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18 September 2014

Bespoke linen suit Langa

Some close-up details here on the linen suit from Sastreria Langa that we featured earlier in the week. You can see a few of the tailoring idiosyncrasies, as well as the cloth and work itself in more detail.

Langa include both a label for their own brand and one describing the cloth on the inside of the jacket. I’d prefer to not have the former, but can live with it, while the latter is worth avoiding – it stems from an assumption with smaller tailors that the cloth merchant is more prestigious than they are. There are also embroidered initials, which are decently done. 

One shortcut with the make is the insert around the in-breast pockets, which can be seen in the close-up at the bottom of this post. The cloth is cut, rather than continuing seamlessly around the pocket, which is a lot easier to do but a little bit of a shame aesthetically.

That image also shows the top stitching on the lining around these pockets. It’s nice to have this by hand (most English tailors don’t bother) but it is a little wobbly in places.

Bespoke linen suit Langa side

Bespoke linen suit Langa chest  

On the image of the trouser’s side strap you can see that the lining of the waistband is attached by machine. This is a peculiarity, as I have yet to use a tailor that does this by machine. Even the cheaper tailors like Graham Browne tack this by hand, considering that it makes the waistband more comfortable.

A bigger issue is the side strap itself, the length of which makes it prone to slipping. A shorter strap can hold the cloth underneath it more easily, and that’s particularly needed on linen. You can also see that the strap has a little keeper on the left, which isn’t particularly well placed – it covers the strap and makes it hard to pull. On the plus side, the pointed design and handwork around the points is attractive.

Elsewhere there are some nice touches. The swelled edges around the lapel and out-breast pocket are well done, and there are two neat change pockets on the trousers, just under the waistband.

As with the style and fit, discussed in Tuesday’s post, there is room for improvement here but it remains a very good-value suit.

  bespoke suit Langa madrid  side bucklebespoke suit Langa madrid  inbreast pocketbespoke suit Langa madrid pocket  

16 September 2014

Langa bespoke suit linen

Tobacco brown’s a nice colour, isn’t it? Definitely informal – due to its lightness and saturation – yet with a quiet sophistication. Colonial, particularly in linen, but without the baggage of cream or tan.

This is 8-ounce from Scabal (801490). Ideally it would be heavier, closer to 13 ounces, but I’m willing to trade a little weight for great colour.

The suit was made by Sastreria Langa, one of the tailors in Madrid I commissioned from back in July. Joaquin Fernandez is the cutter: a relatively young guy but with a lot of experience (having started at the age of 16). He is also one of the few Spanish tailors that speaks any English (the Calvo de Mora sons being the others).

Joaquin is deliberately creative and broad in his technique, making both normal and shirt-shoulder jackets, and with a penchant for bright or strongly patterned linings. I avoided those with this suit – it’s not my style, and anyway the cloth has enough character on its own.

Langa bespoke suit linen close

Initially, Joaquin was impressive. I flew into Madrid one evening with the arrangement to be measured and fitted on several things the next day. The tailors all knew the cloth in advance, so the idea was they would measure me in the morning and cut a rough, first fitting for the afternoon.

Joaquin did this flawlessly. The fundamentals of the fit were great – balance, neck, pitch etc were all spot on. We slimmed the trousers down a little and narrowed the waist on the jacket, but that was it.

The second time I went to Madrid, the idea was to have a forward fitting in the morning, another in the afternoon if the tailor wanted it, and then to have the jacket sent went finished. Joaquin misunderstood, and when I arrived in the morning the whole suit was finished.

That wasn’t a problem in terms of fit, as the first fitting had been so good, but there were a couple of style issues – particularly the shoulder, which was a normal rather than shirt-shoulder. (I wasn’t a fan of Joaquin’s regular shoulder style, which is a little extended and almost kicks up at the end.)

To wrap up a rather long story, changing the shoulder took much longer than a day, so it wasn’t until the suit arrived in London that I saw it completed. Perhaps inevitably, the execution wasn’t ideal: the excess at the top of one sleeve was greater than the other, making the shoulder appear wider.

linen suit brown

The difference is barely noticeable now. Linen is a very forgiving material, and as soon as the jacket had been worn a couple of times the sleeve wrinkled up and the discrepancy was gone. Still, that wouldn’t have happened on a worsted, and there are a couple of signs of similar lapses elsewhere. The side-straps on the trousers don’t function perfectly, and some of the finishing inside is a little rough.

I love this suit, primarily for the colour. But it’s also well fitted, and given that Langa only charges €1800 (plus VAT, in Spain), with as much hand work as anything on Savile Row (though not always in the same places), it’s also extremely good value. I would just suggest a slightly less rushed fitting process, and careful attention to the details.

More details later in the week.

Shoes: Edward Green Top Drawer oundles in bronze; shirt also from Langa; navy 9cm grenadine tie from Drake’s.

Langa bespoke suit linen back

Photography: Luke Carby

15 September 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 19.53.51

A lovely if slightly bizarre experience on Saturday, when I showed two Brazilian mega-bloggers around Savile Row. We went through the bespoke process at Gieves & Hawkes, visited the workshops, and popped into both Gaziano & Girling and Anderson & Sheppard. Although Brazil is as brand-hungry as you’d expect a newly emerging wealth centre to be, there are some encouraging signs – not least Kadu’s (above) interest in hand-sewn canvases.

On Instagram Kadu said the experience was one of the best of his trip (if my Portuguese is up to scratch). The shots were certainly popular, with around 1,500 instant likes. The things I could do if I was that good looking…

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 21.22.09

In the past year or so, having got to know a few of the Spanish tailors a lot better – and having had things made by them – I have become very fond of their attitude, their openness and approach to catering to more international clients. 

Hopefully that comes across in my latest column for How to Spend It, the luxury supplement of the Financial Times. You can read all previous articles, including practical tips on how to buy quality in everything from suits to bags, here

9 September 2014

perfect cardigan

A quick update on the Finagon cardigan we designed with John Smedley. (Made to be the perfect layer under tailoring – more details here).

The offer of free shipping on any order will run out on Thursday, so you have two days left to take advantage. Use the code FINFREEPOST when purchasing on the Smedley website

We have also expanded the pre-order list. Due to the high level of demand, a few of the colours have sold out in most sizes – racing green, plum, soot and indigo. These will all be replenished in the next few weeks, but will then be distributed around Smedley outlets, including the website. To guarantee a Finagon in your size and colour, contact This list was previously only available for racing green, but has now been expanded to cover the other three colours. 

You will be required to pay in advance, but you can take advantage of the FINFREEPOST code, even after Thursday. Just include in your email the fact that you are a Permanent Style reader. 

Finally, the great menswear standards – navy and grey – are still available in all sizes. I recommend silver rather than charcoal: it’s more versatile and appropriate for both formal and casual combinations.

Thanks everyone for your support.