Pagoda: The Other Natural Shoulder


When most people think of natural shoulder suits, it’s the soft shoulder that curves down at the ends to follow the shoulder into the arm. But we often forget that the shoulder has a concave shape too, though some men don’t have a shoulder like this. The pagoda shoulder suit follows and emphasizes that concave part of the shoulder, but it does not curve down at the end like some other natural shoulder jackets do. Instead the shoulder line curves out, often ending with a roped sleeve head to emphasize the concave shape. Usually this type of shoulder has padding on the end to keep the shape, but some tailors may achieve this look with just proper sewing and canvas. It’s not a very common type of shoulder, but it’s found on Tom Ford’s Regency model that Daniel Craig wears in Quantum of Solace. Some of Timothy Dalton’s suits in The Living Daylights also featured a pagoda shoulder.


      • A very sensible choice. Still not sure how I feel about roping.

        You should share some of your clothing collection on here sometime. I’d be very interested in what you have to offer.

    • It’s not common at all. A true pagoda shoulder can really only be done bespoke. You’d have to find a tailor willing to do it, and he’d probably be somewhere in Italy.

  1. For me the pagoda shoulder is the most impressive-looking of all shoulder constructions. It gives that sweep from neck, over the trapezium to the shoulder.

    This article:

    from Jeffrey D’s blog – Made by Hand – has a good technical discussion of it; including the fact that a pagoda shoulder was once considered the ‘natural shoulder’ because it follows the natural curve (of some shoulders anyway…)

  2. Nice breakdown. I thought about getting a bespoke suit made here in Thailand, but every single tailor polsters the shoulders way to much no matter what you tell them… I don’t understand it… Might have to wait until I am back home.

    Matt, any particular tailor you can recommend in Italy? I would love to get a custom suit made with a pagoda shoulder, something you don’t see every day.

  3. Can’t say I care for the pagoda shoulder much. It seems to draw too much attention to itself, IMO, and make the wearer look stiff and robotic.

  4. Is the pagoda shoulder a natural shoulder with a roped sleevehead? In comparison to the Brioni shoulders in the movies, which were heavily padded, how much padding does the pagoda shoulder on the Tom Ford Regency suit have? I feel like the shoulder of the Tom Ford is much weaker and less structured compared to the Brioni shoulders. Would the pagoda shoulders on the Regencys in Quantum of Solace work well for me if I have a wide upper body and a muscular physique? Or would they overpower me?

    • A pagoda shoulder is natural because it follows the naturally concave part of your shoulder. The roped sleevehead is separate. A pagoda shoulder would work fine for a muscular build if it doesn’t build up the shoulder too much. Pagoda and natural refer to shapes, not about how much padding the shoulders have.


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