tailor

(Re)introducing Simply Bespoke

SB jacket - P5312103 retouch.jpg

We initially launched with the idea of enabling customers with their own high-quality cloth to work easily and frictionlessly with a superb Sicilian tailor. 

Then last fall we introduced the Essential Bespoke line aimed at first-time bespoke customers. Similar to traditional bespoke, Essential Bespoke includes cloth. The great benefit of this new line is radically simplifying your decision process to just one item - blue or gray. We take care of everything else. 

Now we'd like to give our original idea of working with customer-supplied cloth the clarity of its own name - Simply Bespoke.  We've added a name but the idea remains the same. 

With Simply Bespoke, you enjoy sourcing and selecting your own cloth as well as owning the process of managing how much cloth you need for your commissions.

This more hands-on approach is not for everyone but can be a very satisfying experience for quite a few!

Why is Sicily the "black swan" of bespoke tailoring?

Black swans are the rare exceptions to the norm and defy conventional wisdom.

So why do I consider Sicily the “black swan” of bespoke tailoring, the last secret left for sartorialists?

To learn why, watch my new video below:

Learn why Sicily is the last secret in bespoke tailoring and why it deserves to be recognized along with the more well-known sartorial destinations of Naples and Savile Row. Also discover the two best ways to experience Sicilian tailoring by traveling to Sicily armed with Sleevehead's Guide to Sicilian Tailors or working with Sicilian Reserve, a bespoke platform for Sicilian tailors to meet US and European clients.

Preparing your commission - how flexible is our tailor?

For those who are new to Sicilian tailors or bespoke tailoring, you may be wondering how flexible our tailor is and the kinds of features you can specify for your bespoke commission. That's a great question.

The tailor we’re working with can make clothes for a variety of body types and can accommodate a wide range of style choices. His clients run the gamut from children to adults. He has dressed men and women from across a variety of professions from business and academia to opera and the arts. 

In terms of shape and silhouette, he has done quite a bit of stage/theatrical costume work so if you want retro, eccentric and unusual he can do so without batting an eye. Even more so if you want classic and conservative style.

You might have experienced or read that many tailors have a preferred house style that they are reluctant to deviate from. A house style might typically have a fixed jacket length for a specific height, open or closed fronts, a specific amount of waist suppression, a high or low button stance, a high or low gorge height and a specific lapel width.

If you’re unsure, our tailor will certainly make suggestions for your commission. But you are not constrained by them, especially if you have a clear idea of your commission or are experienced with bespoke. When I was looking for the right tailor to work with, flexibility was one of my top criteria and it's a key reason why I chose this tailor. 

I came to this conclusion after spending hours talking to him and his coworkers in his workshop and viewing multiple examples of his finished work and those in progress. Based on what I saw, the tailor is fully capable of executing your choices technically and attitudinally.

For example, I went with a shorter length on the sample jacket than I normally wear even though the tailor suggested a slightly longer one. I also wanted fairly open jacket fronts. For the sample pants, I let him make his default style which tends to be slim and lower rise.

In addition, I had the opportunity to meet and chat with a local client during one of his fittings. This particular client had very specific and unconventional requirements for his evening velvet jacket. Moreover, he was challenging to fit properly because of his forward abdomen and swayback. But based on what I heard from the client, the tailor accommodated both client preferences and fit without any issues technically and attitudinally.

P4240700.JPG

In sum, you will have flexibility, if you choose to exercise it, in a number of areas. 

For jackets these include (but are not limited to):

  • Shoulder type (manica camicia or classic shoulder)
  • Length of jacket
  • Lapel type
  • Gorge height
  • Button stance
  • Pocket type (patch, flap or welted)
  • Number of internal pockets
  • Number of sleeve buttons
  • Vents

For pants these include (but are not limited to):

  • Normal or higher waist
  • Ease around seat
  • Pocket types and positioning (e.g. slant side pockets, one back pocket on the right)
  • Belted waistband v. side adjusters
  • Zipper v. buttoned fly
  • Pleated or plain front
  • Hidden coin pocket (left or right)
  • Preferred leg opening width

On the uniqueness of Sicilian tailoring

In my view, Sicilian tailoring constitutes a third school of bespoke tailoring distinct from the two other well-known options - Savile Row and Naples. In a nutshell, Savile Row embodies sobriety and discretion in a jacket while Naples embodies exuberance (i.e. less structure). As a matter of attitude, Sicilian tailoring is more reserved than Naples but “smiles” a bit more than London. The result is a subtly different shape and silhouette of the Sicilian jacket and pants compared to their more familiar counterparts.

What accounts for these subtle nuances? Every single Sicilian tailor I have met is rooted in a specific place. Place grounds and integrates the tailor and his workshop. Place becomes inseparable from craft. This convergence of place and craft also helps paints a clear picture of what you’re wearing and why. 

I think this authenticity is appealing to a certain type of person. 

Because they are very localized and less known, Sicilian tailors also create a rarer product than London and Naples in terms of production output. The difference is an order of magnitude or more - hundreds as opposed to tens of thousands of suits per year. 

Sicilian Reserve is trying to do something truly different from the bespoke norm. We are trying to offer affordability, preserve rarity and ensure continuity as long as it remains possible.

Preparing for the fittings

The first fitting will last up to one hour. For new customers, the meeting will focus on assessing the fit of the basted jacket prepared by the tailor and his workshop. The featured tailor will make any necessary adjustments to your jacket, pants or other garment being fitted. 

The basted jacket will consist of a partially finished jacket body (sleeves may be attached for returning customers). Pants may be semi-finished except for length, pockets and buttons. Optionally, we may take additional photos or video of you during the fitting as a reference for the tailor. 

Similar to the measurements meeting, we recommend you wear your best fitting shirt, ideally MTM or bespoke, that represents the type of shirt you’ll wear with the jacket you’ve ordered. This is critical in gauging your sleeve length. 

More generally, we will be finalizing key items such as button stance/height, jacket length and sleeve length. It is essential that you are fully comfortable with your choices and that you fully approve the changes made at the fitting. These choices are often not reversible (e.g. button stance/height or sleeve length) once made.

Finally, we can also receive cloth for any new orders you have placed as well as return a bespoke garment you have designated for duplication. 

Preparing for our first meeting - measurements

Our first meeting will take approximately an hour with the following agenda: 

  1. Take key measurements and photos for the tailor to draft a pattern
  2. Receive and check your cloth for sufficient length and detect and mark any irregularities for the tailor
  3. Confirm key features of your order
  4. Receive a bespoke garment to re-create (if applicable)

To maximize our time together, we suggest the following: 

  1. Wear your best fitting shirt, ideally MTM or bespoke, that represents the type of shirt you’ll wear with the jacket you’ve ordered
  2. Bring or wear your best fitting jacket
  3. Consider bringing a backup cloth in the unlikely scenario that your cloth is defective or insufficient length

We know that quite a few MTM brands allow you to take your own measurements. Unfortunately, we have looked at this option and believe it introduces too much noise and imprecision into a critical part of the bespoke process.