In the last few years, the Neapolitan Jacket has grown in popularity among menswear aficionados who appreciate the art of fine tailoring. Originally from Naples, this jacket offers great comfort and lightness to its wearer. If constructed and tailored well, one should be able to perform any daily task in it from driving a car to harvesting tomatoes.

But what is a Neapolitan Jacket? The following is a guide to Neapolitan jacket characteristics – what differentiates them, and what makes them worth owning.

  1. No/Minimal Padding – Traditionally, the Neapolitan jacket has no shoulder padding and to further facilitate freedom of movement, the Neapolitan shoulder on informal jackets is sewn like a shirt sleeve (“spalla a camicia”) and it follows the natural curve of the human body rather than give it shape. This type of sleeve is cut about 10 cm larger than the armhole, and it can be finished with the “repecchia” – that visually interesting shirring the tailor creates with the extra fabric.This little flair, which supposedly allows for even more freedom of movement, is known as “manica a mappina”, and it gives the jacket a beautiful “rugged” appearance (“mappina” is a Neapolitan word for rag). For formal occasions, the Neapolitan shoulder features a “rollino” – a little roll of padding that raises the sleevehead to drape more cleanly.
  2. Minimal Padding Suit

  3. Shorter Sleeves – The Neapolitan sleeve is usually shorter than that found on other jackets, as Neapolitans love their shirt cuffs to peek right above their wrists, especially when adorned with elegant cufflinks. The sleeves are cut closer to the arms, in order to avoid extra fabric hanging when these are raised.
  4. Short Sleeve Suit

  5. Half Lining or No lining – Just like shoulder padding, lining is considered an unnecessary burden and the Neapolitan tailors keep it as minimal as possible. Usually, the jacket is unlined or only half lined, in order to provide lightness; even the sleeves are completely unlined, as they’re meant to fit like a second skin. Additionally, the lining is often left open (“volante,” literally “flying”) so that we can admire the fine details and construction of the jacket.’
  6. Half Lining

  7. Wider Lapel – Neapolitan jackets are famous for their wide lapels, which oftentimes are peaked (“a punta”) for double-breasted jackets, formal jackets, and coats. The “risvolto dentellato” (the “classic” style of lapels – not peaked) are notoriously wider in Neapolitan jackets: they can be as wide as 4 inches, compared to the 3 inches of a regular lapel width). Just as is the case for the pockets, the Neapolitan lapel features double stitching running along the sides – a stunning detail that’s peculiar of a Neapolitan creation – although reserved for the less formal pieces.
  8. Wider Lapel

  9. Buttons and Button Holes – Perhaps the most infamous characteristic of the Neapolitan jacket is the three-roll-two construction (“tre bottoni stirato a due”); the Italian translation makes it clear that the lapel that hides the third button is actually ironed by the tailor, who gives it a roll that elegantly folds over the button. The reason for this choice is – you might have guessed it – the extra freedom of movement provided by a longer opening in the front. For what concerns the buttons on the sleeves, they are always working buttons, and they are always overlapping, as if they were kissing each other.
  10. Buttons and button holes

  11. Chest Pocket – The chest pocket is uniquely cut in a boat shape or cut a “Barchetta”.
  12. Chest pocket

    For more information about the above and for any tailoring inquiries pertaining to the Neapolitan Jacket, kindly contact the writer at