The process of being measured by Antonio Ambrosi for a pair of his trousers is a most amusing one. It begins with him casting an eye over your legs as his son, Salvatore, makes a few tape measurements. The entire process lasts about 30 seconds and will leave you bewildered. 'Surely that's not enough time to measure me for a pair of pants,' you'll think. But you'll be wrong. And not only will the pants be correctly cut, beautifully sewn and wonderfully finished, but they will also fit you better than any pair of trousers you've ever worn since the day you graduated from playsuits. And you'll know instantly, even without looking in the mirror, that until the day you die, you'll never be able to find trousers that fit better than those the Ambrosis have created. Your world will be rocked. It'll tilt sideways. Because there's a certain awe, a touch of sad finality and a near divine exaltation when one arrives at one of those rare moments in one's sartorial adventures - to have found what can only be described as 'The Best'.
Like all pilgrimages, the way to Ambrosi's atelier is fraught with trepidation. Travel the winding serpentine route, through Naples' intimidating rabbit-warren streets lined with men hoping to liberate you of your camera, cash and Rolex, to Via Giovanni Nicotera, and you'll arrive outside a nondescript battle-scarred green iron gate. In all likelihood, Salvatore Ambrosi will be waiting for you to make sure all is well. Cross the tiled courtyard and enter the Ambrosi atelier - essentially a living room facing their laboratorio, where every pair of their trousers is cut by Antonio and stitched together by Salvatore.
This may bring about another bout of head scratching. 'How is it that such treasure is found in these humble digs?' you'll think. But put aside your doubts. There's a reason why every one of the world's most elegant men - from Michael Alden, founder of the ultimate sartorial cognoscenti's meeting place, the London Lounge website, to Michael Anton (a.k.a. Nicholas Antongiavanni) author of The Suit, a sartorial homage to Machiavelli's The Prince - has his pattern hanging on the walls of Ambrosi's laboratorio. This is because there is no other tailor on earth capable of making trousers of such spectacular rakishness.
But, be forewarned: Antonio and Salvatore make only one kind of trousers. It ranges between slim to very slim cut, it features double inverted pleats, it is narrow bottomed, medium to low waisted, generally generously cuffed, and just a whisker on the short side - as is the style in Napoli. But the trousers are far more than the sum of their parts, because through years of experimentation, Antonio Ambrosi has arrived at a style of trousers that will make you instantly look 10 pounds lighter and three inches taller. When asked about this, Salvatore Ambrosi chuckles and replies, 'In our part of Italy, men are a bit on the shorter side. So, we make trousers that create a sense of height.'
Slip a pair of Ambrosi trousers on and you'll suddenly stand more statuesquely, your bearing becoming somehow more heroic.