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The StyleForum Working Hierarchical Suit Quality List (SFWHSQL!)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Cognacad, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Quesjac

    Quesjac Senior Member

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    Most people haven't sampled the entire range here. I certainly haven't. The people who buy Suit Supply are probably coming from fashion brands so to them it's fantastic quality. The people who always bought Zegna are less likely to buy it. And I guess people like to see their choices validated in the list. Oxxford is high because SF is American and more Americans have experience of it than niche Neapolitan makers I suspect.

    Anyway, these are only vague comparisons at best, and in practice you can't separate "quality" from certain aspects of age and style. I'd take a suit made by Caruso for Boggi today over a 25 year old Caruso Sartoria Parma with more hand finishing.
     

  2. sftiger

    sftiger Senior Member

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    I thought the knock on Oxxford was that it was very high quality but just very traditional/box/full cut, so not exactly in line with the typical SF/iGent style.
     

  3. Quesjac

    Quesjac Senior Member

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    I think that's right, so long as for quality you mean labor hours or number of hand-stitches or something strictly measurable.

    What I meant is that Oxxford is often cited as 'the best quality' in American discussions but never really in European discussions because there's plenty of it knocking around in Chicago and none in Paris --- not because it is or isn't "better quality" than some other mostly handmade RTW like Chester Barrie or Brioni.
     

  4. chocsosa

    chocsosa Distinguished Member

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    You are thinking the majority of the suit supply lines like the half canvassed blue and purple lines.. Suit Supply has a full canvassed line (right now Jort but formerly La Spalla) that is on the same level as Canali, Corneliani e.t.c..thats what is put in the same category as the rest.. as for Brooks Brothers, their Golden Fleece line (which is full canvassed) is in the good category, but their 1818 line is in the satisfactory category....a little bit of a mix up..
     

  5. GMMcL

    GMMcL Distinguished Member

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    I haven’t seen the spreadsheet— would love to get a copy — but I’d wager a fair bit that I have sampled the range, and then some. In part that’s by virtue of my eBay store, and having “worn the product” as they come through — everything from Brooks to SuSu all the way up to Volpe and Panico bespoke.

    Happy to share thoughts. One is that, if fit and cost are a factor, SuSu belongs solidly up the list, irrespective of where it’s made (let’s not let biases play in — plenty of crap Italian construction right?). Seems to me they took patterns from various makers then applied truly excellent tailoring techniques and construction but sold at an affordable price. Spier did the same.

    Oxxford is on the list perhaps not due to cost or fit (though some of the newer stuff is better styled) but because they spare absolutely no expense on construction. Their range 6 stuff has more intricate felling than anything I’ve ever seen come off the Row or out of Naples, current or vintage.

    The older 1818 stuff was ok — not superb, not Golden Fleece but ok. Then typical branding: start with decent quality to build a base following, then margin margin margin.

    Canali and Zegna mainline? I’ve never been impressed. Ever.
     

  6. Quesjac

    Quesjac Senior Member

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    Sure. You must have an unusual view since you handle plenty of stuff you'd not necessarily buy for yourself. Some thoughts:

    • IMO there's no point including price in a 'quality' hierarchy, because then you can't use it to understand the value of a brand by looking at the list (if value is baked-in then high quality poor value and poorer quality higher value can't be distinguished)
    • 'if fit and cost are a factor' --- I think you're getting at the essential limitation of a single hierarchy. If quality means "labor hours x skill" or something like that then it doesn't necessarily relate to how much you'd want to wear these things. But I think if you included those things---or styling---you'd have a 'working hierarchichal suit coolness list' or something. Which might be nice but would also be an endless debate.
    • Personally I like Canali. Kei jackets, suits, some of the outerwear. I think this gets back into questions of taste though --- some people like much louder styling (Suit Supply) some people like more fashion forward stuff (Dior, say). And different people look good in different things, beyond body type and fit, because they reflect their character. But these are different (and IMO) more important questions than 'quality' in terms of number of stitches.
    I think we basically agree about a lot of this stuff. As I've said I've not handled Oxxford, but I instinctively tend to trust Dirnelli's take because his comments on stuff I do know chime with mine.
     

  7. smittycl

    smittycl Distinguished Member

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    I have several Oxxford suits and sport coats and really like them. Great fabric and construction. Conservative fit and great for work. Dirnelli is correct in that they are a bit stodgy or at least were. Apparently they have a more modern cut available now but I haven't tried it yet.

    I liked Dirnelli's suit maker review as well. His comments on Canali (too high a buttoning point) and Zegna (lapels too narrow) were accurate. Curious to know why @GMMcL dislikes them so much? Great fit and fabrics for me at least. :fence:
     

  8. GMMcL

    GMMcL Distinguished Member

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    I've just never found them impressive for the money/reputation. I'll confess they're canvassed and sometimes have topstitch. But you can say the exact same about lots of brands that are priced better and most folks would put middle of the road in terms of reputed quality. So I generally lump them in with those. On a more personal note, they also don't fit me as well as others, including mass produced, in a more true Neapolitan style -- like LBM, Boglioli et al -- that some folks turn their nose up at.

    BTW, I should have called Zegna Couture out as an exception. That stuff is generally well made. Don't prefer the fit, but I cannot deny the quality.

    I know Dirnelli well and respect him. We've disagreed over his reviews in the past, but directionally it's a fair reference.
     

  9. chocsosa

    chocsosa Distinguished Member

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    I have to agree with you there GM! I feel that Zegna is your average run of the mill full canvassed garment. Nothing more nothing less. I also dont like the cut.. they cut a very narrow chest with narrow lapels (atleast their newer lines) and shoulders that to be honest are not the best done..if you are an athletic guy with the a bigger chest, then Zegna might not be the best cut for you.. Canali is a little better.. but their higher button stances and decently padded crappy shoulders are not my cup of tea.. I do like their Kei line and their 18000 line (but that model cuts a narrow chest too)...as for Oxxford, I only own an SC from them..its from their 1220 line and it is supremely well done..its a 95% cashmere/5% wool mix with handmade buttonholes and other hand done details you can see and feel right away.. had that jacket for 6 years now and its one of my favorite fall items that I pair with denim..
     

  10. smittycl

    smittycl Distinguished Member

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    Part of the reason I like those two brands is the fit. I'm a really a 41L US so their 52L fits me perfectly. All I have to do with Canali and Zegna is adjust the sleeves. The waist never needs adjusting and I rarely get the roll at the top of the back like with other makers.

    The narrow lapels are starting to turn me off to Zegna. I'll grab them when the deal is right, though. We have a Zegna outlet close by with mostly mainline stuff. Picked up a $3k charcoal pinstripe staple suit for $550 so I can't complain.

    Oxxford is funny. I can wear a 40L in their Randolph and Capitol N2 fits. Kind of beyond what I'm willing to spend for a suit at retail. Picked up many NWT on eBay from topshelfapparel who seems to have a connection to their factory and gets samples and MTM that was never picked up or didn't pass muster for some reason. Grabbed some gems from him over the years. Best one was a Paul Stuart (made by Oxxford) "Stuart's Choice" MTM Navy suit that some hedge fund dude never picked up.

    Have also bought from @GMMcL before I believe.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019

  11. GMMcL

    GMMcL Distinguished Member

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    At one point in the infamous Thrift Thread, Spoo (jokingly) suggested a contest for who could find the greatest number and the most unusual Oxxford model names. Most of the time when I look these days, even after years in the field, it'll still be one I've never heard of.

    :-D
    Thank you!
     

  12. krede

    krede Member

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    Some interesting reading. I’m going to Milano and going to have a suit made. With my height I need it to be MTM. I have sort limited the options down to Caruso (although at the absolute highest I would go price wise), Lardini, LBM1911 and Boglioli.
    Considering fit will perfect in any case, how would you rank the quality? And from value for money perspective as well?
    Hoping for some inputs. Thanks.
     

  13. smittycl

    smittycl Distinguished Member

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    I would go with Caruso. I have lots but all made for other retailers (mostly Barneys). Lardini makes BB 1818 and LBM makes for lots of folks. Boglioli is known mostly for their unstructured stuff. Not sure what you are looking for but Caruso would be my default, blind pick.
     

  14. Quesjac

    Quesjac Senior Member

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    Fit will not be equally perfect, some MTM blocks will suit you better than others.

    Boglioli have great designs, especially the washed-style wools. But LBM and Boglioli are great casual jacket makers, less obvious choices for a business suit.

    Caruso and Lardini both make great products at a variety of levels, Caruso going higher in standard and price, but I'm guessing you won't want to pay for the top level of handwork anyway. Go with whichever of these two feels better when you try the sample jackets I say.
     

  15. krede

    krede Member

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    Great, some fine input on this. Will go and visit both Caruso and Lardini, but as smittycl suggests Caruso feels like default for many people, however also quite a bit more expensive than Lardini - but fully canvassed.
     

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