If the jacket fits, wear it
Let’s start with a handy definition. A tailor’s block isn’t quite the same as a finished pattern, per se. Rather, a block is a reference used by a cutter as the foundation for a garment – every menswear brand will create blocks for its shirts, jackets and trousers to perfect their fit. These are then adapted to lend clothes a brand’s unique look or ‘house style’. Think of a block as the ‘master framework’ that goes into a finished garment.
At New & Lingwood, we take our blocks very seriously. Take our jacket blocks, for example. Each and every one has been carefully refined season-upon-season to ensure an impeccable fit, whether single-breasted, double-breasted, structured or unstructured. While each is broadly similar, we also pay close attention to the details of each and every different block we produce, making unique tweaks to ensure they are as comfortable to wear as can be.
Take our classic single-breasted block. This is the foundation for the majority of our suits and separates, and is a modern take on a timeless British ‘structured’ jacket. It features fitted shoulders, but the shoulder pads we use are slimmer than is conventional on Savile Row, for a modern, clean look. The sleeves feature rolling sleeve-heads that frame the wearer’s torso, and a tailored layer of horsehair canvas runs through the jacket’s chest to lend the wearer a trim, flattering silhouette. These fundamental structural choices make up the block, and the jacket’s styling features are then added to this to give a finished garment its individual character.
For example, the hacking collar and slanted pockets on our Bretby jacket mark it out as a country-appropriate hacking jacket, while our Horsley jacket feels more like a sports coat to wear around town, care of its straight hip pockets, side-ticket pocket and notched lapels. Nevertheless, both are cut on the same block, so you can be sure they will both fit no matter which one you choose.
It’s a similar story with our double-breasted blocks. We cut a classic Savile Row influenced double-breasted jacket, with a flattering line through the waist and well-balanced peaked lapels. We cut our lapels with a ‘full belly’ too. This tailoring term marks them out as having a sweeping rounded profile, rather than the dead-straight outside edges favoured by most Italian tailors. The result is a masculine silhouette, which is nonetheless understated. This season, our Derwent wool and cashmere jacket is a good example.
We also have a second double-breasted block, which we think of as a house signature. Our eight-button ‘guardsman’s coat’ is based on the high-buttoning blazers worn by senior British military officers during the early 20th century. This season, our Bramley double-breasted suit shows off the block perfectly; it’s cut a little slimmer through the body, with a narrower wrap across the jacket’s front and a smooth hourglass waist to match.
Not everything we make is structured. In recent years, we’ve developed a comfortable deconstructed jacket block too, designed to offer a softer alternative to a traditional suit or sports coat. With no shoulder pads and only a light layer of canvas in the chest, our deconstructed jackets feel more like cardigans to wear in plush corduroy like our Rokeby corduroy blazers, or rugged tweed like this season’s Bicton jacket. These designs are well suited to weekend or casualwear, paired with relaxed trousers and loafers.
Really, that’s all there is to this little trade secret. The key to finding tailoring that works for you is to find a block that works for you – so it’s lucky that we have four jacket blocks for you to choose from.