Measure For Measure: H. Freeman MTM Sportcoat

We all have our dealbreakers when it comes to tailored jackets, and over the past couple of years I’ve settled on mine: I need a natural shoulder and a three-inch lapel. Everything else is negotiable. Of course a center vent is kind of required, since I mostly wear buttondown collars and believe they’re best paired with a single vent, but those aren’t tough to find. And darted versus undarted doesn’t really matter to me.

The problem I’ve come up against is that there’s very little off the rack that fits this criteria. I can get a narrow lapel though not with a natural shoulder, and I can get a natural shoulder but not with a narrow lapel.

The only source I’ve found for both — not to mention bonuses such as patch pockets, lapped seams and a 3/2 roll — is Polo Ralph Lauren, but these jackets tend to run about $1,500. I’ve been lucky to find three on eBay at a fraction of that, and these Italian-made jackets are terrific. Another option is the new Norman Hilton, where you don’t get patch pockets but you do get a hook vent, and the shoulder is natural and the lapel is three inches. Unfortunately fabrics are limited.

But at Bruce Boyer’s recent book-signing party at Leffot, I spent a long time talking shop with a bunch of hardcore clotheshorses who suggested I try LS Clothiers on West 45th between Fifth and Sixth. The result is my first made-to-measure sportcoat, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The jacket was manufactured by H. Freeman, originally founded in Philadelphia a century ago but now operating out of Maryland. I selected one of their fabrics, a simple mid-weight charcoal herringbone, and offered up my physique to the tape measure. About a month later the jacket arrived, and it’s a peach. The comfort factor is amazing due to the balance of how the jacket hangs from my shoulders. But just as compelling as comfort is the ability to choose all the details.

Jacket details include a full canvas lining with plenty of handwork, a 3/2 roll, lapped seams, edge stitching and 8.5-inch hook vent. The chest is undarted but has some mild shaping through the sides. The two-button cuffs feature working buttonholes, and I provided the English horn buttons myself. And of course you get your name sewn in the lining, which is kind of cool the first time you see it.

For the next one I’ll bring in some Holland & Sherry cloth and maybe scoop up the last of Paul Winston’s Kama Sutra lining.

You’re probably wondering about the price. With tax and working buttonholes (a $38 surcharge), the jacket came out to $640, quite a bargain considering you’re getting exactly what you want and a perfect fit.

Inside the breast pocket there’s a little card to remind you where your money went. Thanks, Mary. — CC

31 Comments on "Measure For Measure: H. Freeman MTM Sportcoat"

  1. Beautiful! But let’s see it on

  2. It’s vulgar to post pictures of yourself on the Internet, though I’ll be doing just that in the next (unrelated) post.

  3. ….looks really, really nice. Looking fwd to seeing it on. Happy New Year.

  4. Jim Kelleth | January 5, 2012 at 10:46 am |

    I ran across LS Clothiers some time ago and bookmarked the site, but haven’t had a chance to get into New York. Very glad to read your positive review.

    A couple of months ago, I stumbled into a Brooks MTM event and used my corporate discount to help knock off a little more, but the final price was nowhere near $640. I got a Harris Tweed in a basic three button sack and went for the cut-through buttonholes, too. I’ve been wearing Southwick for decades so the result was familiar, reliable and just what I wanted. Now I’m more anxious to treat myself to LS.

    Can you give us a quick rundown of the process? A description of their fabric choices? Bringing in your own material?


  5. Back in the twilight zone H. Freeman made clothes for Ike during his presidency and his vice president Dick.

  6. Christian,

    Am I correct in assuming that this handsome jacket has little or no waist suppression?

  7. Very little. I may ask for one to be perfectly straight and see how it comes out. I do think a sack cut can look cool on a thin guy and isn’t just for those with something to hide.

  8. I find that the perfectly straight sack cut is truly distinctive.

  9. NaturalShoulder | January 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    It is hard to believe they were able to produce a US made jacket for that price. The jacket looks fantastic. I have used Southwick for MTM work, but may need to consider H. Freeman.

  10. I find H. Freeman’s natural shoulder to be superior to Southwick’s. Although I haven’t tried a newer Southwick jacket so it is possible they have improved. That H.Freeman is beautiful. You got a bargain.

  11. People seem to mean different things when they say “natural shoulder”. What do you mean by it, Christian ? Do you mean unpadded or vey lightly padded ? Certainly Polo Ralph Lauren sport coats are padded, albeit lightly. Or do you mean bald (sleeves attached like shirt sleeves) ? In this photo ( ) the first is roped, the middle is normal (i.e., not roped), and the last is bald. The differences in the three are entirely how the sleeves are attached, and not in the padding. I would consider the suits on the H Freeman site to be “normal” not “natural”.

  12. Sharp, great choice.

  13. Ive learned to be creative on a budget and have bought jackets at reduced prices for less and then have had tailored to fit ie. removed the shoulder padding, adding a third button,closed back vent or even shortened the length, etc.. To get the desired look I like all at a fraction of what a new or custom jacket would cost.

  14. Looks sharp, will definitely think about giving them a try. Does anyone have experience with Mr. Ned? Seems to be in the same price range…

  15. LS also carries Southwick MTM, but I believe that H. Freeman is the preferred choice in that it allows more customization.

    You can buy from the H. Freeman fabric bunches, the usual books (Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana, Gladson, etc.), or your own cloth. There is no mark-up on cloth ordered from the books. Of course, the most economical choices are the H. Freeman bunches or your own cloth.

  16. Recent post from Tony the Tailor on Styleforum:

    “I replaced H. Freeman with Southwick. Had huge quality and service issues with H. Freeman. Mr. Rothchild’s situation is one of many I had with them the past season and they became so arrogant, especially the shop foreman who is actually an accountant and not a tailor, that I had to let them go. I ask for full canvas or half canvas, garments came in fused, wrong models shipped, not following my measures, etc.”

  17. I fully agree with Scott. Anybody who claims that a ready-made jacket cannot be altered to look like a made-to-measure jacket simply has not found the right alterations tailor. Because of my waistline, I have to buy ready-made jackets that are two sizes too large and then have the shoulders narrowed and the sleeves shortened. I have worn such a jacket to the BB flagship store and been complimented by an old-school salesman on the fit of what he thought was a made-to-measure jacket.

  18. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, Christian, but I already contacted Paul about his Kama Sutra linings and he won’t sell it. If you want that lining you have to get the jacket from him. Annoying, what?

  19. Congratulations on the new addition to Quest, just saw the new profile!

  20. All eight pages posting here Monday. I think I’ll call the post “Vanity Fare.” Better than “Big in Japan.”

  21. Dutch Uncle | January 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm |


    I’ve had experience similar to yours:

    My tailor will disassemble a ready made jacket: remove the sleevs, and separate the jacket into 3 pieces: back and two front panels. Two fittings follow: one to adjust the shoulders and the width and length of the front, back, and sides, and another for the sleeves. Costs more than simply having the jacket aletered, but far less than having it tailored from scratch. (I don’t know why it costs less: it seems like double the work for the tailor to disassemble and reassemble the jacket).

  22. Chens,

    There is currently a debate raging on the FNB forum about your jacket. Apparently that 3/2, lapped-seamed, patch-pocketed, hooked-vented jacket isn’t “real” Ivy.

  23. “There is currently a debate raging on the FNB forum about your jacket. Apparently that 3/2, lapped-seamed, patch-pocketed, hooked-vented jacket isn’t “real” Ivy.”

    Typical of the FNB crowd. All talk and no action.

  24. @Zach

    That’s because of the name on the inside, and I don’t mean H. Freeman’s.

  25. Congratulations Chris,great coat! im very impressed.
    American quality is back!

  26. @Zach

    “There is currently a debate raging on the FNB forum….”



  27. I have never visited the FNB forum, so I have no idea what
    they’re saying.

    I do know, however, that in all my years I have never seen a jacket that was more Ivy.

    For the curious among us, where exactly on the FNB forum is this absurd debate raging?

  28. @Old Trad

    Whether it is, or isn’t, is irrelevant. The only thing “raging” over there is one ill person. Pathological lying and trolling is a full-time gig for him.

  29. Christopher Landauer | January 9, 2012 at 9:19 am |

    It looks like a great jacket with all the typical Ivy details.

    I have checked that thread, Zach. It seems, it was only one man’s opinion, a single person out of about a dozen posters who didn’t like it, maybe a case of sour grapes, and everyone else loved it…

    Even a “Jimmy” who I suppose is the former “Russell Street” jumped to defend the jacket…

  30. Although I opened this post with the line “We all have our dealbreakers…” some of the UK guys have their identity wound up so tight with this topic that they were apparently threatened by my personal insistence on three-inch lapels.

    Nowhere did I stand on a podium and claim that this is a platonic ideal, an Ivy absolute that everyone must follow. The fact that these nuts went digging through history to see what lapel width was the most Ivy shows you the dangers of being a fanboy of anything.

    That being said, if you’re a retro-hipster obsessed with the ’50s and ’60s but all you’re cherished Ivy jackets are from the ’70s and ’80s because they’re easier to source and less moth-eaten and all have 3.5+-inch lapels, then I’ll stand on a podium and say…

    You just ain’t hip.

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