In the world of men’s tailoring, there are two highly influential styles: English and Italian. The English style is epitomized by the traditional tailoring houses of Savile Row in London’s Mayfair neighborhood. The Italian look is more geographically diffuse, although Naples (as represented by the incomparable Gianluca Isaia), is arguably “the most Italian” style.
What are the hallmarks of English and Italian tailoring? And which look is right for you? Here’s a quick guide:
In general, the shoulder is structured and sharp in English tailoring, whereas the Italian shoulder is rounded and fits closer to the body. The Italian shoulder is more natural in appearance.
In tailoring terms, the gorge is the seam joining the collar of the jacket to the lapel. Italian jackets have a higher gorge line than English jackets, which means the notches of the lapel also sit higher on the jacket.
The top button is placed higher on an Italian jacket. On an English jacket, the buttons sit lower, at the waist, and are closer together. This is particularly evident on a double-breasted jacket.
An English jacket is longer, and the “skirt” may be slightly flared. An Italian jacket tends to be shorter—a more modern look—and fits more closely (although not tightly) around the hips.
Some Savile Row tailors, especially Anderson & Shepherd, are known for the “drape” of their jackets. It’s a looser fitting, almost slouchy look. The quintessential Italian jacket, on the other hand, has a more fitted appearance around the chest.
English suit trousers are typically higher waisted. They are fuller in the hips and leg, and tend to have pleats. Italian suit trousers, by contrast, have a lower rise, are slimmer throughout, and generally have a flat front.
So what’s the final result of this England-Italy showdown? In tailoring as in soccer (er, football), Italy edges out England. That’s our decided opinion as your local fashion referee. Come by the store, slip on an Isaia sportcoat, and we’ll prove it to you!