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Responding to "the suit died for good reasons"

smittycl

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but isn't it precisely what makes dressing up even while moving admirable? sure, it is hard, but who said it's supposed to be easy? it is certainly not impossible. you have your garment bags, your hangers, tie cases. you have your brushing and shoe care kit. you wreck your brains wrestling with the constraints while putting your wardrobe together: different climate, different occasions, visual diversity. you employ the art of packing. you make good use of hotel facilities. you deal with the sartorial emergencies. you come up on top, looking sharp no matter where you are and how long you have traveled, to the amazement and admiration of those around you.

I guess I am trying to make an argument from the perspective of effort. I confess, I am still at page seven of this remarkable thread, so this may have already been brought up.

I have no issue with casual dress, in fact, I own way more sport coats than I do suits, but there is a difference in putting some thought and creativity into one's casual outfit, and simply donning a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie. sure, it's easier, but what's next? why shower? why brush your teeth? the way I see it, it's just sloppiness made into principle.

at the onset of this thread there was an example regarding not putting one's elbows on the table. indeed, I am no friend of dogmatism, and I am lucky to count myself among those sensible enough, through the efforts of my parents, my teachers, and by virtue of company I was fortunate enough to keep, to try to be civil and accommodating to those around me, rule or no rule. but I am increasingly feeling that we are at a point where all the table manners are triumphantly cast away, while the good sense, the civility, the grace is nowhere to be found either. so, what's left?
Well said. I agree and always wear at least a sport coat while traveling. If going tropical I'll at wear linen shirt and pants at a minimum. It drives me nuts to see folks in sweats, flip flops and t-shirts.

Felt that way even in my 20's.
 

Professor Χάος

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Well said. I agree and always wear at least a sport coat while traveling. If going tropical I'll at wear linen shirt and pants at a minimum. It drives me nuts to see folks in sweats, flip flops and t-shirts.

Felt that way even in my 20's.
Someone may have made this point already (yes, I am reviving a 4 year old thread), but in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America, the suit is alive and well. Its still a status symbol, and a sign of professionalism. I think this is true, to a lesser extent, in Eastern Europe as well, where clients and women still insist that men dress well if they want to be successful. The modern suit has been around since the 1920s, when Fredrick Scholte and Vincenzo Attolini invented the the drape cut silhouette, and although its gone through many permutations, the basic design has remained roughly constant over time. Eventually, the suit will make a comeback. In the meantime, I'm buying all these great first-tier quality suits (Attolini, Kiton, Isaia, Tom Ford, etc) at discount prices, because everyone else has given up on them.

I'm still in the market, and will probably continue to buy suits for the next 10 years, and maybe have a few made if I ever visit Naples.
 

smittycl

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Someone may have made this point already (yes, I am reviving a 4 year old thread), but in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America, the suit is alive and well. Its still a status symbol, and a sign of professionalism. I think this is true, to a lesser extent, in Eastern Europe as well, where clients and women still insist that men dress well if they want to be successful. The modern suit has been around since the 1920s, when Fredrick Scholte and Vincenzo Attolini invented the the drape cut silhouette, and although its gone through many permutations, the basic design has remained roughly constant over time. Eventually, the suit will make a comeback. In the meantime, I'm buying all these great first-tier quality suits (Attolini, Kiton, Isaia, Tom Ford, etc) at discount prices, because everyone else has given up on them.

I'm still in the market, and will probably continue to buy suits for the next 10 years, and maybe have a few made if I ever visit Naples.
Same here. Scored some Oxxford and my first Attolini recently. Working in DC means I need a suit daily but not the Jos. A. Bank my colleagues wear.
 

Professor Χάος

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Same here. Scored some Oxxford and my first Attolini recently. Working in DC means I need a suit daily but not the Jos. A. Bank my colleagues wear.
I just returned from the tailor with my 5th Attolini. I asked him what he thought about it. He said its a beautiful suit, but he found no evidence of hand-work. I was shocked. Nevertheless, the stitching he showed me looked like it was accomplished with a sewing machine. I wrote to Attolini, asking them about the seeming contradiction between my tailor's assessment and the claim on their website, that every Attolini suit is entirely hand-made. They never responded.

I have no desire to impugn the reputaton of one of the world's great tailoring houses, but the apparent contradiction is confounding.
 

acconrad

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If the suit dies, what am I supposed to wear to weddings, funerals, and the courthouse?
 

breakaway01

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I just returned from the tailor with my 5th Attolini. I asked him what he thought about it. He said its a beautiful suit, but he found no evidence of hand-work. I was shocked. Nevertheless, the stitching he showed me looked like it was accomplished with a sewing machine. I wrote to Attolini, asking them about the seeming contradiction between my tailor's assessment and the claim on their website, that every Attolini suit is entirely hand-made. They never responded.

I have no desire to impugn the reputaton of one of the world's great tailoring houses, but the apparent contradiction is confounding.
Hand made does not necessarily mean hand sewn. Technically, using one’s hands to guide the garment through a sewing machine apparently counts as hand made. Certainly for the long seams it is not at all clear that hand stitching offers any advantage.

Hand stitching the lapel padding may improve the curve of the lapel but apparently the modern machines do a very good job here.

You might also see hand stitching to attach the sleeve to the shoulder.
 

Professor Χάος

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Thanks for your input. I believe the difference between a hand-guided a sewing machines vs hand-stitched has been discussed many times on this forum.

My apologies. I make no claim to being knowledgeable about tailoring, but I am genuinely confused. If the designation "hand-made" can be used to describe a suit made by a hand-guided sewing machine, then how are machine made suits sewn? By robots? Also, if "hand-made" can refer to a hand guided sewing machine, then why can't Canali, or indeed Jos A. Banks, claim to be "hand made"?

As to the shoulder, I have often heard that Isaia, Kiton, and Attolini shoulders are attached by hand.

I'm just disappointed at the claim made by Attolini with great emphasis and with several pictures of their resident tailors sewing by hand:

"Each garment is made entirely by hand in the Casalnuovo tailor’s shop, on the outskirts of Naples.
It takes 25 to 30 hours to make a suit." (emphasis in the original)
 
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breakaway01

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Thanks for your input. I believe the difference between a hand-guided a sewing machines vs hand-stitched has been discussed many times on this forum.

My apologies. I make no claim to being knowledgeable about tailoring, but I am genuinely confused. If the designation "hand-made" can be used to describe a suit made by a hand-guided sewing machine, then how are machine made suits sewn? By robots? Also, if "hand-made" can refer to a hand guided sewing machine, then why can't Canali, or indeed Jos A. Banks, claim to be "hand made"?

As to the shoulder, I have often heard that Isaia, Kiton, and Attolini shoulders are attached by hand.

I'm just disappointed at the claim made by Attolini with great emphasis and with several pictures of their resident tailors sewing by hand:

"Each garment is made entirely by hand in the Casalnuovo tailor’s shop, on the outskirts of Naples.
It takes 25 to 30 hours to make a suit."

Have you looked through @jefferyd 's old blog at https://tuttofattoamano.blogspot.com/ ? Well worth perusing if you are interested in the construction of tailored clothing.

He has taken apart a great number of tailored jackets and the results can be quite interesting.

A Henry Poole jacket with a prefabricated shoulder pad and machine-stitched lapel padding: https://tuttofattoamano.blogspot.com/2010/02/henry-poole-again.html

A Smalto with lots of handwork but sleeves set by machine

A Brioni also with lots of hand work but machine pad stitching

I think the manufacturers have decided what is worth doing by hand and what can be done as well (or better) by machine. I would not get too fixated on hand vs machine stitching; it is the end result that matters. That being said, I certainly would not pay a premium for 'hand-made' tailoring nowadays.
 

Professor Χάος

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Have you looked through @jefferyd 's old blog at https://tuttofattoamano.blogspot.com/ ? Well worth perusing if you are interested in the construction of tailored clothing.

He has taken apart a great number of tailored jackets and the results can be quite interesting.

A Henry Poole jacket with a prefabricated shoulder pad and machine-stitched lapel padding: https://tuttofattoamano.blogspot.com/2010/02/henry-poole-again.h

A Smalto with lots of handwork but sleeves set by machine

A Brioni also with lots of hand work but machine pad stitching

I think the manufacturers have decided what is worth doing by hand and what can be done as well (or better) by machine. I would not get too fixated on hand vs machine stitching; it is the end result that matters. That being said, I certainly would not pay a premium for 'hand-made' tailoring nowadays.
Thanks for your response. I'm definitely interested in becoming better informed. I still think Attolini's website is misleading however. They emphasize "made entirely by hand" in bold letters, and show tailors working exclusively by hand. They shouldn't do that if its not true.
 

Professor Χάος

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On the positive side, the Attolini silhouette is still incredible, and is matched only by Kiton in my experience. Even my Isaias look a little shabby by comparison.
 
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ladislav.jancik

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They emphasize "made entirely by hand" in bold letters, and show tailors working exclusively by hand. They shouldn't do that if its not true.
I think they follow some kind of "Fatto a mano" law that allows them to claim that their garments are made entirely by hand. It would be interesting to see what the conditions are that need to be met. For the reference my Persol sunglasses are also "Handmade in Italy".
 

Professor Χάος

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I think they follow some kind of "Fatto a mano" law that allows them to claim that their garments are made entirely by hand. It would be interesting to see what the conditions are that need to be met. For the reference my Persol sunglasses are also "Handmade in Italy".
I like Persol vintage Ratti as well. Many shoe brands claim that their shoes are "hand made" even if they use a goodyear machine for the welting. I think the leather is cut by hand (is it not?) and other aspects are hand finished. I'm guessing that in the past, before they became world-famous, Attolini suits were made entirely by hand or at least mostly so. But as @breakaway01 mentioned, its just not cost-effective to produce so many suits per year by hand, so they improved their operations with machines whenever possible, and maintained the general Attolini silhouette and commitment to quality.
 
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Aquafortis

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Have you looked through @jefferyd 's old blog at https://tuttofattoamano.blogspot.com/ ? Well worth perusing if you are interested in the construction of tailored clothing.

I think the manufacturers have decided what is worth doing by hand and what can be done as well (or better) by machine. I would not get too fixated on hand vs machine stitching; it is the end result that matters. That being said, I certainly would not pay a premium for 'hand-made' tailoring nowadays.
Definitely advise reading through Jeffery D's blog.

Thanks for your response. I'm definitely interested in becoming better informed. I still think Attolini's website is misleading however. They emphasize "made entirely by hand" in bold letters, and show tailors working exclusively by hand. They shouldn't do that if its not true.

Attolini is my favorite maker, and I do not view it as deceptive marketing that they use "made entirely by hand", and I think what is missing from this discussion is a distinction between hand (machine sewn), and hand stitched.

I have a number of Attolini RTW shirts, and it looks to me like the side seams may be hand machine sewn, but back yoke, sleeve attachments, cuffs, and buttonholes are all hand stitched. It makes sense to me for the larger main body panels of a shirt to be machine sewn as those seams need to be very durable and for proper drape, I would think highly even and consistent seams is a plus.

My sense is their sportcoats and suits is where they put in the highest levels of true hand work/stitching.
 
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Aquafortis

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But getting back to the topic of the thread - I have to say over the past 2.5 years I personally have worn tailored garments very, very few times. I am not one to don a sportcoat for a Zoom work meeting, nor would I be expected to.

When I have reason to go into the business district of San Francisco (my nearest metropolitan center), the most striking thing is the sheer absence of workforce populating the streets, and seeing gents in suits is now increasingly uncommon, if not a rarity.

It's good to know the suit is alive and well in some contexts and locales, but a walk through many of the high end menswear shops near me evidences a landmark shift very far away from traditional tailoring in terms of merchandise being ordered, merchandised, and advertised.

Coming back to Attolini as a reference tailoring house with about as deep pedigree as can be had - their Fall-Winter 2022/23 catalog depicts a substantial reduction in percentage of suits being featured, the balance being made up for by casual/sportswear outfits.
 
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