This beautifully rounded, unpadded shoulder is from the current collection of a well known menswear retailer. Can you guess who? It’s Paul Stuart, from the uber-elegant Phineas Cole collection. Why am I sharing it? Let me explain.

The brand, once called the “poor man’s Brooks Brothers,” has put an impressive amount of refinement into the shoulders of its Phineas Cole suit jackets and sportcoats. They’re made in Canada (sound familiar?), but Paul Stuart designer Ralph Auriemma (who’s known to his colleagues as a perfectionist), says he went back and forth with the factory extensively until he got the shoulder exactly how he wanted it.

Now it is “our version of a natural-shoulder jacket,” as he calls it, and it has a higher and smaller armhole than the Ivy sack jackets of yore. And of course the default button stance is a one-button peak lapel, which is far too rakish for most trads.

But I selected it for sharing because it serves as an example of the pains one menswear brand is taking to get a natural-shouldered garment exactly right, guided by a designer with a specific vision working assiduously with a remote factory until it delivers a shoulder to his satisfaction.

For more on Phineas Cole, check out this story I recently did for Bon week-end. — CC