Observant readers of TVG may recall my promise earlier this February to review the suiting of Trunk Tailors. The commission up for scrutiny – a big lapelled navy number in 8 ounce Dugdale fine worsted. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts I was only recently able to complete the final fitting of that garment, with it now currently en route to Hong Kong for (I am assured) the last chunk of touch-up alterations. Although I was frustrated at this missed opportunity to share my experience with that first commission, Jack Liang (one half of Trunk Tailors) suggested I fill the void with a more succinct report on the second suit I have since had made through him and Homie (Trunk Tailors’ co-founder).
Given that solaro cloth is always a voguish textile for menswear lovers, and that alterations were unnecessary, we proceeded to snap a few spontaneous images of this commission using a ‘point and shoot’ camera. While these digital photographs fail to capture the full complexity of the solaro cotton or the breadth of comfortable movement possible, I am delighted to say that this suit is a joy to wear.
The historical origin of solaro cloth harkens back to the early 20th century. David Isle of No Man Walks Alone wrote a fantastic primer on this one hundred year old fabric, and my commission is made up in a beige variety which ticks all of the boxes in the aforesaid article. The particular bolt that this suit has been made with weighs between 9 and 10 ounces, and comes from Neapolitan textile merchant Caccioppoli. Like Delfino, Caccioppoli are particularly well known for their seasonal fabrics, as is reflected in this slick and breathable cotton from the ‘Cottone Speciale’ suiting book. Needless to say, it wears extremely cool. The cotton also possesses visual interest that comes courtesy of its earthy beige tones, which complement a wide – and not always obvious – spectrum of different shirt and tie colours.
As for the quality of the suit’s construction, this is another area in which I am reasonably satisfied. The jacket chest is made with a hand padded canvas that is comfortable to wear, while having the knock-on effect of supporting the cloth’s rigidity. To accommodate my pitched shoulder position, Jack & Homie instructed their tailor to insert padding in the left shoulder of the jacket. This insertion ‘smooths’ out the uneven height between my two shoulders (particularly when I am standing upright) and was generally well executed. If I were to be pedantic, the additional padding becomes more visible when I crunch my left arm at an angle. However, given the range of motion the crown and sleeve of a jacket experience daily, that is a minor gripe at best. Because of its more casual aesthetic, I opted to have this commission cut with single button cuffs. Again, the work on the sleeve buttonholes is visually intricate (especially given the pricepoint) and did not incur an up charge – an observation worth making given the artificial pricing barriers many custom clothiers employ these days.
A notable element of Trunk Tailors’ value is in the quality of their hand finishing. Naturally, they are unlikely to engender the same degree of awe in this area that tailors such as Cifonelli or Liverano do, but at the former’s pricepoint I was continually left impressed by the consistency of the hand work displayed. The Milanese style finishing on the lapel buttonhole is both tightly controlled and evenly spaced, while the pick stitching on the jacket front (including the welted chest pocket) is cleanly and deeply set. These aesthetic details do not intrinsically speak to the quality of a commission, but suggest the skill of the cutter. In particular, the physical control that individual possesses when working more unconventional cloth (i.e. cotton) in their hands.
The house style that Jack & Homie have worked to implement across most Trunk commissions is decidedly Italian. While they are happy – upon your instructions – to fit and cut a more English silhouette, I opted to preserve the sort of aesthetic that naturally complements a sporty fabric like Solaro. For me, the totality of their house cut is extremely attractive. This commission possesses open quarters, an extended skirt (that doesn’t float metres above my arse) and a gentle amount of waist suppression that accentuates the ‘golden ratio’ between my shoulder points and waist. It also bears mentioning that Trunk Tailors’ trousers are cut with a higher-than-average rise, perfect for shlubby men like myself who wish to draw as much attention away from our paunches as possible. Overall, the rise of the trousers is flattering without sacrificing the comfort in the more integral areas of the waistband and seat.
For those who patently obsess over a tailor’s historical prestige or who bear some reservation toward Asian made garments, Trunk Tailors may not interest you. Personally, Jack & Homie have managed to craft a suit for me that sidesteps many of the problems I have encountered with previous made to measure specialists. The fit is generally very comfortable, classical in its proportion, and made up in a fabric many other ‘tailors’ would have slapped me with an artificial surcharge for. The potential for customisation (i.e. single button cuffs) also adds value to your overall experience and I can confidently say I will be visiting Jack & Homie for another commission some time in the future.
Cloth – Caccioppoli 8-9 oz solaro cotton
- Thomas Mason ‘Royal’ OCBD by P Johnson Tailors
- Drake’s of London essential black grenadine (for The Armoury)
- Christian Kimber ‘Lapsang’ tassel loafers
- Garrett Leight ‘Hampton’ polarized sunglasses
Total price (subject to change) – $1700 AUD