Choosing Tom Ford vs Brioni vs English Bespoke


James Bond’s suits over the past five decades have come from a variety of sources, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The most notable providers of James Bond’s suits have been luxury brands such as Tom Ford and Brioni as well as off-Savile Row English bespoke tailors such as Anthony Sinclair, Dimi Major, Cyril Castle and Douglas Hayward. So now you want a suit from one of the same makers who made James Bond’s suits. Should you chose a ready-to-wear or made-to-measure suit from Tom Ford or Brioni, or should you go with a bespoke suit from an English tailor?

Daniel Craig wearing Tom Ford in Quantum of Solace
Daniel Craig wearing made-to-measure Tom Ford in Quantum of Solace


Ready-to-wear vs made-to-measure vs bespoke

Tom Ford and Brioni produce ready-to-wear and made-to-measure suits whilst proper English tailors—such as the tailors James Bond has used—make bespoke suits. Brioni also has a bespoke service available in Milan and Rome that has been used for the James Bond films.

Ready-to-wear suits are suits in standard sizes and lengths that are already made, which can be altered. You are limited to the cloths and cuts already made. Brioni’s cuts are somewhat full while Tom Ford’s cuts have a lot of waist suppression, but both have a variety of models with different fits. A full-cut suit can be taken in more easily than a more fitted suit can be let out. Even with tailoring, a full cut suit will almost never be able to have the kind of shape most Tom Ford suits have. There are limits to alterations. But for some people, the right ready-to-wear suit can have an almost perfect fit.

Daniel Craig in a made-to-measure Brioni dinner jacket in Casino Royale
Daniel Craig in a Brioni dinner jacket in Casino Royale

Made-to-measure suits start with the ready-to-wear suit models a brand sells and alter the pattern at the factory for a better fit than can be achieved by altering a ready-to-wear suit. Made-to-measure also allows you to chose from a variety of cloths as well as from different details, such as vent styles, pocket styles, trouser front styles, side adjusters or belt loops, and much more, depending on the made-to-measure system. You are limited to what the made-to-measure system can do, both in the ways the pattern can be altered and in the styles that are available. If you like either the Tom Ford or Brioni aesthetic but can’t fit well into their ready-to-wear suits or want something slightly different from what they offer ready-to-wear, you can take advantage of their made-to-measure programmes. Made-to-measure suits typically come in eight to ten weeks.

Bespoke suits are something entirely different from made-to-measure. What sets a bespoke suit apart is that a bespoke tailor makes a unique pattern for the client. Bespoke is about the process to achieve the best fit, including the tailor draughting a pattern for the client and having multiple fittings. The biggest downside to the process is how long it takes, which can be anywhere from two months, for uniquely fast tailors, to a year, if you must wait for a tailor’s overseas visits.

Sean Connery wearing a bespoke suit from Anthony Sinclair in Goldfinger
Sean Connery wearing a bespoke suit from Anthony Sinclair in Goldfinger

A bespoke tailor knows how to make a suit that will best fit and flatter the client, and this is the reason to go bespoke over made-to-measure. But just because a suit is bespoke, it doesn’t mean you have free reign to specify whatever you want. When it comes to Savile Row bespoke suits, different tailors will take different amount of input from the customer.

Most English tailors have a house style. The house style primarily refers to the silhouette, which includes the shoulders, chest and overall shape of the jacket and trousers. For instance, the house style of Anthony Sinclair (Sean Connery’s tailor in his James Bond films) is defined by soft shoulders, roped sleeve heads, a full chest and a low button stance. The house style does not usually refer to single-breasted or double-breasted, the number of buttons on the front, the number of vents in the back or the style of the pockets, though every tailor has their defaults. If a tailor has a very specific house style, like H. Huntsman’s famous single-button jackets, that’s always flexible. You can tell any tailor you want a suit with two buttons on the front, peaked lapels, two vents in back, a ticket pocket, no pleats on the trousers, side adjusters on the trousers, and so on. But how those things are done are usually up to the tailor, who may determine where the buttons are placed, how the lapel notches and peaks are shaped, how the pockets and side adjusters are crafted and where they are placed, and how much taper the trousers will have. A bespoke tailor should consider the client’s opinion on some of these matters, but the client should also ensure that he likes and agrees with the tailor’s style before bespeaking a suit.


Choosing a suit by style is a personal decision. Tom Ford’s style is very different from Brioni’s. Both Tom Ford and Brioni have different models you can choose from, for different styles and different silhouettes. With their suits you can see what you’re getting without any question. Tom Ford’s suits are mostly influenced by English tailoring while Brioni is purely Italian. Both are very structured suits, but Tom Ford makes a rather stiff and heavy suit whilst Brioni’s tailoring is much softer and lighter. Despite the shrunken suits we’ve seen Daniel Craig wear as James Bond in Skyfall and Spectre, Tom Ford’s suits are not meant to fit like that. They are meant to be fitted and are shaped conform to the body rather than fight against it. Most of Tom Ford’s models are decently, but uniquely, proportioned.

Bespoke tailors, like ready-to-wear brands, often have their own, unique house styles. They typically have examples of their house style on display, though how a house style translates to each person’s body isn’t always so clear. When choosing a bespoke tailor, being familiar with their house style is very important. There is much variety in the cuts different English bespoke tailors make, and on a walk down Savile Row—London’s iconic street of tailors—you can see a wide variety of cuts. Off Savile Row you can find an even wider variety of cuts.

Roger Moore in a bespoke Douglas Hayward dinner jacket in Octopussy
Roger Moore in a bespoke Douglas Hayward dinner jacket in Octopussy

As I wrote above, getting a bespoke suit does not mean you can ask the tailor to make whatever style you want. One tailor cannot always cut a suit in the style of another tailor. Straight shoulders with roped sleeve heads are made much differently from soft shoulders with natural sleeve heads, and English bespoke tailors usually specialise in one style or another and will only make small changes from their speciality. This is sometimes due to the tailor’s ability and often due to the tailor’s opinions. If you ask a tailor who makes heavily padded shoulders to make a suit with unpadded shoulders, he’ll likely tell you to find a different tailor because it’s neither what he specialises in nor what he believes in. You wouldn’t ask Picasso for painting in Monet’s style. Tailors always have their own innate ways of doing things, and that’s just the nature of being an artist. A good tailor is judged in his ability to fit a suit, not his ability to cut in a wide variety of styles. But there are tailors and firms that are very flexible, though it’s best to not test their flexibility until you’ve already had a suit made by them.

You cannot go to any bespoke tailor and ask for a suit that looks like a Tom Ford or Brioni suit. It’s an insult to tailors who have a house style they are known for, which would be any bespoke tailor in Mayfair. However, Tom Ford is very much inspired by the Savile Row tailors who specialise in more structured cuts. You could go to Maurice Sedwell or Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row and get something very reminiscent of a Tom Ford suit. Edward Sexton and Chittleborough & Morgan off Savile Row can really give you the Tom Ford Windsor look, which Tom Ford stole from them. With these tailors you can get a bespoke suit for the same price as Tom Ford with the Tom Ford look and yet a personalised fit. Though you won’t have the Tom Ford “street cred” from a bespoke tailor, you’ll be getting something more special and more unique to you.

Daniel Craig wearing a Tom Ford "Windsor" suit in Spectre
Daniel Craig wearing a Tom Ford “Windsor” suit in Spectre

If you want the shrunken look from Skyfall and Spectre, most bespoke tailors with any reputation probably won’t do that but I’m sure some will. For the most ease in getting this look, you’ll have to get a size too small from Tom Ford instead. Also, many English tailors also may not be willing to tailor a jacket with the lapel cleanly rolled to the middle button like on the Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace and Spectre. The English drape tailors are the most likely to make this style, though they do a softer cut overall than the military and equestrian tailors Tom Ford’s cuts are more inspired by.

Brioni’s master tailor in Rome Checchino Fonticoli fitted Pierce Brosnan for at least some of his Bond suits in a bespoke manner. A bespoke suit from Brioni will follow Brioni’s style and resemble the style of their ready-to-wear and made-to-measure suits, with the differences being in the way the suit in fitted. Small adjustments are possible from Brioni’s house style, such as the lower button stance costume designer specified for Brosnan’s suits in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies. For other bespoke alternatives to Brioni, Roman tailors such as the various Caracenis make a similar style, but they won’t be the same.


Tom Ford, Brioni and English bespoke tailors all make high quality suits that should last decades if the cloth is hardy enough. This means not getting suits in delicate high super number wools or cashmere. The handwork on Brioni is the best of any suit James Bond has worn. But Tom Ford suits also feature excellent handwork and may be better than the handwork on many Savile Row suits. Savile Row tailors have been paying more attention to finer points of quality in recent years to compete with the type of craftsmanship found in Italy, but the British were never known for the same attention to detail as the Italian are. The attention put into Tom Ford, Brioni and English bespoke suits is all on high enough a level that it should not be a deciding factor when choosing between them.

Many people make the mistake of comparing Tom Ford suits to Zegna suits because the Zegna factories in Switzerland and Italy produce Tom Ford suits. A Tom Ford suit is not a more expensive Zegna suit. Ermenegildo Zegna mainline suits are of excellent quality but nowhere close to the quality of a Tom Ford suit. The rare Ermenegildo Zegna Couture line quality is at the same level as Tom Ford’s quality, but the price is also at the same level. Even though the price and quality of a Zegna Couture suit and a Tom Ford suit are comparable, they are considerably different suits. Tom Ford’s suits are unique to Tom Ford and are very different from anything you’ll find from Zegna. They are designed by Tom Ford. Tom Ford’s suits are influenced by English tailoring whilst Zegna’s suits looks decidedly more Italian. Tom Ford suits are made from exclusive cloths designed by Tom Ford that you won’t find Zegna’s suits made from.

One area where English bespoke tailors excel is in the shaping of their suits. They will stretch and shrink the cloth to get it to fit a person’s body in ways that only bespoke tailors can do. They also use internal padding and canvas to shape a suit to a client in a personal way that factory made suits like Tom Ford and Brioni cannot. Bespoke tailors know your body whilst made-to-measure factories reduce your body to mere measurements and variations on their standard pattern. This personal attention that goes into a bespoke suit is an immeasurable quality. Tom Ford suits, however, come close to English bespoke suits in the amount of shape they have. They have more shape than any other factory-made suit I’ve seen and are the closest thing to an English bespoke suit. Brioni does not come close. A Brioni suit, however, will not feel as stiff and structured as the typical Savile Row or Tom Ford suit, but it also won’t conform to the body in quite the same way.

Pierce Brosnan in a made-to-measure Brioni suit in The World Is Not Enough
Pierce Brosnan in a Brioni suit in The World Is Not Enough

When deciding which James Bond-level suit-makers to purchase a suit from, fit and style should be the defining factors. Get to know which style you like best and which works best for your body. If going with Tom Ford or Brioni ready-to-wear, your choice should be first what fits you best and second what you like best.

The values of Tom Ford, Brioni and English bespoke are difficult to compare. They all cost in the same price range. Some will say that English bespoke is the best value because it’s being made especially for you. The same could be said for bespoke Brioni. But if you really want a ready-to-wear suit from Tom Ford or Brioni and it fits your body type well, that’s what you should get because it will be more meaningful to you. As I mentioned above, there are bespoke tailors who make suits that very closely resemble Tom Ford’s, but true Tom Ford suits are still unique in the own ways. Brioni suits are also unique, whether they are ready-to-wear, made-to-measure or bespoke. Other bespoke tailors in Rome—and maybe some in Milan—can make a suit that looks similar to Brioni, but Brioni still has their own unique way of constructing a suit.

You may have an odd body type and truly need bespoke, or the right ready-to-wear suit with a few alterations may be a perfect fit for you. Tom Ford’s dramatically-shaped suits work better on Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace than Brioni’s boxier suits do in Casino Royale. The soft shoulders that are a part of Anthony Sinclair’s house style looked great on Sean Connery’s already imposing physique, but Pierce Brosnan benefited from Brioni’s typical shoulder padding to build up his slight physique. The right suit may help you look more like your favourite James Bond, but also be aware that what your favourite James Bond wears may not make you look like him.

So who wins between Tom Ford, Brioni and English bespoke? There’s no clear winner because they all make superb suits and you should get what you want. With my fit-first mentality, bespoke always wins.

[poll id=”12″]


  1. My wedding dinner suit was made like a Tom Ford with straight shoulders and a shaped waist. I have a 38.5 inch chest and a 30 inch waist so that style is perfect for me. I think that style suits me best. But I think you can’t get better then English bespoke, but it depends which tailor’s style you like the best.

  2. Thanks Matt – a fine article as usual!

    Of course bespoke tailoring is the winner. IMO it must not necessarily be restricted to English bespoke – one should of course consider Italian bespoke tailoring as an alternative to Brioni suits. Of course Caraceni – as you mentioned, but also Attolini and D’Avenza. Attolini foremost makes made-to-measure suits but they offer a bespoke service as well if I am not mistaken.

    I have rather strict views on made-to-measure vs. bespoke: The first is almost always inferior to the second – given of course that the bespoke tailor chosen is a good one (because there are some others…). But if you have found a tailor whose house style is the right one for your taste you normally won’t consider made-to-measure an alternative any more. And there are many mtm-firms on the market which are really so bad (especially those who apply body-scanning and such rubbish) that each off-the-rack suit has a better fit than the suit they will make for you. Normally the price of good bespoke is (and should be) way above the price of mtm but so normally is its value for money.

    • And of course there are lots of other Italian bespoke tailors beside those I mentioned: Solito, Rubinacci, Elia Caliendo etc. etc. Those I mentioned only were the ones which came first to my mind. Just to make sure that no shall complain… :-)

    • None of the Italian tailors you mention would be an alternative to Brioni because they make much different styles. Attolini is from Naples and very different in style from the Brioni that Bond wore. D’Avenza is ready-to-wear brand and maker, not a bespoke tailor as far as I know.

  3. I did not mention those Italian resp. Neapolitan tailors as “epigones” of Brioni but because I wanted to make clear that there are of course other fine bespoke tailors in Italy beside Caraceni. That all of them have a different style is clear (“Roman” and “Neapolitan” tailoring in themselves are completely different animals). But to me Italian bespoke came first and Brioni afterwars -not the other way round. Therefore I can’t imagine why anyone should go to a bespoke tailor in order to have made a copy of a Brioni suit.
    As to D’ Avenza: You are right about bespoke but they are in the mtm business as well (not only off-the-rack).

    • Even though bespoke tailoring came first, people would go to a Roman bespoke tailor to get something in the Brioni style they became familiar with first from James Bond. I only mentioned the Caracenis (multiple different tailors in Rome, plus the most famous one in Milan) and not the Neapolitan tailors (or any of the other great tailors throughout the world) because they aren’t relevant to getting a Bondian suit.

  4. What is a “Bondian suit”? Since Bond is an English character one might suggest that it is likely to be made by an English tailor. That’s plausible but not true because Roger Moore wore suits by Angelo de Roma etc. Even the literary Bond is known to have suits from Canali in his wardrobe (which are not bespoke suits btw).
    So actually there is no exact answer to the question what a Bondian suit might be. And that Brosnan wore Brioni suits is considered by many (including myself) as an aberration of style because it’s an oxymoron: Bond as one of the best known quintessentially English characters dressed in Italian suits – impossible to believe!
    So it’s difficult to give adivise to someone who wants to look like “Bond”. Rather one should ask him “Which Bond actor do you want to look like?” Even some of the best known English bespoke tailors on or off Savile Row could be considered being not relevant to getting a Bondian suit because their house style is closer to the Italian silhouette than to the English.

    • A Bondian suit is simply a suit that resembles what Bond has already worn and and is a suit that people identify Bond with. I only mentioned in this article what I think is most relevant to Bondian tailoring. Neapolitan tailoring (or for that matter French, German and American tailoring) is not Bondian. A slight exception could be made for Neapolitan tailoring since the ready-to-wear Brunello Cucinelli jacket that Bond wears in Spectre is inspired by it. It’s already too late to change the fact that Bond is now famously known for wearing Italian (more specifically Roman) suits. The whole point of this article is to compare the suits that Bond wears from a purchasing perspective. The question you pose is something I asked in this article, and I hope this article helps guide people to find that answer.

      Just curious, but which English tailors do you believe are more Italian than English? Douglas Hayward was one of the more Italian-inspired of the English tailors based on the lighter construction of his suits, but he still tailored an English style.

    • I dare say, Matt, out of all the tailors that Bond had been through, to be honest, Anthony Sinclair represents the best English bespoke styling (except for the notch lapel dinner jacket). Dimi Major is another good tailor, although from my take, his tailoring can be fashionable, which could push people of conservative minds away . Tom Ford comes close, with the Nutter’s heritage, but Brioni, let’s be serious here – too boxy, to soft, but the shoulder is easily misunderstood. To be honest, even though Brioni follows what they say the Roman tailoring tradition, I cannot really see anything that is Bond – suitable from Brioni. If Bond wants to go Italian, I’d rather see Bond with spalla camicia shoulder with drape chest, to be honest.

  5. I did not mention Neapolitan tailors because they would be relevant to Bondian tailoring but because I wanted to balance my statement. I only referred to Caraceni as a superb Italian tailor but of course there are others – that was independent all whatsoever Bond issues.#

    “Just curious, but which English tailors do you believe are more Italian than English?”
    -Some people say that Anderson & Sheppard suits with reference to certain issues are quite close to Italian bespoke suits. Others mention Maurice Sedwell. In the case of A&S I think it’s really foremost to their famous drape cut which also Neapolitan tailors do. One might argue that the A&S cut remains English even if their suits are of a lighter construction but I would guess that vice versa only from sight it is also not easy to distinguish an Italian suit in the Roman style from a suit from Hayward etc.

    “A Bondian suit is simply a suit that resembles what Bond has already worn and and is a suit that people identify Bond with.” -Yes, but as I said – every Bond actor had a different style. If f.i. somebody wants to look like Roger Moore in TSWLM or MR Italian tailoring definitely becomes relevant. Therefore your poll should perhaps not be restricted to “English bespoke” but, more neutral, only mention “Bespoke tailoring”. Then all would be included.

    Best, Renard

    • I understand you points better now.

      Anderson & Sheppard and Maurice Sedwell are pure English tailoring and not the least bit Italian. London has two distinct schools of tailoring (with tailors like Anthony Sinclair in the middle). Italians may copy them, but the English tailors came first. Though Neapolitan tailors were inspired by Anderson & Sheppard, they do things much differently. Anderson & Sheppard suits are soft, but they’re not light like a Neapolitan suit. Hayward’s suits and Roman suits are at almost opposite ends. Roman tailoring features strong shoulders whilst Hayward’s shoulders are very soft.

      As well-tailored as Roger Moore’s Angelo Roma suits are, just about nobody associates those in a positive manner with Bond style because of their dated style. For that reason I didn’t want to complicate this article even further by adding them, especially since Angelo Roma are no longer around. Roman bespoke tailoring hardly counts as a major or relevant category of Bond’s suits. This article is here to answer questions I’m often asked and to clear up misconceptions I often hear. Nobody has ever asked me about purchasing a suit along the lines of what Moore wears in the late 70s, and therefore I deem it not relevant to this article. However, the same Roman tailors to go to for a bespoke alternative to Brioni would be the same tailors one would go to for an alternative to Moore’s Angelo suits. Here is more information on Roman tailoring:

  6. This is a lovely, chunky article, Matt. Very satisfying. If this post was an item of apparel, it would be a cream cable knit Aran sweater.

  7. “As well-tailored as Roger Moore’s Angelo Roma suits are, just about nobody associates those in a positive manner with Bond style because of their dated style.”
    -No doubt that I would agree to that on the spot but I could name at least two people who comment regularly here on this blog who do exactly that.

    And one general remark as to Bondian suits and the adherent style / silhouette: I think that these questions (unfortunately) have become purely academic ones because nobody really cares about that any more. At least those who really should, i.e. people like Jany Temime. I think she never wasted a thought on how Bond should be dressed according to the character’s style as described in Fleming’s novels etc. And just think of the CR train scene where Vesper makes a remark about the cut of Bond’s suit -“…judging by the cut of your suit you went to Oxford…”. But it’s absurd because it’s a Brioni suit he is wearing in that scene. That shows how idle such discussions are – which is a pity. Therefore I think today you could put Bond in Neapolitan suit – perhaps not one with the famous shirt shoulder but with “con rollino” and made of a cloth a bit heavier than usual and that would make a veritable “Bondian suit” according to today’s standards (resembling a suit Bond had already worn).

    And as to English / Italian tailoring: Today the differences between those two styles are much more blurred than they used to be in times when Fleming wrote his novels. Of course there are still some distinctive features which stick out (I mentioned some of them above). But what if they are omitted? Just to judge by the cut as Vesper Lynd tried to do is tricky and can be misleading. What’s in the books is one thing but how suits appear in reality is something completely different (and more difficult).
    BTW I never said that A&S were influenced by Neapolitan tailors but that both share some similarities.

    • The “con rollino” suits from Neapolitan tailors are still very different from any of the rope shoulder suits Bond has worn. Bond mostly wears suits in light cloths with more structure. A heavy cloth with light structure will have a much different look. Neapolitan tailoring—in either shoulder style—has a very distinctive look that looks like nothing else. Vesper’s comment was implying that Bond’s suit looked like it was from Savile Row, but all it says is that Vesper doesn’t know the cut of one suit from another. English tailoring and Italian tailoring have not changed that much since Fleming’s time. The only way I see that they’ve become closer is that the English now use lighter construction and lighter cloths more like what the Italians use. And as I said in the article, the English now pay more attention to detail in the way the Italians do. But the silhouettes haven’t changed, and that’s what truly defines the many different styles the English and the Italians make.

  8. And BTW: I count three Londonian tailor schools – Military (Gieves, Dege + Skinner), Hacking (Huntsman), Drape (A&S).

  9. “…all it says is that Vesper doesn’t know the cut of one suit from another.”
    -No, to me it’s not Vesper’s ignorance but that of the costume designer. Would be interesting to know if this dialogue line is also to be found in the novel.

    -Military vs. hacking: When comparing a Huntsman suit with a D&S suit I see a difference. The Huntsman normally has a longer and more flared skirt as the D&G, and in addition is more square-cut.

    • I was saying that tongue-in-cheek. That whole scene is not in the novel. I agree that it’s the costume designer Lindy Hemming’s fault for not putting Bond in an English bespoke suit to make the scene work, but as we know there are a number of reasons why Brioni was chosen for Bond. I’m sure they could have put Bond in a one-off bespoke suit for that scene, since there is no action involved. But at the same time, Bond would have needed to wear English bespoke throughout the rest of the film for that line to truly cary any weight.

      The military and equestrian tailors indeed have some difference, as you point out. But they are variations on the same school of tailoring. The shoulders, chest and overall methods of tailoring the suit are the same (naturally with slight variation from tailor-to-tailor) and that’s what defines a suit above all else.

  10. If Bond could have only one decent bespoke suit for the “quiet” scenes! For the action scenes (inexpensive) duplicates made by a costumier would be sufficient. That would be still far better than dressing him exclusively in mtm suits.
    BTW I think it’s a shame that the Brioni and Tom Ford MTM suits are in the same price range as bespoke. That simply means that you’re paying only for famous names and not necessarily for superior quality.

    • So true. Brioni and Tom Ford are factory made suits
      The only reason James Bond is wearing Tom Ford’s suits is that Ford paid the movie producers
      $9 million to use his garments. The top of the line are bespoke suits by A.Caraceni in Milan and Cifonell in Paris. Each suit has at least 75 hours of hand labor in it. Anderson & Sheppard makes a great drape suit but their workmanship and finishing are only fair.

  11. Great article Matt, as usual ! And there is no one absolute, general answer, of course, as you pointed it out.
    I choose Brioni myself because their house style was consistent and looked great on Pierce Brosnan. English bespoke is great too, but there are too many options.
    However, I think the typical Brioni / Roman cut of the 1990s is no more present on their suits anymore. Matt, it would be very appreciated if you could point out some ready-to-wear brands which do offer suits with a similar Roman cut nowadays -at least, with structured, imposing shoulders. It looks like the Italian suits nowadays have all became softer, lighter, and, well, less imposing.

    I think Brosnan was very lucky to be taken care of by the Brioni master tailor for his early movies, since the typical Brioni cut is rather loose through the body, and not very shaped. A cut that is more suited to already athletic physiques, or just for heavy set guys, or people with some weight around the stomach, I presume. And Brosnan didn’t fit in any of these categories in his first two films, yet he looks great -at least to me !
    I even purchased a year ago a Brioni Nomentano navy suit on Ebay, a 38r. I am built a bit like Brosnan in Remington Steele /Goldeneye, yet the jacket is still way too loose. I thought the Nomentano was the model who had the most important structure in the chest and shoulders, yet it’s not that great !

    On another note, I would have chosen Sinclair between Brioni and Sinclair and Tom Ford. It’s clearly the most understated adn elegant cut for a secret agent who isn’t supposed to draw attention.

  12. My vote is for English bespoke.
    Some observation.
    About Italian tailors the situation is more varied.
    First,the Neapolitan.
    Take in mind that what today is considered “Neapolitan style” is the style of one of Neapolitan school of tailoring,the Attolini school.
    For various reasons this school is become in ourdays the main ( if not the one) Neapolitan cut,but back then till in 80s were others Neapolitan style of tailoring.
    For exemple,Angelo Blasi,a great master in Naples,had a more structurate and “britsh” style (i can see very well Connery/Bond wear a Blasi’s suit as a Sinclair suit).
    A cut very close to conduit cut could (and can) be found in many Italian tailors around Italy.
    See this two buttons from LLiola (Milan)
    or this other from another Italian tailor

    • The jackets are very similar to Sinclair’s, but I haven’t seen anything like that out of Italy these day. Or really from few tailors in England these days either. The trousers, however, have a thoroughly Italian look. The Italian tailors never took much inspiration from the English tailors in that half of the suit.

    • Marvelous, thanks for posting, lovely suits those.

      In terms of lightness of Italian suits vs Savile Row or (English suits) don’t forget that most Savile Row tailors like things like H Lesser and the heavier the better, which is rather different from a silk and linen cloth or something from Loro Piana or Zegna typically. Construction is heavier but so are the cloths typically. It’s definitely a cultural thing, we English like things that last and it rains and it’s cold….a lot in England. I think Italian style is much more fashion oriented as well and therefore durability or longevity is not quite as important, although some of the really best dressed Italian men (and French) in my experience really love English style.

  13. Matt,you have right.
    In my opinion the British trouser is the top,then and now.
    For exemple i ask to my tailor for foward pleats,and i think that the daks tabs are more elegant that the belt.

  14. Since we are talking about Italian tailoring too, I would like to ask a question which isn’t really related to Bond.
    Does anyone know who (which tailor, or which brand) made Mastroianni’s suits in La Dolce Vita ? I have never discover an answer. These suits look awesome, with a very pared-down look a bit similar to Sinclair -a very light waist suppression- , except for the shoulders which look more structured to my eye. Carmelo, Matt, any idea ?

    • Fantastic article Matt, and provokes a good discussion. I especially liked the part about bespoke tailors and their house styles. I’ve encountered just the problem you described above – a tailor unable (or unwilling) to deviate much from their house style. I would have done better to keep looking for another tailor in that circumstance.

      I would be interested in your thoughts on British made-to-measure, specifically the Anthony Sinclair M2M Conduit cut suits offered by Mason and Sons. Although I have no personal experience with Mason and Sons, this option seems to offer a more price conscious alternative to English Bespoke, while still maintaining the desired style and fit. I wonder how the quality of worksmanship of these Anthony Sinclair M2M suits compares to that of Brioni or Tom Ford?

      • The ready-to-wear and special order Anthony Sinclair suits from Mason & Sons are nowhere near the quality of Brioni or Tom Ford, but they are also nowhere near the price. They are still very well-made suits amongst the best of what you’ll find at that price. I haven’t found better style at the price.

  15. “Does anyone know who (which tailor, or which brand) made Mastroianni’s suits in La Dolce Vita”?

    Yes,the Mastroianni own tailor in real life,the roman Marcello Rotunno,tailor of others Italian actors (like Alberto Sordi).
    Rotunno make the suits for “La Dolce Vita”.
    Rotunno was still in activity in 80s..was a very good tailor with reasonable prices (in 1965 the cost of a bespoke suit was 100 dollars).
    Another Mastroianni tailor was the famous (and more expensive) Ciro Giuliano (Roman),a rival of Caraceni from 20s.
    In mid-late 60s Mastroianni used also Bruno Piattelli,but were suits for roles in movies (for exemple “Casanova 70′,a movie shot in 1964).

    • Matt, would you please give us your opinion of the Oxxford suit in terms of quality of workmanship compared to the high end Italian makers and English bespoke? Several tailors I know have been very complementary of the quality and amount of hand work in the Oxxford suit compared to Italian makers such as Kiton and Attolini as well as English bespoke tailors. Also, please discuss your view of the fit and silhouette of the Oxxford suit.

      • Oxxford suits are beautifully made, and the handwork is along the lines of top Italian brands, and probably better than the work done by many English tailors. Oxxford has different fits and models, but they range from nondescript updated American cuts to styles resembling Northern Italian suits. They’re much different than an English bespoke suit. You could place them along the lines of a Brioni suit as they fit in to this article.

  16. I wish I could get English bespoke. As I’ve mentioned somewhere on here before, my choices in Cleveland are generally limited to the Italian schools, and almost entirely Neapolitan or Neapolitan-influenced. The only exceptions are the Tom James office here, which is very American and too boxy for my frame (20″ shoulders, 43″ chest, 35″ waist), or a disciple of Angelo Vitucci who somehow ended up here. He’s who I go to for alterations, and will go to for my first bespoke suit when I can afford one.

  17. My uncle has a Maserati with Zegna-exclusive seats, and I have to say they are pretty nice to the touch. I owned a Brioni once, and I didn’t feel that the quality was much better than Zegna. Why do you say that Zegna suits are nowhere near the quality of Brionis? Also, are Zegna and Armani the most popular italian suitmakers? Were they considered for Brosnan ever before deciding to go with the brionis?

    • Brioni has a lot more hand-work than Zegna. It’s a lot of small details. The feel of Brioni is much different than Zegna in the way it sits over the body. I don’t know who the most popular Italian suit maker is, but it’s probably in a lower price range like Canali. I don’t know who else was considered instead of Brioni.

  18. Assuming the suit fits the wearer how the suit makers intended them to, which of these suits makers’ house style do you prefer Matt?

    I’m quite partial to Douglas Hayward myself. I’m especially fond of his lighter construction and leniency towards a more classical cut (not ever wavering towards extremity). His work in Bond, the Thomas Crown Affair, and many Michael Caine’s movies are impeccable and timeless. The famous Thomas Crown Affair 3 piece was especially superb.

  19. What are your thoughts on Ralph Lauren Purple Label and how do they compare to Tom Ford suits in terms of quality, fabrics and craftsmanship?

  20. Personally, its a tie between Tom Ford and English bespoke. I really like Tom Fords Regency cut, but since its ready to wear, it would be harder to find one that fits. Because of that I would prefer a bespoke suit by David Mason in Anthony Sinclair’s style, that way I know they will fit.

  21. I believe Chris Despos in Chicago is one of the best tailors in the country. I have had Huntsman,Anderson Shepard and Brioni

    • Suits from the Tom Ford brand are made by Zegna, as elaborated on in the article. If you’re asking about Tom Ford himself, he mostly wears his own brand (he started the brand to have clothes made exactly to his desires) and also has pieces made by Anderson & Sheppard.

  22. Fascinating article! It made me curious as to how many of us have had a bespoke suit made for them? I’ve never done it, but I have dreamed….

  23. I voted English bespoke. But, trying to include Tom Ford in the same universe as Brioni, Kiton and Oxxford is a joke.

      • Tom Ford is a fashion brand that doesn’t make its own suits. Brioni, Isaia, Kiton, Oxxford, etc. hand make the highest quality suits that money can buy totally in house. Their suits are fully-canvassed, using the finest available materials. Tom Ford’s suits might compare favorably to other fashion brands, like Armani, Gucci and Prada, for example, but Brioni, Isaia, Kiton and Oxxford are in an entirely different league entirely.

      • You are wrong about that. Tom Ford may operate more like the fashion brands, but the make is on the level of the high-end suits you prefer, and above Isaia.

      • Do you feel Tom Ford’s shirts are constructed to the same quality as T&A, Charvet, etc?

      • I don’t think the shirts are constructed as well. Charvet is the best of these. T&A are constructed much differently than Tom Ford, but the quality is about equal.

      • I own a couple Tom Ford shirts and one T&A shirt. Personally, I think the latter is better quality and value overall. Tom Ford uses the sloped method of sleeve attachment which reduces fabric in the armpit but also restricts arm movement. The collars are fused, with the band being fused from outside in for comfort, as well as double cuffs. I really believe double cuffs should have sewn interfacings when asking $570 per shirt. (Which I did not pay.) The one thing Tom Ford has over T&A is that the collar stay pockets are seamlessly integrated to the underside and not visible from straight on. Many people will not notice this difference, but it is a nice touch and one I personally appreciate.

      • I still can’t get over the fact that a RTW Tom Ford shirt costs more than a bespoke T&A. o_O

      • It is a touch absurd, I agree. Their RTW suits seem more worth the money than their RTW shirts. (Though you could also get a bespoke suit for that price.) I only recommend getting them on discount or secondhand like I did. Otherwise, with that kind of money I’d definitely get a bespoke T&A shirt. (Or two from Frank Foster!)

  24. Brioni has really gone off the rails in the past decade. There was the ill-conceived hire of Justin O’Shea as creative director which literally lasted just 6 months (the less I say about this the better… feel free to google the ads from this period). They’ve strayed so far from their roots even Hugo Jacomet didn’t see fit to include them in his book The Italian Gentleman which covered many of the top artisans in Italy.

    Going full bespoke at Brioni today is probably the only way to get anything resembling what was worn during the Brosnan tenure (i.e., a jacket long enough to actually cover your rear end).

    • That truly is unfortunate how they’ve been chasing short term trends and not even giving an option for more classic proportions. The skirt is barely an inch longer than the sleeves! Proportions like that make it hard for me to even find a decent looking, unconstructed cotton jacket for summer like I used to be able to.

      • I could not agree more with both of you. I remember went a few years ago to the Brioni flagship in Paris having a Brioni suit I bought on Enay tailored. It was a 38r but fitted like almost a 40r european. Anyway I just went for asking how much the alteration would be but salesmen and saleswomen could not stop being shocked because it was a 3-button (yes, surprise surprise, 3-button suits didn’t just suddenly appear in the 1990s) and looked grandpa on me. I tried to explain them that a 3-button was better suited to me than the 2-button they offered because of my tall and lean frame (I have roughly the same physique as Brosnan in Goldeneye), but it was pointless. They then pressed me to try a 36r suit in the closest cut they have. I felt like being a sausage in cage buttoning the jacket… and I could not even close the trousers, while I have a rather slim waist.
        I left the store with sadness in my heart, the brand had always made me dream and it was me who had to explain to the salesperson how timeless and well-proportioned my suit was. Maybe if I went to the store in 1999 it would have been different…
        Anyway I didn’t give up and I am slowly waiting to put on a bit more weight to finally wear it with pride !
        Because finding Brosnan style Brioni suits in small sizes is nearly impossible. You start to have some plenty of choices with a size 42, minimum !
        Although I won’t have the money to pay them full price (since Kering bought Brioni prices have increased significantly), I still hope they will come back to their classic, timeless, masculine style one day.

      • That’s disappointing. I had a similar experience at the flagship NY store on Madison Ave. They were polite, but definitely raised a curious eyebrow when I expressed a preference for 3 button.

        I’d be curious if there’s any Italian suitmakers that can cut a similar style as the Brioni of old. Gianna Campagna sadly passed away a few years back….

      • Le Chiffre, find a good quality tailor who is willing to take in your Brioni suit. I am disappointed, but not surprised, that they were trying to do nothing but push the latest fashions on you. Pleats and three button fronts may be out of fashion, but most of Brosnan’s suits still look pretty good to this day. The only time I recommended someone get a new suit, when they brought one in to be altered, were cases when it was going to be far too much work to be worth the expense.

        Regarding your comment about number of buttons, I feel like everyone rocks a two button equally well. I am also slender-framed and tall. Remember that Pierce wore a couple two button suits as James Bond, too.

      • Le Chiffre,
        When Brioni’s style comes back make sure you ask for the customer service with it. You went in to get something cut and instead they wanted to make you look like a sardine.
        If you are ever out in California, use the tailor I have been going to for the last 15 years. I brought a brioni suit to him that I had purchased from a gentleman who had been in a car accident, and was forced to walk a certain way. When I put the suit on it was forcing me to talk the way gentleman that had the accident did. Well my tailors baton along with the skills of his cutters converted it to me, and then the moths used it as a buffet.

    • Fashion comes and goes but style lasts forever. Its some of these trends nowawadays I really don’t know who or what came up with the idea that a suit has to be length of a skirt and the trousers have to be so tight that underwear lines are seen.
      As for the mens furnishings and suits ….
      Might i suggest
      Borrelli for shirts….
      Luciano Barbera and Oxxford sartoria for suits

  25. Let’s not forget to mention that Bespoke is second to none.

    While makes and models are in the market for the masses, Bespoke is marketed to one person.
    I think it’s sad that individuals would pay for a ridiculously overpriced suit (cough, cough Bijan, cough) when they can get a garment of a lower price and it fits like a ,”A job in hand.”

  26. Tom Ford is always a favourite, but can’t go wrong with Savile Row. I’ve always appreciated the Italian tailoring, though the narrowed waists works better with slender body types.

    I’m a sucker for a bespoke experience too. And because I’m based in India, the closest thing to Tom Ford I have here is Sarah & Sandeep. Brilliant pattern making and construction & my floating canvas suit was one of the lightest I own. Check them out if you head to India:


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