05th October, 2013


Our Sartorial Guide is back, for all the aspiring, slightly trained or experienced A-Men tailored consumers out there.


And what best way to start if not by kicking off with one of the most famous and copied (and desired) suit style and cut: the Italian.


As a quick reference and a reminder from our previous conversations (and blog posts), please find below a recap on the three most famous sartorial cuts for suits and jackets: the American, the British, the Italian.


We decided to kick off this section with the Italian cut, which is for many reasons, one of the most adopted in recent years, not only by the biggest Italian fashion houses (Armani, Zegna, Brioni), but also by some of the new or revamped brands (Dior, Saint Laurent, etc).





The Italian suit is considered one of the heights of fashion - it can fit many different body styles, and tends to be highly tailored, leading to a clean, well polished suit. 


The best fit is anyway destined to thin and slim body types, given to the characteristics outlined below.


The typical corporate "power" suit is an Italian suit.  Because of the wide shoulder and small waists, it tends to create a well defined "triangle" on the body, which is associated with power.  This type of suit tends to make thinner people look great. 


However, it can be difficult for an American (with his somewhat wider shoulders for body size) to comfortably fit an Italian suit.  They are tailored for a European man, who (on average) have thinner shoulders. 


The classic Italian suit has the following qualities:


-Highly padded shoulders

-Very highly tapered (this tends to create a very thin waist in comparison to an American suit)

-Thick lapels

-Mid gorge

-No vent.  Generally, the taper seen in an Italian suit is tailored in, and not created with the use of vents.  This means that it can have a "cleaner" look, but it doesn't move quite as well as a British or American suit.

-Notch lapel

-Came come in two or three button styles

A well fit Italian suit is considered very upscale, very trendy, and more "hip" than a conservative British suit or a somewhat comfortable American type suit. 


The "big" name suitmakers are italian, and include Zegna, Armani, Gucci, Valentino, Canali, Brioni, Kiton, etc.



One of the "exceptions" in terms of style cut (but at the same time one of the most famous in recent years) within the "family" of the Italian cut is the "Neapolitan".


When talking about Neapolitan tailoring, the discussion will invariably lead to the most famous feature of a Neapolitan jacket - the soft shoulder.  


The soft shoulder is a Neapolitan specialty, but it is not in itself the sole criterion that defines a Neapolitan jacket - not all Neapolitan tailors use it, and certainly not all tailors who use it are Neapolitan.  


If we refer to the picture on the left, we can see that there are several other common design elements to a Neapolitan jacket aside from the soft shoulder (A).  


Neapolitan jackets are often made with larger arms (B), wider lapels (C), more open quarters (D), and are often shorter than their British counterparts (E).   


The famous soft shoulder that Neapolitan jackets are renowned for are created through the use of minimal (and sometimes non-existent) padding and canvas interlining.  


By using less padding, Neapolitan tailors are able to create a garment with a natural shoulder that is softer, lighter and airier compared to the typical English jacket. 

The minimal use of padding is not the only defining feature of a Neapolitan-style shoulder, as mentioned earlier, Neapolitan jackets are often made with wider sleeves.  


These wide sleeves contribute to a visual cue that has become a telltale sign of Neapolitan tailoring - shirring in the sleevehead.


We hope you liked this article...