Why I love my Ferdinando Caraceni blazer

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This jacket from Ferdinando Caraceni has become one of my real favourites in the past couple of years, and I think it’s worth exploring why. It says something about where tailoring is today, at least for me. 

It was made in 2021 by Nicoletta Caraceni (who runs the small Milanese tailoring started by her father). I didn’t cover it at the time, as I used to only do review articles for new tailors. But as those have decreased (the recent spate of Korean commissions part) it makes more sense to look at subsequent commissions in the same detail. 

Nicoletta has a wonderful selection of vintage cloth, mostly around dark suitings and summer cottons and linens. The previous DB jacket I had was in a vintage cotton, and this one was made in a vintage wool/cashmere. However, it wouldn’t be that hard to find something similar today - I’d guess it’s around 11oz and a 90/10 split between wool and cashmere. 

The colour is very dark - real menswear navy. I wouldn’t call it midnight, but it is the kind of colour that a non-menswear person might call black, not picking up on the richness that could only come from navy. For a smart navy blazer, it’s perfect. 

It is the cut, however, which is the most interesting. 

Ferdinando Caraceni jackets have a fairly strong, wide shoulder. This is achieved not with a thick uniform pad (as Huntsman or Sexton might do) but with one that is more wedge-shaped - nothing at the neck and substantial at the end. You get the shape without the bulk.

This is accentuated by the lapel which I’d describe as generous in width and generously bellied, without either being extreme. 

And this is the key I think to its style. The overall effect is rather striking, but without any element that stands out. Unlike cuts like Sexton or Chittleborough & Morgan in the UK, or the big shoulders of a Sciamat in Italy. 

In fact, for me this might be the essence of the beauty of classic menswear - and combined with the beauty in details (fine buttonholes) and beauty in materials (cloth and buttons and lining) it gives me real, physical joy to wear. 

That said, it would not necessarily have been suitable in my previous life, working in a City office. In a world of very standard suits and ties, it would have stood out too much (no one would even be wearing a DB, let alone this DB). 

And today, it’s not what I would recommend to most readers looking to commission bespoke for the first time. Because what that person usually wants is an everyday item, a replacement for the everyday suit, which fits well and has taste, but otherwise is very casual and relaxed. 

For that reader, a soft-shouldered Neapolitan jacket is much more suitable, and that’s why they’ve become so popular in the past 20 years. It goes with jeans and chinos and flannels and worsteds simply and easily.

A double-breasted Caraceni jacket has slightly more to say for itself. We’re talking small margins, as ever, but it’s slightly bigger, slightly stronger. 

The outfit above is the most classic thing I think you could wear it with - perhaps with the exception of the pocket square. Get rid of that, and it’s the most conservative combination of navy jacket, white shirt and grey trousers. 

But the jacket still has something to say for itself. (Rather like the Yohei Fukua shoes - where it’s the bespoke waist and perhaps the delicate colouring that do the talking.)

The way I enjoy wearing it most today though, is with jeans and a polo shirt as below. Suddenly we’re playing with contrasts: a very smart material against the roughness of denim; a very sharp cut against the softness of the polo. 

Readers often ask for clear answers, for rules, and I get that. When you’re learning it makes everything a lot easier and faster. 

But the fun really comes with messing around with those rules and finding out how combinations can work in less easy ways. 

Here, for example, the jeans wouldn’t work (as I’ve tried it) if they were indigo, or more heavily faded, or a less straight cut. The polo needs a collar that actually stands up underneath the jacket. I also wouldn’t normally tuck it in, but the punctuation of the belt buckle stops it all from being too plain. 

There’s real style in these contrasts, I think, but it’s a more delicate thing to put together - a more complicated recipe (as Alois would put it). 

I like the look in the evening, as that suits the dark colours and the touch of drama. I know many others that say their bespoke commissions are often designed for dressing up these days - for events, usually in the evening - and this would fit well. 

Of course, a more glamorous event would suit cocktail attire, which is itself a really enjoyable modern way to wearing tailoring. And a more casual evening might be best with a navy knit, the style coming more from the play of navy and black, and little accessories (brown suede boots, perhaps, and an interesting brown suede belt). 

I can even see a theory of evening dress that divides outfits into those three types - cocktail attire, jacket/jeans and knitwear/jeans - but where they share ideas of materials, darkness and personality in the details.

One for another day. Today I hope you found interesting and useful my exploration of why I enjoy by Caraceni jacket so much - and two different ways I do. 

The other items shown are: Rubato black polo shirt; Ludens black crocodile belt; vintage Levi's black jeans; Edward Green black Piccadilly loafers; Yohei Fukuda oxfords; Simone Abbarchi white poplin shirt; Caliendo charcoal worsted trousers. 

I am also in debt to Carl and Oliver at Rubato for their constant style inspiration. Carl himself wears something very similar. 

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I find this article a little contradictory given that you’ve always rather dismissed the notion of a bespoke blazer with jeans in the past.
Have your views mellowed a little over time?


If I not mistaken isn’t she the tailor that made your PS tweed jacket ?
And also the grey herringbone featured recently ?

I love the 3 jackets and even brought the PS tweed and had it made by a London tailor . Although they couldn’t (or maybe I don’t have the body ) pull off the softness and the beautiful lapel roll which again is on display in this navy jacket .

I’m planning on getting a foible breasted jacket this year so this is a timely article .
Just seems more sensible as the double breasted cover more of the chest in cold weather .

Peter Bodach-Söderström

That jacket looks amazing. Maybe – as it’s dry January – you should have a “post your favourite item”? Much like the “you ask the questions” bit you did?

Aaron L

Might be hard to get photos that do the items justice.


Enjoyed reading this article thanks Simon, very contemporary version and utility of the classic navy blazer

Eric Michel

Wearing a tie seems to become fast the quintessential proof you are a non-conformist in this casual world. Really like this blazer, and would have loved to see it in a more formal attire, as it was intended to be worn when designed. Even if I really like it worn with denim, there is a portion of me who feels that going bespoke for casual clothes may be a bit extreme. A bespoke jacket is designed to be worn buttoned. Here, the shoulders are beautiful, but I have a hard time to value the cut in most of the other pictures.


I can see the fun of the exercise, but the beauty of the blazer comes into its own in a classic setting as in the bottom pictures.


Do you have any guidlines when to wear a popeline shirt? I have several of them which I really like, but I find them difficult to wear since I rarely wear formal suits any more. I wear oxfords, denim-shirts etc far more often. Is a popeline shirt out of place under a grey flannel suit? It seems to fine/summery in comparison. I am asking in this month’s spirit of finding more use for my cloths. Thanks!


Are there any advantages of poplin over fine twills? I feel that even if poplin is considered more formal, it wrinkles so fast that it almost immediately looks worse than a twill shirt.


Hi Simon,
I see the loafers in the last pic, but you also seem to wearing a pair of Oxfords, no?


The Caraceni DBs are easily my favourite of your tailored kit (annoyingly also the among the most expensive and least convenient for those of us not Milan based). The SB doesn’t seem to work quite as well. Have you tinkered with the pattern at all or do you chalk this up simply to the differences between their SBs and DBs? Cheers.


Interesting. Your F. Caraceni Herringbone Suit in “Bespoke Style” is my favorite from the whole book.


Also sorry forgot to add – do Nicoletta’s DBs roll to the bottom button as well in the same way the other Caraceni DBs seem to do (transformable DBs I think they call them…) or are they strictly 6×4 set up?


“That said, it would not necessarily have been suitable in my previous life, working in a City office. In a world of very standard suits and ties, it would have stood out too much (no one would even be wearing a DB, let alone this DB).“

With the passage of time and change in dress codes in the City, how would you feel about this now?


Wrong, I work in the City at a very prominent law firm. In a see of New Balance , chinos and maybe, maybe a shirt a DB jacket or a suit bring zero bad attention . You only get compliments. For more of context I’m an IT manager , not a high flying Partner, and I wear a DB at least 2 times a week. Nobody cares and if anything you get compliments. Wearing a suit and tie is nowadays so alterative in the uber casual workplaces that the only attention you get is positive. If anything people treat you more seriously than anything else. The only limitation is in your head but if you are comfortable in your skin than your clothes will show that.

david rl fan

recent spate of Korean commissions part – meant to be apart?
useful my exploration of why I enjoy by Caraceni jacket so much – by jacket – my jacket
Now I really hope I’ve got my grammar right,
Readers often ask for clear answers, for rules, and I get that. When you’re learning it makes everything a lot easier and faster. But the fun really comes with messing around with those rules and finding out how combinations can work in less easy ways.
This is something I’ve struggled with, in all the photos the jacket and trousers seem so superficially the same colour, is working out that they go together something that you learn through experience and trial and error? For example, a grey jacket with blue trousers versus grey trousers and blue jacket, only upon reflection can I see that grey trousers/navy top works much better.
To use the metaphor given, it’s like a more complicated recipe and the better you get at cooking the more complex dishes you can make? And even things like the stiffness of a polo collar makes a big, maybe even decisive difference to whether the outfit works or not?


I like these sorts of articles where you describe how you wear a particular garment. These look good.
I’ve also been experimenting with a tweed DB jacket (not Napolitan) and jeans. I felt that, unlike an SB, a more structured DB does work with certain jeans for some reason. You made a similar point in your article about t-shirts and tailoring. Perhaps because DBs used to be considered more casual (and that association lingers on) or perhaps because it’s possible to wear them in a more slouchy way by keeping them open.


These days a DB suit is seen as more formal, although as you say the fact they’re unusual might make a jacket seem less smart.
I had read that the historic origin of the DB was naval clothing (ie. peacoats) and in its earlier days, such jackets were made for sporting pursuits. Assuming that’s correct, its origins may have been more informal but of course that has little relevance today.

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Dou you think that dark navy cloths in Harrisons Moonbeam book could work similarly for ajacket like this? It’s 10/11oz 75% Lambswool, 25% Angora. Thank you. 


Lovely jacket, and I also like to deliberately wear a formal jacket with jeans to play with formality (inspired by your article on Nicoletta Caraceni wearing her father’s suit jacket as a blazer).

Picture 2 had me thinking about trousers width, as your trousers seem particularly slim.
When I started reading PS, your trousers seemed wide as I was wearing slimmers cuts. A few years ago, when I really started paying attention to balance, cuts, jackets length and trousers width, I thought your trousers had the perfect width. Now that my tastes have matured, I rather enjoy a fuller cut, and I feel like the outfit you’re picturing would look better with a fullerr trouser, to balance the width of the shoulder and the strong structure of the jacket. Just my 2 cents

Jack Linney

How would you compare the shoulder to something like a Liverano & Liverano (or are they not comparable at all)?

Jack Linney

Thanks, Simon! The shoulder does look a bit similar. It is helpful to get your insight on it.
As you answer almost all comments, you probably do not remember this, but I have been considering a second tailor with a different style to the US-based structured tailor I have used. I ask because I selected two to try out. One is Liverano (who comes to the US frequently) and the other Lawton, as I will be in London for a significant chunk of March and April. I know the latter is not unstructured at all, but I find her sense of style both intriguing and daring. I have never imposed an office dress code, so I dress just for me.
Much appreciated!


just curious about the fabric you used for a blazer? A heavyweight hopsack seems to be standard but I’ve always gravitated toward cashmere blazers.
also, I was considering asking for blond horn buttons on my next blazer.


Very interesting idea for a jacket that doesn’t quite ‘work’ with jeans in the usual sense. The outfit is really characterful with the play of black and navy, and of course the cut of the jacket. Even the one with grey trousers and white shirt feels like something more than the standard uniform.

On another note, I’d love to see an article breaking down different evening looks, I’m imagining something akin to ‘The three wardrobes that define my week’. I’ve been thinking a lot about evening clothes recently, especially how to use mostly my existing clothes (so no change to jacket cut or material for example), an article in that spirit would be in keeping with the ‘dry January’ and perhaps useful for readers with more compact wardrobes.


Great jacket & really impressed with Caraceni. Perhaps also my favoured tailor. Great heritage, great style, exceptionally well made. Amongst the very best if not the best.


Simon what are your thoughts on a DB notch lapel suit/sports coat?


Hi, thanks for your reply Simon. Could you name some of the 80s designers who did DB notch lapel tailoring? Also to your knowledge was the DB notch lapel ever in fashion before the 80s? Thanks Simon.


I have seen pictures of pre-1980s DB notched lapel jackets but they are very rare. In the 1910s and early 1920s DB jackets often had a “fishmouth” lapel, which is sort of between a peaked and a notched lapel. It think it would look very anachronistic to wear something like that today though.

Link to an online picture I found.
comment image.webp


Recently you posted on Seiji’s coat/jacket.
This is much more sartorial and potentially closer to my desire for a, “button up against the weather, unbutton for indoors” jacket.
I am not sure if I missed the actual weight / potential warmth, you mention 90/10 wool/cashmere.
It looks great, full, but not big. Jacket not coat.
Is it warm enough for most cool/cold weather short stints, what I would think of a as an autumn/winter city jacket?


Hey Simon-

Have you considered selling off some items that you don’t wear anymore? I’m sure plenty of readers would appreciate it:)


Hi Simon: A rather random question/observation if I may. I attended a New York funeral today along with a large number of rather stylishly dressed young men and women. Most notable was the prevalence of men wearing suits and no ties but with black dress sneakers (trainers in the UK?) with white soles. A trend or a faux pas in your opinion? Many thanks.


You’d be better off with a fuller cut pair of jeans. This silhouette looks a tad top heavy.


Simon I have to say that there are times when I find the “look” you are promoting is great, and times when it is not. This is one of the latter.
My personal view would be to only wear a jacket like this with plenty of contrast in the trouser. Tan, beige, olive, ecru etc would, I think lift the whole thing. The monobloc of colour is not something I appreciate too much.
Just my thoughts.


James I have to respectfully disagree here. My speculation is that Simon’s always developing looks and testing ideas in his outfits. Sort of like an ongoing look-book. Some looks are not complete, and you just have to take parts of the ideas and combinations. e.g. the first look is great on the top half, but could use some work on the bottom half. I would recommend some charcoal grey trousers with a black over-check for a more sartorial look, but once those black jeans get a bit more fading to them they’ll definitely work well.
The second look is just classic menswear Trad styling.
I’m enjoying this new chapter of Simon’s style. James I would recommend you search for Ivy Style or Trad Style on Instagram to find what your looking for in terms of coloration. Simon’s in his own lane at this point.


Thanks, Simon, for another inspirational article. I was struggling to wear a navy DB casually, but I might try black jeans as you did here. Given how this worked with a structured jacket, would you say black jeans is more versatile than indigo jeans? For example, would this work with your charcoal donegal jacket from Steven Hitchcock, which is quite structured? Does it work because black jeans (which actually may be a very deep charcoal) is neutral much like how versatile grey trousers are? Having that said, for shoes I’d guess options will be more limited to black loafers or derbies in a grained leather? This is very interesting as it’s a solution to two questions which I’m not yet able to breakthrough – wearing structured tailoring casually, and adding black to my wardrobe.


Still no plan to try any of the other Caracenis?


Hi Philip, I am a long time client of Ferdinando Caraceni and have also had a jacket made by Tommy and Giulio Caraceni. The T&G jacket is a SB, whereas I have both SB and DB from Ferdinando.
Both are excellent tailors and I am very happy with the work that both have done for me. The style of the SB T&G Caraceni is very similar to Ferdinando. They maybe use very slightly lighter padding in the shoulders, but the difference is quite minimal. I can’t yet speak to the DB from personal experience, it also looks quite similar based on what I have seen in the works at T&G for other clients.
There are also a lot of other similarities in terms of experience: neither Nicoletta nor Andrea Caraceni are cutters, both have stayed very loyal to the traditional house style, both have a big focus on and selection of vintage cloths, all work done is in house, neither do trunk shows.
If you go to Milan frequently, I can highly recommend Ferdinando. Similar for T&G if you go to Rome frequently.
I cannot speak to A. Caraceni, as I have never tried them (and don’t plan to).


Extremely versatile piece. I think in a heavy weight wool, worn with a crewneck jumper this could even work as “tailoring as outerwear” as discussed in your other recent post.


While I like the jacket for its less structured and easy wearing aura compared to most db jackets in the wild, personally I don’t think these jeans work in this case. To me it seems that these particular jeans drag the jacket and loafers down and not in a good way. From the funeral example above, this feels like something someone who has no dark dress trousers would wear when he needs to meet minimal formality standards.

Aside from that I do find the whole silhouette in the image intriguing, with its exaggerated shoulders and long legs with tight waist, it reminds me of character designs from older Japanese animations. I wonder if locals in Tokyo also noticed and were stimulated by this resemblance.

Charlie P

Would you try the same jacket and polo with very washed out blue jeans? Could look cool I think, albeit a less subtle high/low combo


Apologies, I just noticed this image was photographed during your Korean trip and not in Japan, oh well.


Personally I don’t think cashmere ever goes with jeans of any colour.
The cloth is just too smooth and creates a jarring contrast with the roughness of denim.
It’s a fabulous jacket and would look great with flannels.
Also, I have to say the open neck look is starting to be very ubiquitous.

A woman who loves to read about men's style

The outfit in the second photo, with the white shirt and matte trousers, is my favorite on you. It might be my favorite look on you ever. When a man looks put together, “striking, but without any element that stands out,” I’m going to conclude it’s the man, not the clothes. I hope you wear this combination often.


What is the main difference to your Caliendo DB Jacket? Darker colour, more belly on the lapel or shoulders? I am asking because I remember you saying you should have gotten the Caliendo in a SB; maybe that changed again and the jacket gets more use again?


What kind of pockets does the Caraceni have that you are stuffing your hands into? The photos are too dark to tell.


Love this. How much would I have to pay for a Caraceni DB like this?


great article ! I have a question , can a blue wool double breasted herringbone jacket with blue buttons worn as a blazer ? Either with jeans or blue wool trousers ? Or the pattern is too formal that allows you only to wear it with either the same fabric trousers or with grey wool and flannel?

Fabrizio Gatti

Dear Simon, I own two navy blue DB jackets by A. Caraceni. They are made in the same fashion and shape as the one you are wearing. 1) One has the traditional bright gold-like buttons and the other matte silver-like buttons. I would like to change them (particularly the gold ones) since nowadays I find them too obvious, common and flashy (unless you are a navy officer or a royal). I am thinking horn or corozo dark brown, blue or black. What would you recommend? 2) Other than gray flannel or white/off white trousers, what other color would you consider? Green, brown? I would avoid kaki with navy blue jacket since it has become too obvious and widespread in the US (the so called preppy look). Thank you for your help, Fabrizio

Fabrizio Gatti

Thank you, Simon!


Hello sir,
Your reply to my question has been greatly helpful throughout my menswear journey.
A bit off topic, but the question is, I’m planning a navy blazer with a school coat of arms/ badge for my master’s degree in UK. Would love to have your opinion on detail such as pocket style, or any thing that comes to your mind. Thank you for your time and assistance.
p.s. I’m two suite, couple trousers and a overcoat into the bespoke journey, Huntsman and Igarashi trousers are the tailors I’m currently using
Kind regards,