The world of men’s fashion is a melting pot of global style influences of all the fashion capitals of the world, but one country stands above the rest with its style influence. Today, Italy reigns supreme in the world of men’s fashion and sets a tone that has a reach on a global scale. Their European swagger influence has a astronomical presence in menswear with the allure that we men of style aspire to achieve. So how do we dress like an Italian man?
The first thing to note in the Italian man’s style is what is describes as sprezzatura, an old Italian word that translates to a “studied nonchalance.” This powerful word speaks to the look of Italian fashion that appears effortlessly dashing as if they look that sharp by mere coincidence and nature. So I’ll pick apart the fine components of these aristocrats of swank so that you too can achieve the sprezzatura that these men are famous for.
The most important aspect of Italian style is there ability to pull of the pairing of luminous colors into any given look and make it appear not only graceful but sheer bad-ass.
The color choices are bright but not flashy as these guys go for the pastel hues and earth tones that come to mind when you think of the American WASP’s but done in a way that is quintessentially Italian. These color options paired with classic neutral are the uniforms of the dandies of Italy and this area is a good place to start to embody the Italian man’s uniform.
Italian style is about being effortlessly chic and what is more effortless or chic than a perfectly tailored blazer or sports jacket. What makes the Italian mans blazer distinguished is that he goes for a soft shoulder and of course a slim cut that defines the modern gentleman’s tailoring. The slim fit suit has been influenced in America making this one of the most sort after cuts in menswear across the globe
Just as with colors, these men take on pattern fearlessly and get away with pairing several in one look without looking like a character from your favorite TV show as a kid.
One look that comes to mind when I think of Italian men’s style is a double breasted blazer with white or a pastel colored pair of pants. Its classically Italian and a ensemble worth adding to your personal style catalog.
To add, Italian gents are really embracing the deconstructed blazers which are the epitome of laid back elegance and what this country is known for. The added benefit of deconstructed jackets is its breathable quality due to the lack of a lining and the lightweight fabrics used that makes the smart and sharpest layer options for a Summer in Milan.
A growing trend among American men is the demand for bespoke tailoring thanks in part to the renowned boutiques of Savile Row but now, Italy has become the name synonymous with custom made tailoring and it by no means ends with suits. The importance of fit has been instilled in the Italian man most likely as soon as they left the womb, so a level of respect and lineage plays a factor in their style of dress and that is why the Italian man of style’s shirts is very often made to measure.
It’s almost dangerous to say and I hope I don’t get attacked by a gang of sharply dressed millennial men for saying this but it’s completely fine to skip past the bespoke if you want to save a penny or thousands and opt for a slim or athletic fit. If you are unsure which cuts fit you best, make sure to ask as sales person for guidance as they are hired to be pros at handling these questions. Just to add and contradict myself a bit (which I often do) their are a growing number for online shops that offer made to measure items for men a pretty affordable rates so bespoke does not have to belong solely to the fortunate few any longer.
Don’t forget, these guys fear no colors so to really bring on the Italian flair, pick shirts that have sophisticated colors and patterns like the ones pictured above which can be found at most fashion forward retailers.
As the old saying goes, “God is in the details” and the men of Italy understand and celebrate this notion in the accessories they wear. Scarves made of thin fabrics, vibrant socks and lapel pins, do these sound familiar? These items that have been the talk of menswear are some of the style staples of our Italian brothers and these are some of the areas they use to show off some color and they don’t forget to show some love to their wrists as well.
These little trinkets of awesome are quite the trend in Italy and they are playing with all the favorites such as beads, metals and even roped bracelets. Bracelets scare a lot of men because we were traditionally told to avoid any man jewelry besides a watch and a wedding band but as time progresses, so should our style as long as it’s done with a node to the past with an eye to the future. With that in mind I say that bracelets are a great way to sneak in some subtle details to your look even in the office.
I wear beaded bracelets in business casual settings and I highly doubt it has ever offended anyone because I paid close attention to the execution of these accessories in a given look.
For casual settings, feel free to go all out and create that cuffed look formes by wearing a cluster of complimenting bracelets on your wrist but of a formal setting, I would stick to maybe one made of metal or two that are beaded at most but the leather is a bit more on the casual side and should be left to those settings. As for anything in between casual and formal, I would say less is more so go for a balanced look that shows off the bracelets but does not scream CHECK OUT THESE WRISTS!
I’ve heard that vintage is preferred which I think reflects the theme of tradition in Italian menswear so I would suggest picking a watch that has a classic look with the understated elegance of the bygone eras in timepiece design that can easily be found today. Therefore, I would go for slim design with a timeless leather band and minimalist face that is clean and free of multiple dials but hey, I’m all about putting an individual spin on a classic look. Many brand offer these simple and elegant watches for a reasonable price but if you can afford a Rolex, go for it just be careful where you walk at night!
The classics in fine footwear such as monk straps, cap toe oxfords, and desert boots are all great options but their preferred style seems to be the loafer. Loafers are the perfect effortless shoes that can pack on a statement like no other especially in the manner most worn by the men of this country and that’s sock-less.
This is one of my all time favorite looks especially with the famed tassel loafers that are so often featured on these men of sartorial finesse. If sock-less isn’t your thing but you want to achieve these laid back look, you can cheat like me and take the root that go for a sockless look that isn’t so sockless.
Some shoes are not very comfortable to wear sock-less and of course there is the dreaded foot sweat that comes with warm weather so I simply reach for a pair of no show socks. These are socks that provide all the benefits of cotton socks and tuck discreetly in your shoes so you can go foot commando without the watery toes.
All of these ideas and looks are being adopted into the American style of dress for men so you won’t be the only one donning these looks but you can definitely be one of the most provocative symbols of sprezzatura in the custom that is the Italian man’s style of dress.