Cifonelli jacket: Finding a new home for good things

Wednesday, January 31st 2024
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One topic I thought it would be good to cover during Dry January was giving away clothes that you found - for whatever reason - no longer worked for you. Finding good homes for good things, essentially. 

A good example of this is the suede jacket that Cifonelli made for me in 2015. Although I adored the craft and the material, I found over time that I didn't take to the style - it was a little too closely fitted, a little too stylised in its finishing and lapels - and I wore it less and less. I also put on a little weight and the already tight fit became unwearably so.

This is of course frustrating, particularly for such an expensive piece of clothing. But I think I maintain a good hit rate for commissioning clothing, and it would be much more frustrating if it was never worn by anybody. 

So I thought to ask André if he'd like it, both because it might be more his style, and because the fit could work well - although Andre is at least a size smaller than me, closer to a 36, he also wears things a little big, a touch oversized. You can see our piece on his style here

André himself didn't find it that easy to slot into his wardrobe though, so I thought we could do a nice piece together - where Andre himself could also tell his story of coming to love the blazer, and giving it the home it deserved. 

Here’s André.

André Larnyoh:

To be honest, I was a bit surprised when Simon asked me if I wanted this jacket. At the time, I was unsure whether the fit or the style was very me. However, I did find it a beautiful thing to look at, and what’s a wardrobe without a few unusual pieces that have stories behind them? It's why people buy vintage. 

Like Simon said, the craft and material of Cifonelli are stunning - the question for me was how to wear something like this. When do you? It’s almost too nice to be worn out all the time, but that’s also what it deserves. 

The first outfit I remember wearing it with was on the day I got it, out of excitement - with a pair of taupe high-twist trousers and a denim western shirt. Very seventies film director. All I was missing was a baseball cap. That clash of the ruggedness of a denim shirt with suede usually works, but the cut of the jacket threw the whole thing off.

I did feel good in it though, which was a big plus. I was wearing something that was special and it lifted my mood accordingly. It’s one of those pieces  that can change the way you walk around. Also everyone in the pub that evening wanted to stroke the jacket, which is always nice. 

As the suede isn’t the lightest, however, and we were approaching the height of summer, it didn’t see much wear after that and went into storage. Every now and then I would unpack it from my suitcase, though, just to look at it and try it on with things. I couldn’t quite crack the code, but it represented a challenge.

In my mind, a suede blazer is a VERY specific item of clothing to own, one which carries many and varied connotations (remember my whole spiel about associations?) – if not Francis Ford Coppola in the seventies, then the bad side of the nineties/early aughts. It doesn’t need to be said that Cifonelli’s jacket is a long way from what I saw hanging in my uncle’s wardrobe growing up, but I was also aware that wearing it with the wrong items could say that I was off to see So Solid Crew. 

This was the biggest challenge - a suede blazer is a strong piece and can easily take over an outfit, turning it into something else. But the colour of the suede was also lighter than I’m usually comfortable with. A chocolate brown would’ve been a lot easier to pair with my usual colour palette, and it made it stand out against my darker pieces.

Finally the cut of the blazer, lovely as it is, was the opposite of what I had expected. It was made more like a suit jacket than a relaxed, unstructured blazer, which would have been easier to just chuck on as well as closer to the type of tailoring I preferred

The jacket was also quite pristine, with none of the worn-in qualities that can give a suede jacket character – sagging pockets, wrinkling on the sleeves, faded patches etc. There was a lot of wearing to be done. All of these things were proving to be a considerable block for me. 

The turning point was last Christmas, when I saw Hugh Grant in a similar suede blazer in the Christmas classic Bridget Jones’s Diary. There were no style cues here - it was worn with a blue poplin shirt that summed up the nineties look I wanted to avoid - but it spurred me to try again. 

This time, my main idea was simplicity: if the foundation of what I wore was simple, my thinking went, then the jacket would do all the talking yet not stand out too much.  

A dark navy crewneck and a pair of matching wool trousers managed to balance the colour of the suede. The more casual combination also took away a lot of the formality that came with the cut, making the whole thing look more relaxed. I was actually surprised by how much dark colours worked with this fairly strong shade of brown. 

Emboldened by the success I went on a spree of trying it with other things in my wardrobe, aiming to stick to the winning formula - and I learned a few solid points when it came to wearing the Cifonelli. 

Keeping the foundational colour palette dark was better than something like earth tones. The latter was doable - I tried it with a pair of olive Studio Nicholson trousers and an ecru knit from Rubato - but it veered on too much of a look

But, wearing knitwear underneath has proved to be a very safe bet, as opposed to a shirt. I’ve found some shirts can work - usually relaxed ones like LEJ’s Come up to The Studio shirt. But western or work shirts don’t, and neither do smarter shirts with a structured collar. The former already has enough going on with its rugged details, and smart shirts don’t sit right with the vibe that a suede blazer gives off.   

It’s always a little exciting to introduce something different into your wardrobe and ultimately I’m glad that, despite the initial ups and downs, the Cifonelli jacket has managed to establish a place in mine. I’m also excited as to what other pairings present themselves over time, and how the jacket ages with really regular wear. 

Thanks Simon!

Cifonelli were fully aware of this gift, the process and of the resulting coverage

André's other clothes:

- Knit: Bryceland’s Shaggy Dog
- Trousers: Drake’s MTM
- Shoes (out of shot): Crockett & Jones Cavendish in black calf 
- Glasses: Cubitts
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Very interesting, I personally think works very well for Andre.
Simon, have your thoughts on Cifonelli tailoring changed as your style evolves?


This piece was amazing, you are right but is such a pity it didn´t work out. I´m curious how much does a pice like this cost?


Noted thanks!


André, how do you find the fit and style of the Bryceland’s shetland? Any tips on sizing? Thanks!


It’s short in the body with a high neck, I personally like the way it fits a lot. I found that I could’ve gone either way sizing wise – I wanted mine to sit quite neat and close (especially since I rarely wear shirts underneath knits) so went for an XS. I would’ve also been happy with the small which would’ve been a boxier fit. Personal preference at the end of the day. Hope that helps!



Peter Bodach-Söderström

I think paring the right garment with the right person is just as satisfying as buying something for yourself.


And it’s a small blessing to have that right person around you who can properly appreciate that right garment. I’m a bit jealous.

But can I ask Simon, I’m curious on what is the reason for the disclaimer at the end of article “Cifonelli were fully aware of this gift, the process and of the resulting coverage”?


I think it works so well with the grey trousers and jumpers because you have the glasses which blend the grey and camel of the jacket very well together.
Beautiful new home.


Damn. Didn’t even think about how my glasses factored in…
Good eye.


Ha that’s the first thing I noticed as well, possibly because I’ve just been on a rather elaborate new bespoke glasses tour, the frame of your glasses really bring this all together. Apart from that, super nice article and hope you enjoy the jacket for many years to come


Dear Simon, coukd you write a piece on the the negative sides of consumerism. Collecting/curating/accumulating material possessions is rather meaningless and pitiful in itself, I am sure many people will agree. How do you find it meaningful? Does the meaning come from the “educational” aspect of what you do? And yet, do you wish for a more meaningful vocation in life? What are your own struggles/regrets with the consumerist drive?


Thanks, Simon, for the links. I understand that you want to advocate for a more sustainable consumption, but it is consumption nonetheless. This entire blog is about consumption- be it refined, sustainable, etc – and it is hypocritical to deny this fact. Now I have no intention to insult or devalue your work, and I come from the position of compassion. Yet I think it could be beneficial to raise more philosophical, psychological and sociological points about the nature of one’s intetest in clothing and other beautiful objects. Is it a healthy interest? Or is it a palliative, a surrogate for the lack of fulfillment and some “truer” meaning as a producer, a societal being in technlogical capitalism?


Personally I politely disagree with AA, and am not sure it would be particularly interesting. This is because these types of points come up and have been discussed at many points including dry January (eg – why only a month?) – ie plenty has been said on this. Furthermore it’s clear from most of the comments that the readers are intelligent enough to understand there is a degree of consumption but want help making choices (eg how great things age series).

People are able to make their own choices in free societies and personally I think it’s best left at that.


Nicely put. I fully agree.

Tommy Mack

Late-consumer-capitalism has us living in, to borrow Irvine Welsh’s words, “an unnatural zoo.” All our instincts have evolved through surviving scarcity and now we frequently have to consciously temper our impulses.

Simon, something that stuck with me was a piece you wrote maybe a year or two ago called something like Materialism Not Consumerism: the idea that valuing the things we have helps us consume less as well as feeling a deeper and more lasting sense of satisfaction (Announcer voice: “Disclaimer: recommended only as part of a balanced lifestyle-diet”

Nowadays whenever I consider a major purchase, I ask myself which of my favourite clothes am I prepared to wear less in order to accommodate the new item into my wardrobe. It’s saved me a fortune!

When I was younger, I felt, I think a lot of men, that it was somehow wrong to feel any attachment to any material objects. I’d brag to my friends I didn’t own anything I’d save from a house fire. Now, if you’re content with using things only for their utility, great, it’s almost certainly a simpler and definitely cheaper lifestyle. But for most of us, it’s better to admit we *want some things* and evaluate our choices accordingly.

I can only speak from personal experience but my youthful denialism (“I don’t need anything!”) just lead to me buying more and worse rather than less and better. Much better to acknowledge the pleasure we get from certain material things and desist from new purchases *because having too much will actually reduce that pleasure*, than (and again I can only speak from personal experience) insist that I’m not that fussed, buy something *almost right* for cheap in the sales, feel a lingering sense of dissatisfaction and repeat.

Sorry, again, I’ve written rather more than I planned to but I guess these are ideas I’ve been mulling over for a while now!


To be honest this post seems awfully close to saying “you shouldn’t actually be interested in clothes”, which is a perplexing statement to make on a blog about clothes.

Tommy Mack

Haha, yeah, like Mark in Peep Show saying “Should we really be selling loans at all? What about the environment?” when he hasn’t prepared anything for his speech at the board meeting.


Clothes can definitely become a surrogate, such as cars, houses, furniture, travels… can. That’s why friars in the Middle Ages wore coarse, undyed wool habits. Clothing would not distract them and was not a concern for them.
But clothes are certainly a primary need. You wouldn’t say that if you look at the effects of fast fashion in the recent decades. Is slow fashion part of the answer? True, it’s consumption too. On the other hand, the workers and craftsmen are paid decently and work according to sustainable standards such as garments have to last, have to be able to repaired etc.


I generally agree with your response to this comment. I also think calling consumerism meaningless in this context is unnecessarily dismissive. What is (IMO) often ignored is the vast number of people employed by so called ‘consumerism’ (with no viable alternative ) and the improvement this has brought to many people’s lives.
Yes, waste should ideally be minimised and I think you promote this approach. I believe however this is not the place for a discourse on consumerism.
Please keep up the great work.


It’s useful to note that almost everything we humans do is a form consumption construed in the very broadest sense of the concept (meaning: a use of planetary resources). Even the posting of that original comment was, in this sense, an act of consumption. Consequently, I don’t think it makes sense to chastise someone merely for their consumption as the original comment here seems to do, even if not intended. I think the question is not about consumption per se only about what forms of consumption are justified in light of their costs. I think Simon has written a lot of this subject in the past — whether you agree with him or not.

Robert M

It would be interesting to know if the jacket needed any alterations to fit André, and if yes, the extent of them and whether anything was particularly difficult.

Robert M

Interesting that not even sleeve length required alteration. In that case, you could wear each other’s clothes for a while and then write about it for our amusement!


As always interesting thoughts from both Simon and André. I like how the suede jacket doesn’t look ill-fitted at all on André, even though it was a bespoke fit for a different person. Although I suppose it would be considered ill-fitted from the point of view of Cifonelli house style. To me that fit looks just perfect.

This makes me wonder whether I actually ever want to try bespoke (or good MTM more realistically), right now I’m wearing a slightly oversized RTW jacket that’s one of my favourite things ever, I tend to wear it unbuttoned, and while the fit isn’t objectively great, I always feel comfortable in it. In a roomier fit, what would be the advantages of going with say Anglo-Italian, as an example of more comfortable cut? Aside of course from technical superiority, better finishing, and other non-fit related issues?

I know that the advantages of bespoke have been one of the main topics of this site for ever, but I’m asking specifically in a more relaxed, louche style which I’ve come to enjoy a lot.


Simon a collar standing off your neck has nothing at all to do with balance. It’s to do with the geometry between the neck, shoulders and sleeve hole.
Balance is the relationship between the front and back, and to a lesser extent, between the sides.


Hi Simon,
Another interesting and informative article. I have found the ‘dry January’ series a nice change of pace that has generated some good ideas.
A positive aspect for me was that the articles were not ‘preachy!’, (it’s not that there isn’t enough of that elsewhere) or ‘green washing’, they were about utilisation and innovation. What I think comes through in your writing is an enjoyment of clothing for people that share that interest.
Thanks again.


The jacket still looks brand new. Has it ever been dry cleaned? Since you purchased the jacket in 2015 how many times do you think wore it?


Good read. I’ve found it a bit awkward to give away pieces of clothing. Though my wardrobe is conservative by #menswear standards, it’s a bit too fashion forward for the average poorly dressed man that dominate my social circles. I also wonder if there’s something emasculating about accepting clothes from another man – not that I feel that way, but I could see a non-sartorial man feeling that way.
When I was searching for a camel hair coat, I found one a vintage Ralph Lauren on eBay that was beautiful, in near perfect condition, and cheap; but when it arrived it was a size too small for me. I knew the coat was a gem so I gave it away to a buddy. That was two years ago. I recently asked him about it and he said that he doesn’t wear it because “it doesn’t really work for him,” which I suspected. It’s unfortunate. So now I give away old clothing to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Hopefully someone scrummaging through those piles can provide these items a good home. Even better if it’s someone who would otherwise be unable to afford it.



A great sentiment to hand on clothes where they will get more use. Often it’s difficult to admit that we’ve erred in our choices. Besides, a beautiful garment remains just that even if we don’t retain ownership, plus it gets to fulfill it’s purpose.


I’m curious as to why you felt that a Western shirt wouldn’t go with the jacket (of course this is coming from someone with at least a dozen Western shirts)?


Coming from someone who also has a number of western shirts, it just didn’t sit well. Maybe if it wasn’t a denim one, but either way that style of shirt mixed with suede makes me feel like I’m verging too close to “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid”.

Tommy Mack

Lovely idea for an article. I often wonder what’s become of garments I’ve sold or donated.


Good article. Just a heads up, you forgot the “d” for André in the following sentence:
So I thought to ask Anré if he’d like it,


Very nice article and subject. I enjoyed the thoughtful consideration of both letting go of something that wasn’t “right” and also finding it a new home where it is appreciated, as well as the considerations in how to wear more challenging pieces.

That said, it does raise some negative thoughts for me, especially as this is the end of “dry January”. Forgive me if this comes off as rude – I’m hoping it’s viewed more as constructive. I would say that you’ve done a good job over the years of balancing and addressing different aspects of consumption, but I’d like to raise a few things.

To me, this site has two primary related-but-disparate goals:
1. Educate and inform on how to appreciate clothes and dress well/better in general
2. Report on the milieu of menswear (including reviews of products and experiences)

Where these two goals intersect is “buy less, buy better” (or variations thereof). And of course there’s overlap in the technical details about fabrics and construction.

#2 necessarily requires consumption/consumerism, and it’s what readers have come to expect. Obviously this site has been successful so there’s no argument there. This can lead to experimentation – some experiments are successful, some not so much. It’s nice to be able to learn from somebody else’s mistakes (or successes!)

#1, however, when taken through the lens of “permanent style”, I think would be better served with more acknowledgement of failures and perhaps even a rejection of experiments (or, to make it more positive, truly celebrate that which has remained your “permanent style”). There are countless articles where a garment, including the above, is no longer in your possession because:
– it no longer fits (or indeed never did)
– you found yourself unable to enjoy it
– your stylistic preferences changed
– you replaced it with something else (directly or indirectly)

I fully acknowledge that things change (body, situation, standards, taste, etc.), and that you’ve covered this well before. I also acknowledge the thrill of discovery associated with seeking out new and different things, especially when “filling gaps”. It’s just that I get a sense of wastefulness reading previous articles where something that was once so considered and for which you had so much enthusiasm is now no longer of personal use. These articles essentially become cautionary tales but without clearly explaining the real/actual consequences.

As someone who might turn to this site for both “fantasy” but also “practical” inspiration (and the “how great things age” series is a good example), it can be disheartening to see a churn of garments. One thing I was hoping to see in “dry January” was a reflection on a smaller selection of old favourite clothes to be worn over the course of the month. Maybe it’s less exciting and more old hat revisiting items previously covered, but at the same time I think it would have helped encourage the kind of thoughtful approach to wardrobe building that I see as object #1. Maybe that’s something you can consider for a future retrospective.

It would also be interesting to see a more restricted/considered/selective approach to acquisition – rather than “trading up” or “trying out” – replacement based on true need.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment!


André, I could see you wearing that beautiful jacket & those trousers with a cream-coloured e.g. linnen shirt as well as (well, if you were wearing ties) a silk/wool/linnen knit tie in chocolate. Because that strip of dark brown cloth would play with the beige and lift it up in a way. In a way your glasses do that a little already. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us 🙂


It doesn’t look bad the way Andre put it together, but I would embrace the structured, “stylized” character of the jacket rather than circumvent it as he does here, wearing the jacket in a neapolitan manner.
It’s also true that the lighter suede isn’t ideal for his complexion. I would have just given the jacket to someone else…


I disagree Ben: in my view, the lighter tone of the jacket looks brilliant when contrasting against André’s complexion and the darker colours of the clothing underneath


Love hearing from Andre. His sensibility completely aligns with my own. More of him please


Hi Simon,
This is a lovely story! Thanks for sharing!
Now, in André’s shoeshow would I style such a jacket?

  1. Knit: I would avoid merino at all costs, and then stick to shetlands and he alike. The Bryceland’s is fine, even color wise! Crewneck and rollneck would be the best options. As to colors, in addtion to fhis shade of grey, I would add navy, dark brown and green – not any shade, though!
  2. Shirts: white and light blue – necessarily – worn underneath a crewneck! Usually, a buttondown. .
  3. Trousers:heavy flannel, either mid-grey such as the one worn here or dark brown.
  4. Shoes:very dark brown Chelsea boot and loafers would be safer. No suede!
  5. Accessory: a neckerchief is required. Yet, tied eiher à la Jean Gabin, see here:
Or à la Oliver from Rubato, when showing up at events such as Pitti and alike, merely to obliquely signal the excepional quality of the jacket to those who are in the know! See here … again!
Enjoy your jacket, André!


Ps. I forgot to mention to André that it would be better if the design of the Chelsea boots displayed a bit of surface interest such as this one:
I hope it makes sense even from the perspective of the potentially varied outfits suggested above. .


Overall then Simon, would you recommend a bespoke suede jacket, or would it be better to get the best off the peg option? I suspect that would probably be RL Purple Label but that probably wouldn’t be much cheaper.


Hi Simon! I’m a reader from the U.S. I was just visiting London and saw you walking across Green Park on Tuesday. I believe you were wearing a PWVC donegal raglan coat. I wanted to say hi but you looked like you were in a rush. I hope to make it to the next Permanent Style event in New York. I’m a big fan of the site and the advice you’ve provided in helping me shape my wardrobe.

Christopher Molinar

Simon, Andre and all,

Thank you for a well considered discussion. This is what makes this blog and writing important it brings out discussion. Living in a resort city in the SoCal desert I can now only dream of the need for layering.
To my mind the “next best use” was taken into consideration and with great success. Clothing is an emblem of our collective society. Commissioning bespoke or MTM employs and nurtures the next generation of craftsmen and women. These skills and practices will be lost if not performed and knowledge passed along. We are indeed fortunate to be having such a discussion across our continents.
Customized and commissioned items most often employ local craftsmen and handwork. All usually more expensive. Mass consumption and consumerism of cheap and poorly made goods is the problem of our time. We should celebrate artisans and craftspeople of all types. Their touch and their knowledge are transmitted to us as a gift which nourishes the soul of the maker, the wearer, and the passerby who delights in what they see. Gentlemen, we all care how we look, and how we are perceived. The next time you see someone dressed well, no matter the circumstances please take a moment to stop and say something to the wearer. We all have the power to be the best or a better part of someone else’s day..


Regarding the consumerism debate – this blog has helped me buy less and more well-fitting MTM clothes instead of ill-fitting RTW that I sold or gave away before they were worn out.

Over time I am moving to fewer but better clothes, that also look nice together most of them. As they are expensive and made just for me, I take better care of them too.


Great read, though would have wished for the visuals to show some more of the mentioned combinations, instead of just the one look. Maybe even one that doesn’t work too well.
Hope André gets lots enjoyment out of your generous gift.