A Review of Lanieri: Su Misura Suiting

Note: for a limited time, Styleforum members can take 200$ off a new Lanieri suit by using code STYLEFORUM200 at checkout! This offer is only good from 5/19/2017 – 5/28/2017. Visit Lanieri to make your order.


Although I buy a lot of stuff online, with clothing I’m usually hesitant unless the place has a good return policy or I know how it will fit. I especially don’t want to deal with the difficulties of returning clothes internationally. So I usually just go with makers that I know – probably like most of you do as well. However, sometimes I have placed online orders through online Made-to-Measure manufacturers in pursuit of a specific style, fabric or pattern.

I had often seen Lanieri online, and had also spent some time browsing through their thread on Styleforum, in which Riccardo Schiavotto – one of the founders of Lanieri – showcases the expanding range of options that their company offers. Browsing their website and the thread, they make clear that they manufacture 100% Made-in-Italy garments. They use fabrics from prestigious fabric mills and merchants, including Reda and Vitale Barberis Canonico (both of which are investors in Lanieri), which provide choices for a wide range of tastes and budgets. They use a well-established Italian tailoring house to make their garments in northern Italy, and the cutting, stitching and finishing of the garment is done entirely with Italian labor. More or less, Lanieri is trying to remind their customers that – like food – Italians still take style and quality in manufacturing seriously.

Their attention to detail extends to customer service and marketing. On Styleforum, Riccardo listens to the concerns and feedback from the community, answering questions about the manufacturing or materials, while also working to incorporate more customization. For instance, Riccardo has pointed out that their pants feature horsehair canvas in the waistband, or that they offer a selection of horn or mother of pearl buttons. He has taken the time to listen to the community, and soon Lanieri will offer full-canvas suiting, sometime by the end of summer (currently their structured jackets feature a true half-canvas).

So when Fok, Styleforum’s owner and administrator, asked me if I’d like to write a review of Lanieri in exchange for a suit, I jumped on-board and said yes. Please note that I am under no obligation to review them in any specific way. My only compensation was a suit of my choice from a selection of their fabric offerings. You can read Styleforum’s Review Policy here.

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Designing a Garment

Lanieri has a number of options that allow you to create your own garment so that it meets your sense of style. Personally, I appreciated the online visualization of the garment, which updates to show the various options you’ve chosen as you design your garment. You receive a feel for the overall look of the garment you’re creating. Of course, you are not able to see or feel the real end product, with all its nuances, until it is in natural light in your hands–but for what it is worth, the visualization gives you a sense of whether you are designing an abomination or your dream suit.

Their buyers vary their selection of fabrics each season, and offer a range of staples in addition to more exciting and more nuanced options. The fabrics have descriptions that showcase a wide range of weights, Super numbers, and weaves. The more interesting fabrics currently include some linen mohair blends, tonal Prince of Wales checks, or wool-silk blends. If all else fails or you need a staple, there is always a range of essential wool suiting.

review of lanieri lanieri su misura lanieri review styleforumLanieri provides peak, notch and shawl collar options, both in more “modern” slimmer lapel widths and wider configurations. Their buttons include a range of polyester, horn, mother of pearl and/or pearlized choices.  I’m a sucker for horn buttons, and would rather get a suit that already has them on it, considering that many ready-to-wear makers do not use them. Of course, you get to choose the interior qualities, including lining style, color, contrast stitching, et cetera.

You can also include any notes you want them to see prior to making the garment. I had opted, after speaking with Riccardo, to go with spalla a camicia instead of their standard suit option, spalla con rollino. If you want spalla a camicia, just put it into the notes. Riccardo has stated that one of the reasons it is only available to those that ask is because most of their clientele don’t seem to like spalla a camicia on account of the extra fabric in the sleeve head. I ended up finding that they sew it with less fabric than what you would see in a spalla mappina.

Ultimately, I opted for a half-lined Solaro suit in a nine-ounce fabric by Drago (you can read about why you want a Solaro suit here) with dark horn buttons, a mélange melton collar and beige lining. The final cost for the garment as made was $920.

After designing the garment, you fill out your measurements, guided by a somewhat campy (but not in a bad way) video featuring instructions on how to measure yourself (or rather, how to have someone else do it for you). Included in the measurements process are qualitative visualizations in order to help them understand your shoulder shape, gut and posture.

Of course, my wife had difficulty measuring, and so we had to repeat several measurements. Lanieri actually reached out to me, stating that some measurements were strange, and to please confirm them. After confirming them (good thing I did…) they sent it off to begin cutting, and the suit’s fate was sealed.

Inspecting the Result

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Working cuffs, horn buttons.

After a little more than three weeks (my order coincided with a lot of holidays in Italy – Easter, Pasquetta, and Liberation Day, among others) my order was shipped via FedEx International Priority. Two days after shipping, it arrived at 10 AM in sunny California placed in a giant cardboard suit box; they arranged the suit folded on a wooden hanger inside a canvas garment bag. Included were spare buttons, and some information on how to care for your garment, reminding you of the importance of proper maintenance to ensure the quality and integrity of your garment. Personally, it always serves as a nice reminder to treat your clothes well.

Overall, the final product was nicer than I expected; the Solaro fabric by Drago has a wonderful hand, drape and overall color. Living in Southern California, I feared that it would be a bit too hot, but it has a surprisingly open weave. The cupro bemberg (another plus) half-lining helps keep it breathable. The buttons are solid, well shaped natural horn, and the garment has even and durable machine stitching throughout.

Because my jacket and pants are half lined, I opened them up to take a peek. Sure enough, they are using light horsehair canvas throughout the waistband (a split waistband, as the Italians like to use), and in upper half of the jacket. The shoulders have some light padding to assist in drape, and the fusing (running the bottom half of the front of the jacket) is much higher quality than what you would see in most RTW makers. I was impressed with the softness and the quality of the half canvassed garment, providing an extremely nice balance between soft and stiff construction.

review of lanieri lanieri su misura lanieri review styleforum

You can see the lapel roll and the “Spalla Camicia”.

With regards to fit, the jacket fits well out of the box. The shoulders hang well with a fairly good sleeve pitch. I think the sleeve length is spot on (and they have to be, since they include working cuffs). I have narrow shoulders, so oftentimes I end up rejecting off-the-rack tailoring that is either too tight in the chest or too big in the shoulders. The only thing that I would note for a future order is that I prefer my jackets to be cut longer, with most of my jackets averaging about two centimeters longer than what Lanieri chose to provide. Additionally, if they offer higher armholes, I’d prefer that too (the armhole is on par with many of RTW Italian makers) Having lived in Italy, I know the Italians do like jackets to be shorter. And I find this to be acceptable, especially with an informal fabric like Solaro. At least the jacket appears to be covering my ass.

The pants are another matter for me. While they fit in length, the waist was larger than I would prefer (especially with a split waistband since I prefer the waist snug), and the seat could be brought in slightly in order to help it drape better. Additionally, I have a forward leaning stance, so I feel they need to be be cut wider in order for the pants to drape better, since the fabric accumulates on my calves when wearing OTC socks. With shorter socks or no show socks, I don’t have that issue with these pants. I’ve since taken it to my alterations specialist to correct this.

I will note that the garment had a couple loose threads in the seams and that they did forget to include the two rear suspender buttons in the trousers. Both of these are difficult to correct, but it is a minor annoyance.

The good news is that Lanieri wants to ensure that you have a perfect fitting jacket, so they will take into consideration these alterations (you submit a form with the alterations to them in order to get a refund) for future orders, or they will remake your garments if they are deemed uncorrectable. Like any online MTM program, I wouldn’t anticipate getting perfection on the first try, but because Lanieri is invested in keeping you as a customer and making you happy, I think the opportunity here is to build a relationship between client and company.

Price, Quality and Final Thoughts

Lanieri isn’t bargain basement dirt-cheap, but for the price ($920 as ordered), you get quality fabrics, good construction, the ability to design your garment in your style, and Italian manufacturing. Within the range of fabrics that Lanieri offers, they have cheaper and more expensive options (all of which are good fabrics from prestigious Italian fabric mills); this allows you to cover your wardrobe requirements with cheaper work suits or more expensive suiting for special occasions. I think that within the market segment, they offer a product that is certainly capable of meeting your needs, and which also provides you with the opportunity to – eventually – order well-fitting garments in your own style without the hassle of alterations.

Lanieri has a wide range of sales, including ones timed to holidays. These sales provide you the opportunity to get what you may need without breaking the bank. Outside of the sales, Lanieri is worth the price, considering that staple suits from quality makers are hardly ever found in a decent sale. For a reasonable price you can get a good garment that will last you quite some time and suit your needs.

Soon, Lanieri will expand by opening an atelier in New York, providing customers the opportunity to be measured in person and see the quality of sample garments prior to purchase. In addition, with the launch of a new full-canvas option, Lanieri will be placed extremely well as an accessible option within the market for quality made-to-measure menswear.

Note: the Solaro fabric shown in the review – named Riviera on Lanieri’s website – will be back in stock on their website in the middle of June.

 


  • This is not sponsored content, however, Lanieri is an affiliate of Styleforum. To read Styleforum’s review policy, please click here.
  • If you’re interested in browsing Lanieri’s options, you can do so here.
  • To read Lanieri’s Affiliate Thread, please click here.

Perfect Spring Style: the Popover Shirt

As further proof that fashion – and men’s fashion in particular – operates entirely in cycles, I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many popover-style shirts at so many different retailers as I have this spring. Although it never disappeared, the popover hasn’t exactly been a mainstay of menswear since the 60’s, when Gant made up the style in oxford cloth and it became an instant favorite of the Ivy set. Certainly, there have always been men who’ve worn them, especially in Italy (as opposed to elsewhere in Europe) – Gianni Agnelli was, after all, well known for favoring them – but especially in America, they’ve been a purely casual item to be found mostly at Ivy retailers (Brooks Brothers, Gant, occasionally J. Press), and mostly made up in Ivy colors and fabrics.

The thing is, the popover wasn’t a new style when Gant “introduced” it to the East Coast (besides, Agnelli appears to have been wearing them – with a spread collar as opposed to a button-down collar – by that point). It’s full-length buttoning that’s relatively new, and which only appeared in the mid-1800’s. If you’ve ever browsed antique shirts, you’ve probably noticed that most of them – whether they’re the sought-after French workshirts or the “formal” English pieces – only sport half-plackets. It was only after the introduction of the full placket that popovers slowly disappeared across most of Europe and America.

Part of the recent dearth of popovers, at least in terms of contemporary fashion, must surely be due to our decade-long obsession with Tight Things. Since popovers must be pulled on over the head, they require a bit of extra room in the body to accommodate waving arms and wide shoulders, and I can only imagine that said extra room was anathema to most brands attempting to ride the slim fit wave. In addition, the view of popovers as a purely casual item didn’t do much for their popularity, but as tailored clothing continues to become less and less important to the daily lives of most men, it appears that popovers are – at least in some places – back on the menu, so let’s talk about how to wear them.

First, it’s easy to find casual popovers cut to a length that’s meant to be worn untucked. If you want to channel Ivy style, add a pair of chino shorts, a woven belt, and some penny loafers, and you’re set for summer on the Vineyard.

popover shirt styleforum

Spring and summer are, in my opinion, the perfect seasons for popover-wearing. The slightly relaxed cut, especially when done in a linen or linen blend, is great for warm weather, especially as a vacation shirt. That’s because it’s nice-looking enough that you can wear it out to dinner, but not so nice that you feel bad bundling it up with a beach towel. And you don’t have to be channeling the preppy thing, if you don’t want to. Roll up the sleeves, put on a pair of Vans, and you’ll look just great. Or do as men such as Gianni Agnelli and Yasuto Kamoshita do (Kamoshita also often wears polo shirts under his jackets), and wear yours under an odd jacket or with a suit. The point is that no matter the style you’re after, a popover is a great shirt to have in your wardrobe.

If you’re looking for casual options, affiliate Need Supply is a good place to start, as are brands like Gitman Vintage. If you’re open to wearing a band-collar shirt, those aren’t hard to find at all. Tailoring-friendly options are a bit less easy to come across, although Kamakura offers their own take on the Ivy classic, as does Brooks Brothers. Eidos has been known to offer both band-collar popovers and long-sleeve henleys in the past, and Ralph Lauren’s stock rotates regularly. Amusingly, Gant’s own popovers come and go as well, so you may have to do a bit of searching. If you know exactly what you’re after, Proper Cloth also offers popover plackets as an option.

popover shirt styleforum

It just so happens that affiliate No Man Walks Alone stocks this great linen popover from G. Inglese, which would look pretty darn good with one of those Solaro suits we keep talking about. Wear it with a tie or without, with laced shoes or loafers. However you decide to wear it, wear it in good health, and enjoy the good weather.

 

How to Wear a Solaro Suit

how to style solaro suit how to wear solaro how to wear a solaro suit solaro styleforum

Summer, to any menswear aficionado, means Solaro. How could anyone not love a fabric that contains the essence of summer in its name?

Because of the neutral tone of the cloth, a Solaro suit is quite easy to wear, and you probably already have in your closet the right garments to complement it. Let’s explore a few options that will make the most out of your sophisticated Solaro suit.

Shirt

Because of the summer nature of the Solaro fabric, chances are you’ll want to wear a light shirt that will keep you cool. I would opt for an ivory/white shirt in linen or light cotton, with no pattern. Light blue works just as well, but be mindful not to add too many colors: the beauty of the Solaro lies in its red iridescence, and you shouldn’t wear any color that overshadows it.

Since Solaro suit pants look good even when separated from their jacket, your outfit will look put together even in case the heat will force you to remove the top part of the suit. You can even unbutton the first two buttons of the shirt, roll up the sleeves  and prepare to look as close to Gianni Agnelli as you’ll ever be.

Spezzato

I grew up in a country where men hardly wear suits with matching pants and jacket. Okay, this is an exaggeration, but I assure you that it’s not uncommon for Italians to play with their suits and mix & match their parts according to their mood and taste.

Because of the light tint of the fabric, a solaro suit will give you plenty of options should you decide to wear the pants and jacket separately. White is, again, an excellent pairing, as well as warm tones that flatter the red hue bleeding from the weave. If you’re feeling brave, you can even wear a pair of blue jeans, like style icon Lino Ieluzzi.

Accessories

A burgundy tie and an earth-toned pocket square will complement both the red and tan hues of the cloth, like the ever-impeccable Fabio Attanasio shows in the picture below. Naturally, since the Solaro is a light color fabric, you can go tie-less – as most people seem to prefer.


 

Usually solaro suits are made bespoke, but you can find ready-to-wear options such as this suit by Eidos for No Man Walks Alone. You can also get a made-to-measure, made in Italy Solaro suit by Lanieri.

Let us know if you’re the proud owner of a solaro suit or if you are considering stepping up your summer game and buying one in the near future. Don’t forget to share your pictures in the What Are You Wearing Today? thread on Styleforum!

If you would like to read more about Solaro, click here to learn about its history and why it makes a perfect choice for a summer suit.

For more inspiration about Italian style, check out the 5 Rules To Dress Like an Italian.

@AriannaReggio

Why a Solaro suit is the only suit you’ll need this summer

The time has come to legitimize the Solaro suit as a staple garment in any man’s wardrobe.

Oh please, don’t give me that look. We already established a long time ago that brown and earthy colors are no longer reserved for the countryside, and we integrated them as part of our daily – and even business – clothing. A Solaro suit is going to be your best investment this summer.

Soldier with African pigmies. Photo: Wikimedia

First, let’s go back to the origins of the fabric. Despite being quite popular among the Italians, we owe the invention of Solaro to the Brits and their assumption that the red color repelled radiation caused from direct sunlight.

The Solaro was born at the dawn of the 20th century, during the colonialism of the Tropics. The London School of Tropical Medicine dedicated studies to the wellbeing of the soldiers in colonial lands: climate conditions in tropical areas were incredibly harsh, and a need for new fabrics and garments to protect the colonizers arose as it did the belief that they were responsible for dreadful tropical diseases.

One of the School’s scientists, Louis Westenra Sambon, conducted some studies on the skin of the colonized populations, coming to the conclusion that the darker pigment was able to block off the UV rays coming from the sunlight. It was clear to him that Nature provided the natives with the necessary protection against the harm of the climate, and that the colonizers would have had to find a way to protect their fair skin just as well. Clothes were the obvious choice, as they act as an additional layer to protect the body from the external agents.

sambon inventor solaro

Dr. Sambon, the inventor of the Solaro fabric.
Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

It was common knowledge at the time that light fabrics retained less heat than dark fabrics; however, white garments were not quite suitable for soldiers. Khaki green, on the other hand, was both light and suitable for a soldier’s uniform, and that’s why Dr. Sambon chose it as the base of the cloth of his invention: the Solaro. He added to it a red layer that supposedly repelled the UV rays.

“Dr. Sambon, assisted by Mr. John Ellis, has produced a fabric hat has a “perfect khaki effect” on the outside and a red colour screen on the inner surface, and he has stated that Mr. Bailey has examined it at the University College and that it has proved as impervious to the actinic rays as is the skin of natives of tropical countries. This cloth is called Solaro. We have not seen specimens of this cloth, but we note that it is obtainable at Messers Ellis and Johns, Tailors, 21, South Moulton Street, London, W.”¹

“Unlike clothing promoted for use in tropical climates today, Solaro was meant to prevent more than sunburn and carcinomas. It was designed to inhibit the “actinic” rays—what we would now call ultraviolet (UV) radiation—of the sun, which were thought to disrupt proper physiological functioning and produce nervous disorders. The design of the clothing was linked to the observation that skin color was darkest where sunlight was most intense.”²

Another debate concerned the type of fabric that would work best against the heat: cotton or wool? German zoologist Gustav Jaeger pointed out that many animals survive in tropical areas with a wool coat, and that wool breathes better than vegetable fabrics, which are not meant to be used in clothing: Nature has clothed the animals. Man clothes himself. Animal wool, which Nature has created to clothe the animal body, is the ‘survival of the fittest’ clothing material.”³

His assumption is at the base of Dr. Sambon’s choice of wool for the Solaro.

solaro fabric

Original Solaro fabric

The patented Solaro fabric –“Original Solaro Made in England”- is produced by Smith Woollens (now part of Harrisons). It weighs 310 gr and is in a tan/olive-ish color with a herringbone pattern. It features an underside woven with brick red yarn;

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Solaro fabric. Photo: No Man Walks Alone

this characteristic produces an iridescent sheen that is most evident when the light hits the fabric at a specific angle, but it is nonetheless quite subtle.

Today there are several mills – Loro Piana, Drago, Angelico, to name a few- that produce Solaro in a variety of weights and hues, yet remaining somewhat faithful to the mid-weight, khaki-and-red original version.

The most common fabrics employed to create Solaro are pure wool twill and yarn-dyed gabardine.

As I mentioned, the Italians are particularly fond of Solaro suits, as they embody perfectly the Italian sprezzatura with the relaxed, casual, and slightly impudent look provided by the semi-iridescent cloth. It’s not uncommon to spot distinguished, elderly Italians wearing Solaro suits, whether they are businessmen riding a bicycle in Milan, or classy Neapolitan gentlemen savoring espresso at a café while reading the Corriere della Sera.


Here are a few good reasons why a Solaro suit is the perfect integration to your summer closet:

It’s a conversation starter; we are not given that many chances to make fun of the Brits (if we don’t consider Brexit) so why lose the chance to make a joke of their belief that a red thread in their suits would keep them safe from tropical diseases? Jokes aside, the history of the fabric and its continental charm make a good topic of conversation for anyone who has an interest in menswear or history.

It’s unconventional but not crazy extravagant; the red sheen is barely there, just enough to remind the world that you are confident enough to pull off a suit that goes beyond the conventions. You own it.

It suits everyone. Just take look at the gallery, and you’ll see that a solaro suit looks good on every single person, flattering every complexion from the fairer to the deeper. Additionally, it seems to class-up everyone’s style, making the solaro suit the male equivalent of a pearl choker.

It makes a great option for business casual. I promise not to roll my eyes and scoff when you tell me that America is too conservative to allow such a suit to be part of a business environment. However, to the West Coast fellows that suffer from suit envy because their workplace is too casual to wear even the most innocent two-piece navy suit, I say: this is your chance! A Solaro suit is casual enough to be worn even in an office where the most formal piece of clothing is not-ripped denim, and you won’t be labeled as “the uptight dude in the navy suit”. Plus, you can lose the jacket any time and not look like you forgot a piece of your outfit at home.

If you’d like to read what other forumites have to say on the matter, there is a whole thread dedicated to wearing Solaro for business.

It’s incredibly easy to style. Click here to read our guide to wearing a Solaro suit – including some spezzato options!

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Note: please note that the original Solaro cloth is only available through Harrisons and their agents, and it is a registered trademark. Any other maker that refers to this type of cloth with the name Solaro is in trademark infringement.

@AriannaReggio


1. The Indian Medical Gazette, Volume 42, p. 188

2. Bulletin of the History of Medicine: Bull Hist Med. 2009 Fall : 530-560

3. Jaeger Gustav. In: Dr. Jaeger’s Essays on Health-Culture. Tomalin Lewis RS., translator. London: Waterlow and Sons; 1887. p. 116.