Click on the image for more wonderful photos of their London store
Before I get into the review of the suit, I want to explain why I chose Anglo-Italian for this commission. As you likely know, most of my wardrobe is composed of pieces from mid-tier brands like Suitsupply and increasingly lately, Spier & MacKay. This is always going to be my mainstay because I try to keep my spending on menswear within reasonable limits, but as a perfectionist I’m increasingly frustrated with the minor imperfections of ready-to-wear (RTW) and the time-consuming and often expensive alterations required to fix them.
At the same time, I wanted to try entry-level luxury tailoring, preferably in made-to-measure (MTM) to avoid the above-mentioned problems with RTW. The problem is this segment of the market is quite limited. I thought about trying Ring Jacket from The Armoury, but their RTW suits cost from $1400 to $1800 and MTM starts at $2350. Other alternatives were Sartoria Formosa and Sartoria Carrara from No Man Walks Alone, but they were similarly priced and still RTW. In comparison, this Anglo-Italian suit cost $1,800 and seemed reasonable given the level of hand work and the customized fit. It is the most expensive tailoring purchase I’ve made and one I can’t and won’t make often or even yearly, but as I slowly work to upgrade my wardrobe it was the right choice at the time.
I don’t want to give you the impression the choice was merely made for the price though. Anglo-Italian’s style represents the best of both the English and Italian tailoring traditions, as their name suggests, and you need only quickly browse their website or Instagram or glimpse one of the founders Alex and Jake, to immediately understand Anglo-Italian has captured the mood of this moment in menswear.
If you live in London, you can visit Anglo-Italian’s store in Marylebone, but for those of us in the US, you need to make an appointment at one of their trunk shows in New York or Los Angeles. Alex visits both cities every few months. I learned of one of their NYC trunks shows from Instagram and I started a conversation via DM that quickly transitioned to email. Luckily, I was able to get an appointment for the trunk show that weekend (June 1st). Alex took my measurements in a stock suit and that suit went back to London to create my pattern for production.
Ten weeks later (August 15th), I received my suit at home in DC. Alex had instructed me to wear it a few times to determine what needed adjusting, but unfortunately, it wasn’t close enough to the mark for that. As you can see in one of the pictures above from the second fitting, the sleeves were too long (hitting mid-hand), the waist of the jacket needed a good amount of slimming, and the inseam was too long. A minor cosmetic detail was wrong as well, I'd asked for only one rear pocket, on the left side, and the trousers came with one right rear pocket. I emailed Alex and he assured me everything was easily fixable and he would be in touch when he would be in NYC next.
Alex emailed in early October letting me know he'd be in NYC that upcoming weekend (October 12th). Despite the short notice I was able to make the trip for the second fitting, which was painless and very quick. I also picked up a wonderful Shetland sweater, which some of you may have seen. I received the final just after Christmas.
Alex is positively lovely and has many great stories to tell which make every trunk show with him enjoyable. However, as with many traveling tailors, communication could probably be improved somewhat. The length of the process, over six months, wasn’t necessarily a problem, but there was either some overpromising on delivery times or lack of communication that my suit was going to run over the usual production timeline. Of course, now that I have an established pattern, all I need to do is ask for fabric swatches and order at my convenience, which makes the initial somewhat lengthy process more tolerable.
One other process improvement I would recommend is a change of location. In NYC, Alex conducts his trunk shows at the Nomad Hotel. While a lovely establishment, the basement library lacks the natural lighting necessary to facilitate fittings.
I needed a business suit, one that would largely blend in, but stand out to those in-the-know. I picked a double-breasted suit, because it’s Anglo-Italian’s more distinct offering, whereas their single-breasted suits are similar to many other Neapolitan designs. Keeping with the business theme, I picked a delightfully dry-handed and subtlety textured charcoal fabric and chose flapped pockets to keep the suit formal. I wanted a three-season suit, so we made the jacket and trousers unlined. Anglo-Italian offers two shoulder choices, spalla camicia with or without roping. Alex determined that we should select no roping for fit reasons, but stylistically, I wish we would have used the roped shoulder.
On the trousers, I chose double reverse pleats and two inch cuffs to balance out the visual interest of the double-breasted jacket and a button fly because I think they lay flatter. I also went for a single rear pocket because the simplicity appeals to me and it is the more formal choice.
For a first commission, I think this suit is a success. Even bespoke commissions are better the second time around, but the fit on this suit is excellent. The jacket drapes nicely in the chest and doesn’t pull even the tiniest amount at the waist. I have a fairly forward shoulder posture, but the jacket has nicely compensated for that. The rippling in the sleeve head is subtle and charming.
The fit is not perfect though, there is slightly too much room in the shoulders, and I think the left shoulder is slightly too wide, affecting the drape of the sleeve. There is also some rippling across the mid-back which might necessitate lowering the collar. Alex thinks this will dissipate with a few wears, but I’m unsure.
There are also a couple aspects of the Anglo-Italian house style that taken some getting used to. I’ve never owned a jacket with generous drape or extended shoulders before and it’s a fairly sharp change of silhouette that was jarring at first. The way in which Anglo-Italian slims the waist of a jacket also produces more pronounced hips than I am used to, an effect you can just barely see in the head-on photo. At first, I thought it was an alterations mistake, but it’s clearly present in the photography on their website and is an element of the house style. I’ve come to like it more, but I don’t think I’ve fully made up my mind about it yet.
Anglo-Italian’s trousers are high-waisted, hitting right at the navel; this is my preferred front rise, so it required no alteration to the pattern. We shortened the rear rise to compensate for my locked-leg standing and that worked well; the seat of these trousers fit better than any other pair that I’ve had. The waist is just right, something that may seem rather minor, but when you wear high-waisted trousers without braces is actually crucially important. In the future, I would change about the leg opening of trousers, which at seven inches is on the smaller end. The small leg opening created a greater than ideal break, interfering with the clean drape of the front crease. On my next pair, I will decrease the inseam slightly and widen the leg opening to seven and a half inches, which should correct this issue.
The garment bag and hanger that come with the suit are both gray and lovely. The hanger is exceptionally sturdy and gray stain is beautiful and quite unique. The logos on the suit, hanger, and garment bag are tasteful and delightfully retro.
I will likely buy again from Anglo-Italian as I like the brand's aesthetic and their ties, sweaters, and shirts are easily some of the best in the industry. However, I’m not sure I'd commission another suit because while I'm quite pleased with the suit, there are just enough issues at the margins to keep me from enjoying it unthinkingly and make me question if it was worth the added cost in time and money. This may just be the reaction everyone has when they move from mid-range RTW to luxury MTM tailoring and it's true that a second suit would likely fix some or all of these issues. I'm sure my feelings towards the suit will evolve over time as I wear it and that will be the deciding factor in my decision whether not to commission a second suit in the future.
Thanks for reading this long-winded review. If you haven’t checked out Anglo-Italian yet, I encourage you to do so. If you have any thoughts or questions about this review, leave a comment or shoot me an email, I’m more than happy to chat in more depth.