits with the character of the material.

Fred

It’ a lovely jacket. I don’t especially like the AS cut with sbs but really like the dbs. The lapels are so well proportioned. I also love the way the cords makes a db viable as a more casual option. I have a flannel db with a subtle check but it just looks too formal to wear with jeans/ocbd/knitwear.

Somalad

I appreciate this question is not directly pertinent to your article (for which apologies), other than that the thought was prompted by your description of the adjustments to the coat which your changing physique required.

I am relatively broad for my height, 5ft 9in, with a 45 inch chest, very square shoulders, and a 32 inch waist.

I have always followed your advice with tailors, and let them cut their house style on first commission, but very often this leads to a disappointing outcome, because the tailor will cut the coat without seeming to think how the end product will look on me. This can often lead to comically pronounced shoulders, and a boxy look. When this point is raised, tailors seem to be of the view that if a suit is a good technical expression of their house style, that is what counts.

My question then, is which tailors would you recommend as being most flexible in adapting the cut and style to best suit the shape of the wearer?

Petronio

I am sure you cannot wait for the time when suede patches will be needed on elbows. In that case I would go for dark green or bordeaux.

Peter Hall

I realise that it’s difficult to judge colour on a screen, but could you wear that with cream trousers?

Robin

A very odd colour palette BUT that’s exactly how most people dress.
Never getting things to compliment or it being too ‘matchy matchy’.

Alexander

Dear Simon! You talked about things you would have done differently with this jacket, for example widening the lapels: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pDDoEVKoslU&t=272s (starting at around 07:00)
Do you still stand by that? I am just curious because you were not mentioning those „mistakes“ in the current article. Thanks

Stephen

Hi Simon,
Thanks for this significant addition to the: How Great Things Age, series. In particular as it covers alterations, the evidence of which, if anything, adds further to the character of the jacket. Suggesting a unique history and character in a similar way to the repairs seen on some of the King’s clothes when he was the Prince of Wales.
I did notice you mentioned to hold comments on corduroy until a future post, but hope you will indulge me a couple of questions as I plan to shortly purchase a suit (MtO – not bespoke) in corduroy. It’s very much for casual purposes, something akin to a games blazer from Drakes. Almost an artisan work style. Worn with sweaters or OCBDs underneath. My questions are:
1) What thickness of cord would you suggest – towards the thinner (like yours) or the thicker end?
2) I’m struggling with the optimum colour for versatility. I was considering Navy but feel this duplicates my blazers, so what are your thoughts on a very dark brown or a russet sort of mid brown?
Any thoughts appreciated and do please keep up with this series.
All the best.

Georgios

Ill be waiting too Simon since i also consider to invest in a good bespoke cord suit for pretty casual ocasions. The thickness and the color of the material and the material itself, are also a big concern for me and i prioritize the jacket over the trousers since it will mostly be worn alone. The trousers will also play some other roles in my wardrobe but its not so difficult to find a good pair of cords. What makes them unique is the combination that they provide with an otherwise very nice jacket. Would it be a good idea to buy the trousers twice, so that they old out a little bit slower ? And also from your big experience is it worth to buy a blazer suit or would you buy a jacket and combine it with other stuff ?

Peter Smith Wright

Sorry to be a dissenting voice here, but in my view DB and casual don’t mix. DB is a very formal style, and cotton a very casual cloth. Even the patch pockets look out of place to my eye.

Stephen

Ok

CDBP

I am somewhat obsessive in that I feel that generally high quality clothing ONLY starts to really be great after about five years of regular wear.
There is an inverse relation between quality and time ie. cheap things typically look best day 1 and high quality stuff looks great (bar certain fabrics which may be too delicate ) after 10 years. The most extreme “feature” in this regard I think is the fused / glued lapel versus the fully canvassed or hand canvassed lapel.

Shaun

What a lovely looking piece, I’ve never really considered corduroy for a jacket. The colour is perfect and can be used in many combos/scenarios. Thanks for the inspiration.

Stephen

The suit looks great, and I’d love one like that, but I’m just not sure where I could wear it.

Nils

Hi Simon,

I’ts interesting how this rather unusual piece is your favourite (mind you, I quite like it!). I certainly echo your point on versatility, or the lack thereof sometimes being a huge advantage. I have a gold buttoned 8 x 3 DB navy blazer (classic beginners mistake of getting one of your first custom items to be a highly exciting one) and whilst it certainly does not get that much wear since it is highly non-versatile, the times I do get to wear it make it quite satisfying!

Versatility is good for creating capsule wardrobes or fundamentals, but once the bases are covered it’s nice to get some more specific items in place.

Charles

I think this is beautiful. But I “get” it as a jacket more than I do a suit.

R

Hi. I think it might be nice if you commented on the following in future posts in this series:

  1. How often you wear the item.
  2. How you have cared for the item – especially since that will impact how it ages.
Sigurd

Hi Simon,

Nice piece on a jacket that suits you very well. The images speak for themselves in terms of fit.

Your point about marks of ageing and personality as desirable on jeans and corduroy got me thinking about which other materials look good “worn out”.

Recently I bought a VBC flannel Valstarino jacket for fall and I love it. But as I’ve started wearing it I’ve begun to think about how it will wear over time and how delicately I should treat it. In other words, where do you think flannel fits on the spectrum of ageing beautifully?

Fernando

Just curious how much were the alterations?

Ras Minkah

Hello Simon,
Where is the pen sitting nicely in your out breast pocket from? The next time I wear a separate jacket I’m going to put a pen instead of a pocket square there, it looks a lot better than a pocket square to my eye, thank you for yet another style tip.

John

Hi Simon,
You’re absolutely right! This DB is a great piece indeed. In my opinion, it sits at the highest level of formality achievable with such a casual material thanks only to craftsmanship.
To benefit and derive pleasure from wearing it, a trade off in terms of versality is unavoidable. Denim, whether trousers or shirt, is to avoid at all costs.
I also don’t think that worn as a separate, as here, adding a tie would be a good idea. But a neckerchief, either green or dark brown, could work. As to trousers, unfortunately beyond those you already mentioned or shown here, there aren’t much you can do, I’m afraid.
As to shoes, your mink suede Belgravia and mink suede oxfords with minimal brogueing would be those I would add.
Surprisingly enough, it is as though great pieces of tailoring set to their wearers their own bounds!
John

Mathieu

Dear Simon,
you said: I also had the sleeves lengthened, as getting bigger in the back has the effect of pulling up the sleeves (a particular issue with shirts, given they’re that much harder to lengthen). I was wondering is it possible to unshrink a shirt? What are the methods? I bought two OCBDs which were perfect fit when arrived but when i washed them they shrinked a lot so now the sleeve and the length of the shirt is too short. Is there anything i can do?

Anonymous

Trim the beard my good man! You’re looking a little middle-eastern.

Bob

Hi Simon,
I am curious about your thoughts on 1 versus 2 lapel buttonholes on DB coats.

P.A.

Very odd comment

LAStyle Guy

This is an appalling comment. I can see why you went with “anonymous.” I hope with time, common sense and an open heart, you’ll become more accepting of people from cultures other than your own.

Aaron L

Nice update!
How do you think about retiring pieces you love? I look at recent King Charles photos and sometimes think he’d benefit from some completely fresh clothes – to suit his new body shape.
I’m going through a similar process as I approach 40 and my body’s ratios are changing. There are some classic pieces I’ve enjoyed for a decade or so, but now face the process of fundamentally rethinking my wardrobe (cut more than colour or philosophy).
There’s a real cost associated with getting pieces adjusted, and in some cases the investment is unlikely to be justified. Any thoughts?

Emanuel

Honestly, cashmere is best reserved for scarves, sweaters, glove linings and perhaps a very special overcoat. It is not a good idea as part of a blend for jackets and trousers or (egad) for socks. Far too fragile to withstand much normal use.

Your cord jacket is lovely. I personally would not allocate bespoke A&S costs to such an item, but I do hope you get pleasure from it.

Burt

It’s a blend of 92% cotton and only 8% cashmere.

Doug

Would you comment on the practicability of constructing a double-breasted jacket (6-button as per your AS cord) that can button either at the middle or the bottom buttons while preserving a good line and function?

A&S has made two DBs for me–one that was cut to button to the bottom button, and one to the middle. The long line created by buttoning to the bottom creates a very nice long line. There are two downsides, though. First, this does not work so well if one wants to sit down without unbuttoning the jacket. Second, if I button this coat to the middle button, the roll of the lapel will cover the buttoned middle button, and the tension on the lapel will pull down the position of the lapel on the chest on the overlapping right side. The effect is probably accentuated a bit because of the belly in A&S-style lapel.

If I button to the bottom button on the jacket made for buttoning at the middle, the construction is such that one does not get much roll to the bottom button. The belly of the A&S lapel probably requires a construction that limits the roll.

My thinking is I should just go with a jacket made to button at the middle for the more practical ability to keep the jacket buttoned comfortably while sitting down. I’d ask the A&S people the question directly but I’ve not been to London since COVID.

AMS

Polo Ralph Lauren has done this for many years. I presume it’s because most people like at 6/2 but Ralph wears a 6/1.

P.A.

Reading your comment, I immedialty thought of Luca Rubinacci who likes these kinds of jackets a lot, and often presents this feature on Instagram.
As Simon pointed out though, there is a sacrifice on fit, as it tends to be looser and softer, which works with the Italian characteristics and vibe of his outfits.

AMS

Style question: When do you put a buttonhole on each side of a DB peak lapel as we see here, and when do you put it only on the left?

Astemir

Hi, Simon.
Beautiful bespoke piece and very inspiring. Which fabric would you suggest for someone who wants to commission a similar jacket/suit? Would you commission full suit from Scabal bunch?
Perfect caramel/beige color in the corduroy is very hard to find. I’m looking forward to your article about corduroy bunches.

Drew

Simon, that’s an absolutely incredible jacket. I love the creases and the aging on the lapels. I’m actually looking at for a corduroy suit for this winter. It seems like the predominant colors are tan, olive, and green with the occasional brown. Sometimes there are a few unique colors (Drake’s). Which color do you think has the most versatility? (Obviously you’re a bit partial to tan/brown)

Drew

I love that! Thank you!

David

Simon,
I violently agree with you. This is indeed your best piece.
I share your enthusiasm for A&S cord suits but personally always go for their SB.
I currently have two. Both were commissioned over 10 years ago and have aged magnificently. I’ve never had them dry cleaned – only sponged and pressed.
One is in powder blue and transcends day and night but is difficult / impossible the jacket separately.
The other is the same colour as yours but is in a heavy whale cord. It is perhaps too casual for Mayfair but works fabulously in any casual environment.
I would definitely recommend A&S over the Italians when it comes to cord tailoring.

Ret

I have a very good quality old cord jacket where the collar has worn away. What would you use to reinforce it? I know about the suede or leather trims that you often see on tweed coats but wondered what else could be used?

Ret

Thanks Simon. In theory one would think it would look pleasantly worn in, but in reality the collar ends up feeling thin. Just had a thought: it might be better to replace the under collar with a thicker melton and leave it as that?

Burt

Interesting read, thank you Simon
I’ve got a jacket in the same fabric by Scabal in burgundy, made up by C&M. For me, the fading of the colour has been more of a concern, as I’m very often outdoors for my work. The matching waistcoat (which was Joe’s suggestion) is a tad darker now. Bus as I read here, that just adds to the character 🙂

David

Simon, since the title refers to the suit, how did the trousers age? How often do you wear garments as a suit?

JH

I find these tan/tobacco/butterscotch browns are wonderful to look at but (from bitter experience) tricky to wear. The cast of various shades makes a real difference to wearability too – whether there’s an orange or olive or yellow or grey undertone, if that’s the right term.

I’d happily read an article on how to make these paler browns work in more situations, especially as a casual jacket. I always assume they’ll work with blue denim in the summer, for instance, yet it risks looking a bit ‘Once upon in Hollywood’ …

H

Good morning, Simon

I’m in the middle of sewing a new Jacket similar to the Forestière. The mockup is almost finished. A small change to the shoulder and it will be exactly what I want.

I’d like to buy corduroy now. I know you’ll write about corduroy in a few weeks. But I’d like to start sewing now. I was thinking about Brisbane Moss 3124 which is 355 gram / m2. Is it a good choice? Or too heavy?

H

What would you suggest if I’d like to wear it in autumn and spring? It would be lined too.

Josh

It’s a magnificent jacket.

I find it refreshing and somewhat surprising to hear you speak of the character of heavily worn (and visibly altered) jackets. Surprising because the general wisdom seemed to me to be that tailoring should be kept as sharp and as pristine as possible. Your interview with Peter Zottolo stands out in my mind in support of this axiom, where he argued that we would be better off thrashing casual clothing and taking excellent care of our tailoring.

I would like to ask you which jacketing fabrics improve with or can stand to bare wear, tear and an evolving personal patina? Is such character limited to corduroy and other highly textured casual fabrics? Or does it broadly follow your usual demarcation of formal and informal materials? Which of your jackets would fall into the category of improving with visible signs of age?

I ask because I have a relatively new khaki/beige cotton DB, similar to but paler than your Caraceni vintage cotton jacket, in which my enjoyment of wear is presently undermined by a constant fear of dirt and stains!

Alvin

Hi Simon

i had a jacket made by solito which fit really badly in a number of places. he then slimmed it in the waist at a subsequent visit to London, but to too great a degree- the button now puckers and pulls the chest open a little when fastened.

my question is whether it’s possible to take the jacket to pinna or another alterations tailor to have this waist let out a tiny bit – or have the buttons moved to let the jacket sit properly. How can I tell??

alvin

thanks simon, what does the inlay look like? is it the vertical strip?