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.
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.
Lanieri 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
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.
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.