Of British Tailoring

Sonya Glyn NICHOLSON

Of British Tailoring

Huntsman One-Button Sport Jacket

The subtleties of traditional English tailoring have become somewhat diluted with the influx of made-to-measure offerings and the practice of outsourcing tailoring work.

As a reminder, if not for posterity, we review what defines the traditional English cut, keeping in mind that the inspiration for English tailoring has primarily been the military uniform, and riding and hunting wear.

According to The Suit by Nicholas Antongiavanni, the British cut can be broken down into four categories, with the Hacking and Military being the chief modes of Savile Row:

1. Hacking – an English term for horse riding. Clean and close-fitting like the Continental style but longer, more broad shouldered, and wider overall. More angular with a flared skirt and deep side vents (although true hacking jackets have a center vent). The purist Hacking is said to be made by Huntsman and Sons.

2. Military – Clean and close fitting, with broader shoulders and overall wider than the Continental style. Stiffer–said in order to hold up military metals, and more rounded than angular. The quintessential Military is said to be made by Dege & Skinner, although some might say Gieves & Hawkes.

3. Drape – Softer construction. Coats are cut with an inch of superfluous cloth in the chest and over the shoulder blades.  This gives them fullness in the chest while maintaining a slim waist and hips. The drape cut has been invented by Frederick Scholte and is the signature style of Anderson & Sheppard.

4. Conduit (aka Edwardian) Spare and lean with narrow lapels, drainpipe trousers and modern detailing. Popular during the Great War period, the Conduit enjoyed a revival among the English after the Second World War and was worn by Sean Connery in the movie From Russia With Love and The Avengers (an adaptation of the iconic television show). This cut favors the slender and should not be worn by the larger gentleman.

Characteristics of Classic English Tailoring (based on the Hacking and Military English Styles):

* Shaped shoulder, usually padded. Line from side of neck to tip of shoulder is straight (not concave).

* Shoulder seam area is even and does not angle towards nor away from the body.

* Moderate amount of chest area is revealed.

* Chest pocket is cut straight, with lower pockets cut diagonally as often as they are cut straight.

* Lapel buttonhole is approximately 1 1/8″ wide.

* Keyhole buttonholes on working front buttons.

* Natural or high button stance.

* Lapel is medium-width, with a fairly high notch placement, typically with a fish mouth notch.

* Arm holes are placed high with the house style varying in terms of whether the armscye cut is large or small.

* Waist suppression/ pinch is more defined than gradual.

* Jacket length covers the seat.

* Skirt has a slight flair.

* Double-vents

* Trousers width matches jacket width.

* Trouser turn-ups are prevalent but sans-cuffs more common.

A Few House Specialties:

Peak lapel, Chittleborough and Morgan.

Dinner Jacket, Henry Poole

Women’s bespoke, Edward Sexton

Drape cut, Anderson & Sheppard

“A man should look as though he has chosen his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.” ~

Hardy Amies

Sonya Glyn Nicholson.