Broke and Bespoke

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Craftsmanship.

Napoli Su Misura: I’ll take one in every fabric, please…

I went in to San Francisco yesterday to meet up with Gus (abitofcolor) to document his meeting with Napoli Su Misura, the Neapolitan bespoke tailoring house that’s in town for the weekend doing measurings and fittings.

It was my first time seeing the fancy bespoke process in action, and it was quite fun. Napoli Su Misura had taken a small suite in the Orchard Hotel near Union Square, and the living area was filled with books of swatches including these two books of gorgeous fabrics from Holland & Sherry. In an ideal world, I’d commission a sport coat in nearly every one of these fabrics and call in done…

Fabric for a Jacket
I picked up some cloth at one of my local fabric shops the other day for a very good price. It’s nothing fancy—no Holland & Sherry, Ermenegildo Zegna, Loro Piana, J.J. Minnis, or anything like that, but it is pure wool, medium weight but quite breathable, and a perfect weight for an unstructured and unlined Spring/Summer jacket. 2 1/2 yards (the fabric is 62” wide) is the perfect amount for such a jacket, and it was priced to sell at $20 for the full 2 1/2 yards.
I’ll either hold on to it until my next trip to Beijing where I can drop it off at the local tailor I use there, or I might consider giving Luxire a try. Many folks over on StyleForvm have had great success with having unstructured jackets made by them, and I believe the cost is something around $200 if you provide your own fabric. Very affordable for a custom jacket (with lots of handwork too from pictures I’ve seen), and if the shirt I recently received from Luxire is anything to go by, I’d think the jacket would be well worth the price.
Though the updates likely won’t be too frequent, I will post whatever pics I can get of this process if and when it begins to unfold…

Fabric for a Jacket

I picked up some cloth at one of my local fabric shops the other day for a very good price. It’s nothing fancy—no Holland & Sherry, Ermenegildo Zegna, Loro Piana, J.J. Minnis, or anything like that, but it is pure wool, medium weight but quite breathable, and a perfect weight for an unstructured and unlined Spring/Summer jacket. 2 1/2 yards (the fabric is 62” wide) is the perfect amount for such a jacket, and it was priced to sell at $20 for the full 2 1/2 yards.

I’ll either hold on to it until my next trip to Beijing where I can drop it off at the local tailor I use there, or I might consider giving Luxire a try. Many folks over on StyleForvm have had great success with having unstructured jackets made by them, and I believe the cost is something around $200 if you provide your own fabric. Very affordable for a custom jacket (with lots of handwork too from pictures I’ve seen), and if the shirt I recently received from Luxire is anything to go by, I’d think the jacket would be well worth the price.

Though the updates likely won’t be too frequent, I will post whatever pics I can get of this process if and when it begins to unfold…

I was just looking over my old posts on StyleForvm—since I’ve recently started checking in over there again after a very long hiatus (not that I ever posted much, but I lurked plenty)—and came upon this post from 2010 I thought might interest some readers here.

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I was just reading this week’s New Yorker and came across this sartorially relevant line in Jill Lepore’s piece about the George Washington biographical-industrial-complex:

"Beginning in the eighteen-twenties, Sparks [an early biographer of Washington’s] traveled all over the United States and across Europe, gathering the lost, scattered, and junked papers of the Revolutionary generation. Sheaves of Benjamin Franklin’s papers had wound up in a tailor’s shop on St. James’s Street in London; some of them had been cut into sleeve patterns." 

You Never Know What Will Become Your Favorite…
Though it’s hard to tell what it looks like from the picture, this thrift find, a vintage Southwick for Cable Car Clothiers tweed jacket, is quickly becoming my favorite sport coat, and probably the only item I own (that isn’t shoes) that sees use at least once a week.
It wasn’t expensive ($10) initially, but I loved the fabric and fit of it in the shoulders so much that I broke one of my own general thrifting rules—not to have things tailored, because that’s expensive—and spent an extra $50 having the sides taken in considerably.

The jacket, as mentioned above, originally came from San Francisco’s famed men’s haberdashery Cable Car Clothiers, “San Francisco’s British Goods Store” (where a lot of my favorite thrifted items come from), and was, I believe, likely a MTM piece for a man with a rather significant middle region but shoulders the size of a regular 40R. The jacket has a very traditional American cut; it’s undarted, has a 3 roll 2 lapel, and natural shoulders. And that’s what really stuck out to me when I came across it at the thrift. The shoulders were perfect; not too narrow, not too padded, not unpadded. 
When I tried the jacket on, however, it did indeed fit perfectly in the shoulders, but was gigantic in the body. The coat was in excellent condition though, so I decided to buy it and invest the money in having it tailored. I’m delighted I did so because I love it. It’s warm, incredibly comfortable, has a nice slimming (I think) look, but is actually more loose fitting than many other jackets I own.
It’s amazing what a good tailor can do to bring a garment that fits you poorly (as long as the fundamental points are there; the shoulders in this case) into a thing of beauty that fits you so well you don’t even notice you’re wearing it.

You Never Know What Will Become Your Favorite…

Though it’s hard to tell what it looks like from the picture, this thrift find, a vintage Southwick for Cable Car Clothiers tweed jacket, is quickly becoming my favorite sport coat, and probably the only item I own (that isn’t shoes) that sees use at least once a week.

It wasn’t expensive ($10) initially, but I loved the fabric and fit of it in the shoulders so much that I broke one of my own general thrifting rules—not to have things tailored, because that’s expensive—and spent an extra $50 having the sides taken in considerably.

The jacket, as mentioned above, originally came from San Francisco’s famed men’s haberdashery Cable Car Clothiers, “San Francisco’s British Goods Store” (where a lot of my favorite thrifted items come from), and was, I believe, likely a MTM piece for a man with a rather significant middle region but shoulders the size of a regular 40R. The jacket has a very traditional American cut; it’s undarted, has a 3 roll 2 lapel, and natural shoulders. And that’s what really stuck out to me when I came across it at the thrift. The shoulders were perfect; not too narrow, not too padded, not unpadded. 

When I tried the jacket on, however, it did indeed fit perfectly in the shoulders, but was gigantic in the body. The coat was in excellent condition though, so I decided to buy it and invest the money in having it tailored. I’m delighted I did so because I love it. It’s warm, incredibly comfortable, has a nice slimming (I think) look, but is actually more loose fitting than many other jackets I own.

It’s amazing what a good tailor can do to bring a garment that fits you poorly (as long as the fundamental points are there; the shoulders in this case) into a thing of beauty that fits you so well you don’t even notice you’re wearing it.

America’s Finest: Oxxford Clothes, Chicago, IL.

I came across this jacket last winter in one of my favorite thrift shops. It had recently come into the know about some of the high-end brands they often had in stock and had adjusted their prices accordingly. On the day I bought this there were some St. Andrew’s and Luciano Barbera suits on the racks in addition to the Oxxford sport coat pictured above. This jacket fit me perfectly with no alterations required, and was a steal at $45 (the St. Andrew’s and Luciano Barbera suits were priced around $250, and I’m not really sure why this Oxxford wasn’t similarly priced). Just another lesson in the value of a good thrift find. Dressing in quality handmade clothing doesn’t always have to set you back thousands of dollars. 

Stopped by the fabric store today. Found this beautiful Italian fabric made out of 100% bamboo. The picture does not even come close to doing the pattern, hand, and texture justice. A lovely light sage green with faint white windowpaning. Would make an amazing Spring jacket—totally unstructured, lined only in the sleeves…Too bad I’m not headed to Beijing any time soon or I would buy some yardage for sure…Would use these corozo nut buttons too.

Stopped by the fabric store today. Found this beautiful Italian fabric made out of 100% bamboo. The picture does not even come close to doing the pattern, hand, and texture justice. A lovely light sage green with faint white windowpaning. Would make an amazing Spring jacket—totally unstructured, lined only in the sleeves…Too bad I’m not headed to Beijing any time soon or I would buy some yardage for sure…Would use these corozo nut buttons too.