“Italian style” for men: you know it when you see it, whether it’s in clothing, or in cars, because it’s truly stylish. If you’d like to dress with flair and panache, read on.
By the way, if you’re in a rush, we can help you to achieve the look you want quickly: please book a Styled By Sally style consultation.
Italian style for men: based on the best materials and craftsmanship
Major Italian fashion houses pride themselves on sourcing the best materials, so when you read “Made in Italy” on the label of a suit, you can depend on the quality.
For example, luxury Italian label Ermenegildo Zegna sources ultrafine and superfine merino wool from Australia. It bought controlling shares in a NSW sheep operation just so that all its merino wool would go directly into Ermenegildo Zegna’s supply chain.
Quality materials and expert craftsmanship are part of Italian style, but what makes Rome and Milan’s fashion instantly identifiable, and different from the fashion of London or New York?
In a word: sprezzatura, defined as “studied carelessness.”
Without a doubt, Italian men’s fashion has sprezzatura, but it’s a contradiction, surely? Can you be studied, as well as careless, in your style?
Perhaps sprezzatura depends on the care you take, with your choice of personal style, clothes, and tailoring.
Beau Brummell, English Regency era fashion icon and arbiter, is considered to have invented the traditional men’s suit 200 years ago. Although Brummell took immense care, it’s said that once dressed, he paid no further attention, nonchalantly strolling the palaces and drawing rooms of fashionable London: the very definition of studied carelessness.
How to achieve sprezzatura: “studied carelessness”
Consider three ways you can achieve Italian style, with sprezzatura:
- Classics: start with the classics, suits and jackets: choose quality over quantity;
- Tailoring: bespoke is expensive—achieve made-to-measure styling with clothes altered for the fit you want;
- Personal style: choose separates, with Italian suit style. Then mix and match: indulge your quirks.
1. Start with quality: classical suits and jackets
Italians are not fans of fast fashion, nor of clothing or accessories identifiably new. Choose quality and craftsmanship in all your clothes, especially in suits and jackets, so that they will last.
Winter or summer, your sprezzatura Italian style starts with a jacket or blazer. Italian men always wear a jacket, no matter how formal or informal the occasion. So when you’re choosing clothes, choose separates which you can mix and match, and dress up or down.
Base your wardrobe on a deconstructed suit. That is, a less structured jacket, with little shoulder padding: emphasize body fit and lapels. If you find a suit you love, but the fit makes you unhappy, alterations can come to the rescue. An alterations tailor will give your suit a bespoke look at a fraction of the price.
Perhaps your wardrobe needs an overhaul. It may be stuffed with clothes, but you feel you have nothing worth wearing. Consider a Styled By Sally wardrobe overhaul: you may already have clothes you can mix and match. The wardrobe overhaul includes a personal style plan.
2. Fit is everything: make friends with a tailor
Sprezzatura starts with initial care: with clothes that fit precisely. Study your wardrobe. Declutter it, eliminating everything you don’t love. Then try on what’s left and find an alterations tailor to get the perfect fit in each item.
It’s magic. When you wear clothes which look made for you, you’ll look stylish and you’ll feel confident.
3. Dress with Italian style: wear clothes your way
Beau Brummell reportedly said of the Prince Regent that his tailor made him, while he (Brummell) made his tailor.
To achieve perfect Italian style, wear your clothes your way: anyone meeting you should notice you, rather than your clothes. This means considering your outfit’s harmony, whether you’re dressing formally, or informally.
When styling your workwear for example, consider a matching jacket and vest, with chinos in summer. Add a single quirky item: a fobbed watch, or paisley tie or pocket square.
Build your essential wardrobe for Italian style
Ready to embrace sprezzatura? Let’s look at some essentials to consider for your wardrobe.
- Start with a lightweight wool suit you can wear in summer or winter: Italian, of course.
- Remember that the fit’s everything. It may be possible to get the perfect fit in something you buy, but it’s unlikely. Get alterations done immediately. Beware of pants which are too long. Ensure they’re hemmed at your ankle, or just below.
- Consider chinos, again altered to fit.
- Style everything. If you find putting items together a challenge, get advice from Styled By Sally.
- Quality counts, especially in accessories. Get the best shoes you can afford, of quality leather, or other natural material in summer. Avoid revealing designer labels on accessories.
- Think traditional wear, in your watches and summer hats. A quality watch and hat should last through several years of wear.
- While you may not be comfortable buying a suit in salmon, a silky salmon pocket square adds an Italian touch.
Enjoy Italian style. If you need help, get in touch with our expert stylists.