The Italian Cover Up

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April being the month when traveling tailors visit, that means meeting foreign men in hotel rooms, undressing and dressing, and sometimes taking pictures. My first meeting was with Napoli Su Misura, who was in downtown San Francisco over the weekend, seeing clients at the Orchard Hotel. They brought with them the four garments from my latest order: a cigar linen suit made from W. Bill fabric, a brown gun club faux tweed made from Hardy’s Worsted Alsport, a blue Fresco sport coat, and a pair of grey Minnis flannel odd trousers.

During the fitting, I asked Dino if he could extend the shoulder line a bit on each of my three jackets. I’m unfortunately very skinny and have unusually narrow shoulders. With a jacket that shows and tells all, I think it reveals my rather unmasculine figure. So to hide some of it, I thought I’d ask for the shoulders to be broadened a bit, past where my natural shoulders end. 

The dilemma with asking for this on a softly tailored coat is that without any support at the sleevehead, the extra fabric will just collapse and “flop” over. So instead of going fully soft, Napoli Su Misura will put a bit of wadding at the sleevehead to give support.  Wadding differs from padding in that padding is a full shoulder pad, sometimes quite thick, whereas wadding is a semi-circular, thinly padded material that covers just the end of the shoulder. According to Dino, this should allow me to get a slightly broader line while still maintaining a soft, Neapolitan look.

We’ll see how the experiment turns out, but in my (non-technically trained) mind, I can’t see why one can’t have all the things we love about Italian tailoring – the soft construction and casual, relaxed look – while putting in some things to help hide our deficiencies. Liverano, for example, makes a softly constructed jacket with an extended shoulder line, and StyleForum member iammmat has the same modification on his Rubinacci jackets. I think the effect is something very casual, relaxed, and masculine. This flies in the face of that idea that we must choose between looking natural and hiding our defects (anyone remember that terrible video where the Scimat guys attacked Jeremy Hackett over this?). Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong at my next fitting, but if I am, NSM can revert to their default natural shoulder, so no harm will be done. 


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    Love the way the linen suit turned out. Personally I favor a fuller leg, I fooled around with my pants and ended up...
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