Life After Eidos: Fully Canvassed Suits That Won’t Break the Bank

As the desire for quality, authenticity, and longevity in men’s clothing once again became more appreciated, Styleforum has been here for guys to share their knowledge on the questions that inevitably cropped up.

Who made these shoes?—Look at the nail patterns.” “Who made this private label suit?—Look at the manufacturer tag.” “Is this line of suiting full canvas or half canvas?—Here is the history of that maker’s quality for the past 25 years.

It is this last point—full canvassing in suits and sport coats—that remains a worthy benchmark for determining a garment’s quality and value. I’d say cut, fit and design are more important in deciding whether a suit or jacket “works” on someone, all other things being equal. But thanks to the resurgence of interest in tailored clothing in the last 10 years (however long it may yet last…), there are a lot of good options for full canvas tailoring.

One of the original value propositions of my favorite menswear brand, Eidos, was that it offered full canvas, made in Italy tailoring, at an almost unbelievable price point (I believe sport coats started at $895, suits at $995). Prices crept up over time, and with Simon Spurr’s first collection, suits will begin at $1395 (no word on sport coats). That is definitely an increase over the years, but it’s well within the norm for what you’ll find from other brands of similar quality (and limited handwork). No Man Walks Alone will continue to carry Eidos in their own signature cut from the brand at least through fall, so it’s business as usual at least through 2018 for customers of Greg’s.

As for the new aesthetic direction Mr. Spurr is taking the brand, I like to keep an open mind about things, and who knows – maybe it’ll be great. However, I’ve cultivated a list of other contenders for my tailoring wants if that doesn’t turn out to be the case. Here are five I’ve got my eye on.


Berg & Berg

Only two seasons into their tailoring offerings, this Scandinavian company has expanded from men’s accessories into a nearly complete collection. Their tailoring is made in southern Italy (Puglia, the region at the heel of Italy’s boot). The collection is small, with only four suits and four odd jackets this Spring (one being double breasted in each category) but it is exceptionally well priced. For those outside the EU, without VAT, the price for a jacket is as low as $656 and a suit $852. The cut hits all the notes you’d expect this day and age—soft shoulder, lightweight canvas for a soft structure—with some departures from the mainstream, namely a longer jacket length and slightly wider than average lapels.

Check out: Berg & Berg Dan II Single Breasted Fresco Suit

SuitSupply Jort collection

SuitSupply is pretty much the king of half-canvas, contemporary, European-centric tailoring. Being made in China and having a vertically integrated retail presence, their prices are very competitive. Their Jort line—named after the company’s “sartorial historian” Jort Kelder—is fully canvassed. Each season, they produce a tightly curated Jort collection, using better fabrics that feature a slightly more elevated design compared to the main line. It takes the same cues as the rest of the company’s tailoring—soft-shouldered with a bit of grinze, lightweight canvas, open patch pockets if the fabric and design calls for it—but adds some design flourishes that most Styleforum guys would appreciate: a lower buttoning point as well as a slightly lower breast pocket, both of which lean on the more classic side. Jackets start at around $600, and suits are priced at a solid $1,000.

Check out: Suit Supply Jort Brown Check

Proper Cloth

Even though they’re known best for their made to measure shirts, Proper Cloth has offered other clothing items for a long time—accessories, sweaters, outerwear and even tailored jackets. Recently, they upgraded their tailored offerings from simply off-the-rack to made-to-order. It isn’t quite to the same level of customization as their shirts, but with sizes ranging from 32 all the way to 64 (at single intervals), with short, regular, and long lengths, as well as three fits (classic, slim and extra slim), there’s a pretty good chance you can hit the mark in fit, or at least get pretty close before alterations. Their Hudson jackets and Mercer suits are fully canvassed, while the Allen suits and Bedford jackets are half-canvas, coming in at about 2/3 the price. The design details on them check all the standard boxes—soft shoulder, open patch hip pockets, unlined, etc.

Check out: Hudson Navy Performance Wool Hopsack Jacket


I quickly took notice of this new shop from Jake Grantham and Alex Pirounis (both formerly from The Armoury). Just like Berg & Berg or SuitSupply, they are a self-branded store, which means they don’t carry products under other labels. As the name clearly communicates, their product is meant to fuse the best of British and Italian menswear traditions: soft tailoring and design from Italy, and English fabrics. I stopped by the shop when I was in London last October, and really liked what I saw and felt. Their biggest focus is on made-to-measure, but they do stock a small collection of tailoring off the rack each season, as well as a full range of other products—ties, trousers, shirts, outerwear, etc.). Everything is made in southern Italy. For those outside the UK, a sportcoat runs about $1,350 (with the current exchange rate of about $1.41 per Pound Sterling). Trousers are about $350.

Check out: Anglo-Italian Sport Jacket Brown Broken Twill Wool

Sid Mashburn

Much has been written about Sid Mashburn. His personal charm is legendary, and his business has grown immensely since its opening, so he must be doing something right. At this point, there are enough cuts in the American-Italian spectrum to please most customers. His full-canvas sportcoats start at around $700 and suits start around $1,000.

Check out: Sid Mashburn Kincaid No. 3 Ticket Pocket Suit

Ring Jacket

Although it’s made in Japan, Ring Jacket designs along southern Italian lines—a curved barchetta pocket, open patch pockets, soft construction and soft shoulders. Part of this is because the company, which specialized in making suits and jackets for brands in Japan over the years, had a factory manager that studied tailoring in Naples, learning from them. He helped to recreate Ring Jacket so it features smaller armholes and larger sleeveheads. Their products were only available from only a couple retailers in North America for a long time, but despite their slow and deliberate expansion, it’s now a bit easier to find. They have their own e-commerce for some products, and a list of stockists you can find here:

Check out: Ring Jacket New Balloon Wool 256 Double Breasted Sport Coat 

In Defense of Structure

Last year in these pages, Mitchell Moss made a strong case for the appeal of soft tailoring. His argument, like his subject, is approachable, laid back, and appealing. In offering a defense of structured tailoring, I’ll try to give the counter-argument without being rigid and inflexible.

What do I mean by structure? In practical terms, I mean a few features of a suit jacket or sport coat that give it shape—particularly shoulder pads, wadding, and chest canvas and padding. Of course, the vast majority of jackets fall in between totally unconstructed and heavily built up. Most good ‘unstructured’ jackets still have a very light canvas layer; they don’t give up on structure entirely. But more abstractly, by structure I am writing about anything that inclines a jacket to shape the wearer as well as the wearer the jacket.

There’s a great old thread on the forum which captures a common trajectory of new menswear enthusiasts:

“You came to SF looking for an answer to a clothing question. You got caught up, and next thing you know, you’re wearing suits, jackets, dress shirts, ties, wingtips, dress pants, etc. Eventually, you come full circle and realize you look like Pee Wee Herman in the real world and decided to tone it down a notch.”

What begins as research for a single suit purchase, for an occasion or a new job, leads to a swelling appetite for everything #menswear. Your new hobby leaves you hopelessly (if not obnoxiously) overdressed. And at this point -it’s true- soft tailoring is a godsend. It takes the formality down a notch. You stop wearing a three-piece to the beach and find some middle ground. Since you never did work for a white shoe law firm, even though you dressed like it, soon enough it’s spalla camicia all week.

But this doesn’t have to be the end of the journey. When you’ve experienced the appeal of soft tailoring, you can go back to structure with a subtler eye. To the newcomer, suits are formal and stiff, and that’s the whole story. Once you know better, you can see the difference between ’80s Armani shoulder pads and the subtle shoulder extension of Liverano. You can feel the difference between the cardboard-like fusing of a cheap suit and the tension of the stiff horsehair chest piece in a Savile Row jacket, which begins equally firm, but molds over time to your body. In short, you start to see structure as a series of nuances and possibilities.

I don’t believe anyone has a single “true” style. Finding a style that suits you is an ongoing process, and the right answer changes as you develop, change jobs or lifestyle. And if there’s no one “authentic” choice, you’re always free to experiment.

If you’ve gone over to wearing soft tailoring for every occasion, here are a few reasons to reconsider:

Structure comes in degrees.

You don’t have to go straight from Isaia or Boglioli to Huntsman. Between the two are the Northern Italian makers like Canali and Pal Zileri, who excel in modest, refined use of structure. While I love Canali’s Kei Jackets, which wear almost like knitwear, a modern Canali mainline suit has subtle shoulder padding which just grazes the body, creating a clean line from neck to shoulder without adding imaginary bulk.

Structure provides balance.

When I ordered a suit from Luxire, I was in conversation with the tailor who was making it. During the fitting process, he observed that one of my shoulders is higher than the other, which is not uncommon—especially for men. Because my suit had shoulder pads, he could balance the jacket by taking one out and sewing in some extra wadding. Wadding is like music in films or seasoning in cooking: if it’s added correctly, you don’t notice it except as an improvement to the shape of the whole.

Structure can also be cool.

When you watch a film like O’Mast it’s easy to recognize a level of bravura and danger in the Naples of Antonio Panico and Renato Ciardi’s childhoods that starchy, high bourgeois London and Paris cannot match. And with it comes unaffected, careless elegance. But while Naples is associated with unstructured tailoring, it’s also where the spalla con rollino is perfected: the rollino highlights the shoulder by rolling excess sleeve into the sleevehead to create a distinctive raised silhouette. Think of Rubinacci, or the Anglo-Italian house cut.

Structure is flair.

While plenty of structured suits aim for stiff formality (as do the military uniforms from which they were derived), Tom Ford’s use of structure is all about sculpting, exploiting and exaggerating the torso to create gravity and sex appeal. Anderson and Sheppard’s drape cut fills out an Olympian chest on any figure. Cifonelli’s iconic cigarette shoulder makes no concession to conformity.

I’m not arguing against soft tailoring. Everything in its time and place. But it’s worth finding the time and place to enjoy the fine balance—and the virtuosity—of structured jackets.

Join the conversation on the forum on the Soft Vs Structured Tailoring thread.