The “Milanese” Buttonhole- an American Invention?

First of all, you won’t find one of these buttonholes in Milan, so how is it that many people refer to it as such? Several possible reasons. One of the key ingredients is gimp, the thick, stiff cord around which is wrapped very fine silk thread, and this gimp is often referred to as “Milanaise” in French, where they also refer to the buttonhole as a “boutonniere a la Milanaise”, or, a buttonhole with gimp.Read More

Some beautiful American Hand Tailoring

I haven’t done one of these in a looooong time and for that, I apologize. I recently acquired this jacket and wanted to take a closer look. I had a hard time dating it precisely because the silhouette suggested mid to late 1960’s but the lapel shape wasn’t right- when I got it open I realized that a tailor had narrowed the lapel by 3/4″ at some point after it was made, so I thinkRead More

An Approach to Haute Couture at Balenciaga

Long-time readers will be aware of the huge influence Cristobal Balenciaga has had on my work and will not be surprised at my excitement about the upcoming masterclass being given at the Balenciaga Museum in Spain. Registration ends July 18 and the form can be found here


A few years ago I had posted about the dreaded “divots” but apparently that post has long since disappeared and people have been asking for it. A fit defect dubbed “divots” by Styleforum can be seen in the top part of the sleeve and most people make the mistaken assumption (or assertion) that the jacket shoulder is too wide for the person. It is not. Here is an example of a divot. And here areRead More


A few months ago I was contacted by Dirnelli who had seen something he thought might be of interest to me. A handmade shirt. And before I go much further let me preface by telling recent readers that one of the original intents of this blog was to explore the merits, myths and mystique of handmade clothing, with a particular focus on suits, sport coats and trousers. There is a lot of romance surrounding theRead More

An Explanation?

A story, translated (and slightly condensed) from the website of the tailor who made the suit we most recently dissected. If i recall correctly, about ten or fifteen years ago I was visited by a client who was not particularly elegant but who was wearing a suit from a very famous and expensive brand. Despite the expensive suit, he seemed to me to be a mannequin in grey chalk stripes. The client, who was givenRead More