Who are my favourite tailors? (Part one)

Monday, January 16th 2023
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This is the single question I get asked most, and when it is, I nearly always reply that it’s a complex area that really requires a full in-depth article. 

I think it actually takes two. 

In this first article, today, I'll explain my personal priorities. This is crucial. Without it the follow-up article is misleading, perhaps even meaningless. It’s why it’s so hard when someone wants a one-line answer. 

The tailor you prefer doesn’t just depend on where you live, or how much money you have. It also heavily depends on your style and lifestyle, how much you care about things like finishing, and even on your personality. 

A second article, on Wednesday, will list my small number of favourite tailors, and explain why they fit these personal, subjective criteria. 

Please forgive the set-up, I think it’s the only way to do this in a way that befits Permanent Style and its years of coverage of bespoke tailoring.  

1. Use as few tailors as possible 

I have used a huge number of tailors over the years, but mostly to present a full range to readers, in many parts of the world, with different preferences. Were this not my job, I would use far fewer - likely 3-5, with the number being driven by a need for different cuts and styles. 

This is because, firstly, it usually takes a suit or two for the tailor to completely nail your pattern and preferences. And secondly…

2. Relationship is key

This is something I’ve come to realise, rather too slowly, over time. If you don’t have a good relationship with the tailor - open, honest, mutually sympathetic - you’re never going to bring up the things that bother you, and if you did they won’t understand. 

This is a major reason why any list of favourites is subjective. The tailor has to be someone you get on with, which is dependent on your character as much as theirs. It also depends on culture and shared language. 

3. Location matters

Another factor I’ve only realised slowly. Perhaps these points are coming to me first because they seem to get the least attention.

When you have more tailoring, you’re more likely to have old tailoring you want adjusted, or repaired, or simply looked after. This is much, much easier if the tailor is local, and if not then at least a frequent visitor. It’s a significant part of the pleasure of bespoke: visiting someone you like, at your convenience, to get your clothes cared for and consider new ones.

4. Prestigious location does not

If you want the full Savile Row experience, it’s worth paying extra to visit Huntsman, Henry Poole or Anderson & Sheppard. There is such amazing history, and they are beautiful places to be. But once you’re on your third or fourth commission, relationship will matter more. And in the long term, the product itself of course matters most of all. 

So I’m perfectly happy walking up several flights of stairs to visit a tailor round the corner, and indeed happy if the work isn’t done anywhere close to Mayfair either, as long as the service is the same. 

5. Style really matters

If I could, I would never commission something from a tailor without seeing a finished example first. It’s happened too often that I’ve had a coat made, for example, and disliked the shape of the collar or the lapel. You can’t always see clearly at the final fitting, and even if you could, it’s not the same as walking around in it, trying it out in person, flipping the collar. 

Coats and DBs are the biggest issue, but I feel the same about cloth increasingly too. Compared to ready-made clothing, tailors’ biggest problem is style - few of them are stylish, few of them even think it’s important. In my experience it’s what puts off most men becoming long-term customers of bespoke. 

6. Professionalism

Delivering what you said you would, when you would. Consistency of cut and fit. Reliability in the long term: being there to build that relationship. 

Customers should often be a little more understanding when small tailors don't answer an email for a couple of days. They are tiny operations: if you want a dedicated customer service team, go to a bigger tailor and pay more. But there is a minimum level that makes bespoke worth it, and some tailors fall short. 

7. Cut is the reason to have more than one tailor

As mentioned, were I starting again I would largely use multiple tailors for different styles. It’s nice to have both a smarter English option - for me, a drape cutter - and a more casual one that suits jeans and chinos - probably Neapolitan. 

Then I’d add ones that are different again, but perhaps more niche, such as Michael Browne or Edward Sexton. For a special piece like a dinner jacket, or because you simply loved a particular design (a Liverano ulster, for example).

8. Hand work matters less, to me

When I first started buying bespoke tailoring, I was fascinated by Milanese buttonholes, lapped seams and pick stitching. Partly because they were just things that caught the attention, and partly because they were exquisite pieces of craft. 

I care much less about them these days. Some Neapolitan tailors are probably still too rough and ragged, but I’d actually rather have a neat hand-sewn buttonhole than a Milanese one - and I don’t care much whether the lining is hand sewn to the facing or not. Certainly, aspects of the cut such as shoulder expression or lapel shape are far more important. 

9. Comfort matters more, to me

These last few criteria are more personal, and probably need less explanation. 

For several years I’ve preferred tailoring that is more roomy - where that flattering ‘V’ shape is created by adding a little to the shoulders and chest, rather than taking it away from the waist. The proportions are the same, but the former is much more comfortable. 

10. What you think is flattering, can be personal

I’m tall and slim, but without a particularly big chest or shoulders. The tailoring that looks best on me usually adds to those latter two things, with drape, an extended shoulder or a wider lapel. I also think having even more sloping shoulders is a price worth paying for extra width. 

This is the biggest reason I’d discount tailors that cut a close chest, a narrow shoulder or a roped shoulder (the same effect as narrowing). I’m fully aware that this is related to fashion, as is number 7 above. But if everything is in moderation, that risk is reduced.

I hope that all made sense. If not, please ask any and all questions below. Part two, the list of the actual tailors, will be published on Wednesday.

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Nils

That’s one hell of an overcoat by Michael Browne!
I think excessive focus on handwork finishing is indeed overrated, though it still irks me the wrong way when an inner pocket is cut directly into the lining rather than having fabric around it.
As you say, relationship and style are key, with proximity being a big plus as well.

Dario

Is it because of aesthetic or practical reasons? I have jackets with both pockets cut into the lining, and cut into the fabric, which I consistently use to store phone on one side and wallet on the other, and I don’t see that one type of pocket holds better than the other.

Nils

Dario, maybe someone with more technical knowledge can chime in, but as far as I understand it it’s better to have some fabric around the pocket and not cut it into the lining. It makes the pocket sturdier (lining fabric isn’t particularly strong) and easier to repair. It does require some hand finishing however, which is why it is often omitted.

Lindsay McKee

I choose the drape cut for roominess and a comfortable fit. That is my priority.
I will be having my forward fitting now on the 31st January with Steed bespoke. The 2 things I’ll be looking for is correct pitch in armholes. Apparently they need ‘rotated’…correct me if my terminology is wrong here Simon. The feel of the jacket is rather tight… this may correct the apparent tightness.
When I met you at the pop-up ,I showed you my baste fitting on my phone, and you very correctly noted, as I did that the jacket is too short. The tailor will add about one inch, which may not seem to be very much, but I believe it will hopefully make a significant improvement to the jacket.
On a different note, one that many will find archaic, I beg to differ, except with casual trousers, corduroy, chinos and the like is my introduction to braces, Albert Thurston. Not cheap spring clip braces, gouging into precious cloth!
What’s your take on buttons? .I’m going for horn, not shiny. A two button jacket.
What is the standard number of buttons on the sleeves?
They’ll be full working buttons, if that’s OK.
Lindsay

Michael

The wrong pitch might cause the sleeves to drag on the chest front making it feel a bit restrictive. If that is the case, correcting the pitch will reduce the drag and make the jacket feel a bit roomier but this will be a very slight difference.
On the other hand, this effect is most evident with low-cut armholes which are most commonly found on low-tier RTW garments. Not so much with bespoke.

Lindsay McKee

Many thanks for that advice, Michael.

Lindsay McKee

I forgot to add, the trousers will have side adjusters as well.
Thanks
Lindsay

Lindsay McKee

Many thanks for all the advice.
Lindsay

Gregoire

You really need to try Paley Mundy… They might look very structured (and indeed given the C&M background they are strong at it) but I have seen them do some beautiful drape. And given Harry was head of menswear at VW – style & design is really at the forefront of their thinking!

Nicolas Strömbäck

What is the starting point for a suit there?

Gregoire

That is a key drawback. Closer to Michael Browne (though not as dear) than Whitcomb & Shaftesbury is perhaps the best way to phrase it…

Paul F

Simon, I couldn’t agree more with the statements and the overall introduction you’ve made. Whereas I haven’t used as many tailors as you, I’ve easily tried 20 and find myself getting drawn back to the same 4-5, namely:
– WW Chan
– Sartoria Ripense
– Orazio Luciano through Jean-Manuel Moreau or Dalcuore when I want Neapolitan
– Salvatore Ambrosi

I’ve also made the costly mistake of thinking bespoke was whatever I wanted the tailor to do for me rather than let him do his own thing. That has especially been painful on the Row.

The relationship and the understanding of the tailor of my lifestyle, preferences, etc. play for me the biggest role. There is also a difference between the commissions where I’m 100% sure of what I wanted like my recent 3-piece chalk stripe flannel suit by WW Chan and the commissions where I want a new summer jacket but not too sure where to start. In the latter, I tend to exchange a lot with people whose style I also admire such as Jean-Manuel Moreau or Andrea Luparelli. Working with them then ensure I will be satisfied with the outcome as I can identify with their style, if that makes sense.

Paul F

True that, MTM is excluded in your consideration. We could always argue that JMM regularly achieves what few bespoke tailors manage to but that goes back to his great working relationship and coordination with Orazio Luciano’s tailoring operation, and his keen eye.
There are as well bespoke tailors whose work I greatly admire and pieces I love owning but remain 1. too costly for me to use regularly and 2. less in line with my lifestyle now looks like. These would be the Parisian-based Camps de Luca and Cifonelli. Both operations are headed by true gentlemen, which does not hurt.

Tamaki

Just would like to reinforce the point on JMM fit and style. I have orders of magnitude less experience here than Paul and Simon, but I equally love the jackets from JMM and The Anthology.

Also, one big advantage for me is that JMM has a fixed store in Paris, which makes really easy for me to visit (and Nicolas and JM are always extremely friendly and receptive to me. I do abuse their kindness a bit hahahah)

Robin

I’d emphasis your point that “Style really matters”.
I had a suit and jacket made by a city bespoke tailor and while the fitting is great I couldn’t help thinking something was “off”.
Whilst my head said “it’s fine. It’s been made bespoke with several fittings by a tailor” my heart was saying “but it’s not that ‘sharp’”.
Tailors aren’t  always the most stylish people themselves and I’ve got the impression sometimes , like builders, they think their way is the best .
You only have to look at many a politician or businessman whose wearing bespoke tailoring that fits great but has no ‘style’ whatsoever .
I’ve heard tailors say “Fit is everything”, so as to dismiss the lack of handwork in their jackets, but I would add “fit within a style is everything” .
Tailors are a very conservative bunch so style probably doesn’t come easy.
It’s one of the reasons that I now side towards MTM. With MTM I would concentrate more on cut, silhouette and style and save money over bespoke at the same time.

Johnny

I really miss the articles from earlier detialing and documenting each step of the fitting, cloth slection and final garment process. The nature of the articels appears to have changed whereby we get less process and more articles straight into the fi nshed garment. Can we have some mroe in depth process related content? Im sure you have built up enough rapour with some tailors that youcould coument every step with a commetnray from each person involved. What has the cutter noticed when measuring you and how is he interpritating this. Waht adjustments has he made to the pattern and why. What considerations is he giving when cutter the cloth based upon the fabirc type. What the tailors considerations on the make when he first picks up the job and so on. Back to the roots baby!

H

I find your new mix of articles enjoyable and your old articles a great, great reference.

Johnny

Thanks for your reply Simon. I think perhaps what would be nice is a bit more narrative and lifestyle inclusion. I always enjoy your articles but they can become rather dry and analytical. I think the inclusion of some of the details of the trip, some images to accompany that, some of the more social aspects included would be nice. Some more general and observational/ situational narrative. Lots of people document this through their IG stories and I note you do sometimes although your approach to IG is somewhat restricted which is fine but it’s not to say that this type of content is not enjoyable. It would be nice to see some in the main articles on the site. Clothing is very much a lifestyle pursuit and allot of what’s compelling about it is what accompanies it. Maybe it’s just me but I would enjoy some escapism and entertainment in the articles as well as the factual and analytical content.

Winot

That’s a good comprehensive list Simon. For me it comes down to relationship, cut and consistency. FWIW I have settled on the following over 20 years of commissioning bespoke suits:

  1. Meyer & Mortimer for business suits. Paul Munday is excellent, consistent, and easy to deal with.
  2. Elia Caliendo for casual tailoring. Again, ticks all the boxes apart from location, but the point is the Neapolitan cut and you don’t get that outside of Italy. And he visits London often enough for it to work.
  3. Davide Taub (Gieves) has made me a couple of coats. Just because I like his design.
  4. Edward Sexton has made me a DB suit and is making a SB jacket. For party wear when you want to make a splash.

.
That’s it – there are probably 3 or 4 other tailors I’ve used over the years but for various reasons haven’t again. I can’t see myself needing to go to anyone other than the 4 above for all the reasons you state.

Lindsay McKee

I totally second that, Simon!!….and of course Winot!!!
That would make a mighty topic, big time.
Maybe even new tailors.
Bring it on!!!

Shaoul

Thanks for this,

Personally, I find it harder to relate to the blog’s recent pivot towards vintage and RTW. But this article reminded me what makes your blog unique and very much worth reading. I think that it’s almost impossible to get this specific type of insight anywhere else.

You mention is location and relationships. I could not agree more. Cut, style, etc. matter of course but…

In the long run proximity and a good relationship with the tailor matter most in my view. It’s true that a tailor can nail your pattern after making you two suits.

But the magic really happens later in the relationship. It happens when the tailor learns you and further adjusts the pattern to your odd preferences and needs. Or when they adjust the earlier suits they made to fit your current needs. Some tailors might even be happy to press your suits to make sure they fit just right years after they cut them.

I think that all of that tremendous value of bespoke is almost impossible to capitalize without a good relationship and close geographical proximity to the tailor. And, in the long run, seem the most important to me.

m

When you wrote: “I’d actually rather have a neat hand-sewn buttonhole than a Milanese one”, did you actually mean neat machine-sewn buttonhole?
I personally still like to get as much handwork as possible, it somehow makes the item I payed so much for feel more special, gives it a bit more soul so to speak. Part of coping mechanism to justify the spending perhaps but still helps to make item more endearing and thus more appreciated.
Maybe I’ll grow out of it as I expand my wardrobe.

Stephen

Hi, I think all the points you raise are important and relevant. What stands out for me most personally is professionalism as it ties all the others together. In particular “ Delivering what you said you would, when you would.”
In my experience I have had some great service. In the case of my son in law who had a terrible ‘off hand experience’ with one of the tailors that was at the time upstairs in Saville Row. His wedding suit ordered three months ahead of time ran to being ready few days beforehand (cancelled fittings etc) and only then was ready because David Evans (Grey Fox) intervened and my daughter went there personally the get things straightened. I got the distinct impression he didn’t fit their preferred customer profile.
Anyhow that’s in the past but i did want to provide an example of how a bad experience can destroy value, whilst good experience creates lifetime value.

Lindsay McKee

This has to be one of the finest and most informative posts, among many excellent posts that I’ve read. It has brought in wonderful comments from others edifying and helping many.
Never heard of Paley Munday… until now!!! This is what I love to see.
Definitely looking forward to Wednesday’s post.
Thank you Simon.. and all the others who have commented on this post.

Ian

It now seems very difficult to find a good tailor and I think that is sad. The ones I’ve used over the years have all had the inconvenient habit of retiring and closing, with possible alternatives becoming ever scarcer – there are now none where I live, despite it being a large city. The online offerings of most of those who remain give little confidence that they have much interest or ability in tailoring, let alone a commitment to long term service. As a result, I have been using a central London tailor recently who I’m very happy with but I do now know of a couple of others who ought to meet Simon’s criteria and who are much less expensive, though they are neither local nor convenient. However, I’m not sure yet how much of a pick-and-mix approach I want to take so we’ll see which, if either, I use.

Peter Hall

I do wonder how many bespoke wearers want to be particularly stylish- t’s difficult to quantify, so tailors concentate on process knowing the client base are happy with the house style and the personal service .
I personally think that when classic house lines are over – tinkered with, they quickly become unstylish and your point on moderation is well made.
As I’ve aged ,comfort is everything tand would be my rationale for having bespoke and would rate that higher than handiwork.

Andrew

Hi Simon,

This is a really interesting article and I look forward to the next installment.

I have settled on 1 tailor: Ferdinando Caraceni in Milan for the reasons I’ll come to below. Also because I living in Zurich where few bespoke tailors visit, so managing repairs, modifications and new orders with more than one tailor would be a headache for me now that I have a sizeable but still growing bespoke wardrobe. (There is always something that is in for repair or modification, and something that is ready for a fitting.)

The 3 factors that are most important to me are (1) quality of advice (which didn’t seem to make it on your list), (2) relationship and (3) style.

Quality of advice: More important than making suits and jackets, Nicoletta Caraceni has become my stylist of sorts. She knows what colors and patterns work for me and more importantly which don’t. Almost every time I visit, I come away having commissioned something different than I intended, usually because Nicoletta has a better idea, even if it is just a different cloth than I had in mind. I attribute this to her own good taste and almost 40 years of serving clients. The fact that I admire the style of many of those clients helps a lot because it gives us reference points for our discussion and my choices. That experience is worth a lot to me, and is something that I have found younger tailors and those with a less consistent client base struggle to match.

Relationship: In addition to what you mentioned in the article, one of the parts of the relationship I appreciate the most is that I often leave having commissioned less than I expected to (and running late for my next meeting because we have been talking for so long). I have been (politely) talked out of commissioning more than a few suits and especially overcoats because they wouldn’t have suited me. Nicoletta could have kept her mouth shut and made the sale, but her honesty is really valuable for me because it gives me the confidence that I am unlikely to made a bad choice when I do make an order.

Style: The quality of advice and relationship wouldn’t matter for much if I didn’t like the style. Their style works for me, my environment and my personality. The points I mentioned about quality of advice are quite linked to style. It covers everything from cloth, to cuts (e.g., DB or SB) and details of each commission (choice of pockets, etc). In other words, really understanding the purpose of each suit/jacket/coat and making the right choices so it comes out well and I look my best in it.

All the best, Andrew

G. Bruce Boyer

You couldn’t have better advice than from this article. Finding a tailor who’s style mirrors your taste, building a relationship, prizing comfort above Fashion, these are the important things. Forget about the fancy lining and buttonhole stuff, the gimmicks designed to take in the amateurs. Simplicity of cut, honesty, functionality, consistency continue to be the touchstones of good tailoring.

Scott

Agreed! Perhaps Mr. Boyer you would honor us with your short list of preferred tailors and why? It would be interesting to compare your list to Simon’s. I suspect that there may be some overlap. If Simon is agreeable, a guest article from you on this subject would be very useful as a compliment to this PS series.

David

It doesn’t surprise me that your priorities finish up as detailed.
Many men interested in style in their youth, give up and join the sartorially impoverished in their 30s/40s. If style truly does become a permanent part of a man’s life they invariably finish up sharing all your sentiments . You’ve had the journey. Made your mistakes – had your successes – and now know what you like and what makes you feel comfortable.
When you find a tailor who’s style suits you. Stick with them and develop the relationship. I have two: A&S and Anglo-Italian and I wouldn’t dream of asking them to change their house style. There is simply no point. Their style is why you are there in the first place.
Both tailors – particularly Anglo-Italian have a good sense of style but the point you make about the majority being disinterested is completely true. The same applies to Barbers.

Phong

Wonderful article as always Simon. I currently have a few pieces being made by Fred and Lee of Taillour (I actually had my second fitting at your New York Popup) and it’s been a wonderful experience thus far.

As you mentioned in your article, working with someone who you are on the same wave length with matters. My first experience with bespoke was not great, with the tailor doing most of the driving and mostly disregarding any of my concerns. The product we came to was usable, but not something I enjoy wearing.

I am by no mean an expert, but having the open conversation with Fred during fittings and having him explain and address those issues helps put me at ease. It’s an intangible part of the process, but will be huge factor in why I would continue to commission things through them going forward.

Scott

This is an excellent article with all of your points making a lot of sense. However, what do you suggest to your readers, probably most, who don’t live in close proximity to quality tailors?

David

Hello Simon, I saw the Korean tailoring outfit Assisi is in the process of making you a suit. Could you comment on how it’s going so far, and when you think the final product (and accompanying review) are due?
You also mentioned something a while ago about Enzo Ciardi demonstrating how to work with an iron to restore the shape of a jacket’s lapels. Are you still planning a small piece on that? Thanks.

Ben

Quite revealing that cost isn’t among the listed criterion

Kit

May I have some advice please Simon?

Have 2-3 RTW suits which I own and I mainly use for conferences (my job as a junior doctor doesn’t allow me to wear a suit). They all SB 2/3 piece blue/navy and 2 PoW cheque. For my wedding the other half wants a dinner suit.

I’ll probably have the budget for one offshore bespoke and one high end made to measure suit. I could push it to two bespoke if I worked for it. What would you advise? Is it worth using the same tailor?
Is there anyone you would recommended? I was debating steed, Redmayne or Whitcomb Shaftesbury. I’m not entirely sure what cut would suit me. I’m 5ft 7, moderately athletic (albeit I’ve put on some weight ) and fairly broad in the chest and Shoulders with a smaller waist. Admittedly for the second suit I am not sure what to go for! Not a huge fan of some greys but was considering a brown and possibly a DB.

Your advice would be much appreciated!
Kit

Kit

Thanks Simon. This would be my first dive into bespoke! Appreciate the advice!
Kit

Tim J

Hi Simon,
Great article and a useful way of setting context to Wednesday’s follow up. As a long-term PS reader, I think you’ve managed to compress years of experience into a succinct set of recommendations and priorities that would be hugely beneficial to someone developing a love of tailoring/clothing and starting that journey we’ve all been on. Oh the mistakes I could have avoided!
I have found it interesting over the last ~3 years in particular to watch how your style and priorities have evolved and I’m sure that will be reflected in the list of favorites. I think it would have been brilliant to have done this exercise 5 or 10 years ago and see how it compares to now.
Your comments about style, comfort and building relationships all resonate with me. We’re all getting older and we’ve all experimented to a certain degree but these 3 things are what i’ve found myself coming back to over the years. Get those 3 things right and I think you’ll get more use and pleasure out of your commissions.
Looking forward to Wednesday’s post now.
Tim.

Dieter

This is a great article, Simon. Thanks.
Location really matters. Accessibility could be a very big problem on customers, especially like me who live in German small town far away from big cities. I jealous people in London or New York, Italy or Far East.
There are not many Bespoke tailors here and most of them are not flattering honestly. Although their meister-craftsmanship is certainly excellent. Also almost no tailors make trunkshow here. If I wanted Napolitan jacket, I must visit Italy which costs so much. I might can try one or two times (then 3~6 visits) But It is not sustainable. Tailoring is never cheap before, but it’s becoming an increasingly expensive nowadays. After all, I gonna wear Patagonia fleece today.

P.F.

Dear Simon,
I think your points are very relevant. However, for many readers they can be challenging. For me, living in NL, I think location and style are the biggest challenges. There are very few local tailors and they have a less than interesting style. And no reputable visiting tailors that I know of. For this reason I have never considered a commission. I can just not justify the money for a style that I know already from their website will not satisfy me. But this is the fate of the people leaving further away from the sartorial centres.

Jan

One suggestion: take the train to London! I moved back to the Netherlands after 10 years in Hong Kong and struggling to find someone locally to replace the excellent people at WW Chan, Prologue and the visiting tailors through the Armoury. I decided to go to London and try A&S (and possibly plan a long distance commission with WW Chan on my existing pattern with a fitting during one of their visits to Londen 🙂 Good excuse to have a nice day or weekend trip to beautiful London

Peter Hall

Jan and PF

Hi. Have either of you tried https://www.ettemadis.com/nl/

in Den Haag. The tailor is quite convenient for me(Rotterdam)

P.F.

Dear Peter,
No, I haven’t tried that one. But the Instagram profile is, IMHO, less than convincing. A bit too tight and too short a jacket for my liking.

AAKG

Hi – Have you tried New Tailor – they are in AMS & Utrecht – super friendly team. And I have good experience of overcoat and trousers with them. And I am in the process of commissioning a jacket in no less than PS plaid.

Jan

Thanks AAKG. Considered trying New Tailor for a while and actually went in and ordered a jacket from them just today (to be made up in PS Shetland Tweed funny enough) – the Amsterdam shop manager actually mentioned someone coming in with the PS plaid 🙂 Experience was nice and jacket could turn out very well but they do seem to confuse bespoke with MTM and with the long distance ateliers (in Italy in my case) you have to be lucky to some extent. I’m a bit nervous about it to be honest. Let’s see. It’s certainly a little less expensive than true bespoke so it’s not unfair.
@Peter Hall, no, will have a look, thank you!

Alex McShane

Brilliant article, I am very interested to see the options you have selected in the second part. Personnel, I think the relationship, style, and professionalism are key. Currently, the location for me is impossible as I am in a country where there isn’t even one tailor (Falklands). I have to fly home to find one, which I have accepted as the biggest obstacle to having the kind of experience I want.
This website has provided the exposure to me that I needed to pick my first true bespoke suit and the tailor, not the house per se, that I wanted to make my suit. I could not get your green flannel Benson and Clegg suit out of my head. Thanks to other factors too it meant that I would have to wait nearly 2 years before I was able to actually meet Oli, now running his own business, and have him craft me something. But I have gotten there and the suit is stunning and already has my mind spinning on what I should look at next. It is the first of many for me I hope.
It is useful to hear the take on as few tailors as possible as there are so many to consider, and you do want to try a lot of them, but actually building a relationship and developing your style is key.
I am looking forward to part two even more now writing this comment.

John-Paul

Hi Simon,

How do you go about tailoring RTW knitwear? Should it be worn and washed a few times first, or it can be tailored straight away?

I had some merino wool 1/4 zips tailored once, and it’s probably the case they were washed wrongly and shrunk too much (the wool constantly feels tight and doesn’t stretch naturally – any ideas why?)

Plus, I’ve noticed that some knitwear that washes and lasts well has minutely ‘shrunken’ but it’s tiny, if anything, it feels microscopically more fitted and is a good thing.

Hope you can clarify.
John-Paul

Jack

Hi Simon, I have commissioned several bespoke jackets and trousers from a few different tailors since reading your articles, and I have found them enjoyable. But My concern is that I have noticed with most of the tailors, I only required one fitting in the first commission, which is, of course, good for me as the lead times weren’t too long, but I am a bit concerned about whether I am taking full advantage of the bespoke experience. The tailors agreed that the fits were great but do I usually need to raise the issues myself for the bespoke process? As from my untrained eyes, fit differences between my best-fitted RTW jacket and a bespoke tailored jacket are minor.

Many thanks,
Jack

Jack

I wouldn’t say I have any significant issues with the fit – they generally look very good from the standard based on your ‘How a jacket should fit’ video’ for instance. But as I mentioned, most of the RTW jackets also look fine based on that standard. I can certainly feel significant comfort from the bespoke jackets and trousers, especially around the armhole area, and I feel like I am wearing a cardigan or jeans in comparison to RTW, so I guess in terms of comfort, bespoke is certainly superior. Still, I was just wondering whether I am taking full advantage of the bespoke in terms of the visual aspects.

JerryShao

I had some excellent tailors made several suits and jackets in Florentine and Neapolitan style for me. But I’m still looking for a tailor that can make smarter suit with great style in my country. Style is really matter, but it’s usually restricted by the location.

CDBP

A fantastic article Simon. Completely spot on.
I would add : High quality made to measure is better than bad bespoke.
But I guess the article is about bespoke.
The thing I am most gratified by is that you have outgrown your fetishism of Milanese buttonholes and all that stuff. 😊
You should keep this article permanently posted on your home page !!

JJ Katz

Very well explained and very useful for anyone going the mtM/bespoke route.

Jose

I too have narrow shoulders. I however prefer clothes that accentuate my thin body, and don’t want the wider shoulders. We are all different, and that’s what makes different styles interesting.

Brady Acton

What I have trouble with in the bespoke/MTM process is transparency and timeline. Most bespoke customers will have no idea where a suit is in the process and many will not receive the suit for many months after the expected delivery date. Often with little to no communication from the tailor.

Have you ever tried SuitSupply custom? The craftsmanship, attention to detail, and customer service clearly isn’t comparable to full-on bespoke, but they delivered a custom jacket in 3-4 weeks, with consistent and informative email notifications where they were in at in the process, a fraction of the price of bespoke, and it fits as well as any of my MTM jackets. Great fabric too – a wool cashmere blend from barbaris canonico

Matt H

Regarding handwork: wouldn’t any tailor whom you would consider good enough in all other respects also feature handwork on their tailoring? I thought it was pretty standard. (I’m talking mainly about the visible, more decorative touches.)

Anyway, interesting piece which I cannot possibly not follow immediately with part 2.