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Sartorial Playbook: The ‘Italian’ Style

Sartorial Playbook: The ‘Italian’ Style

Trends in men’s fashion come and go but true style evolves over time. Italian men’s fashion reflects this core commitment to style over trends in the cut, color and fit of the clothes. Famous for the soft shoulders of the Neapolitans, the premier fashion fairs like the Pitti Uomo and some of the world’s finest fashion houses and fabric mills, Italy’s style aesthetic is coming to the fore this spring and summer.

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Sprezzatura

The best way to describe Italy’s sartorial sensibility is restrained extravagance. The Italians actually have a word, sprezzatura, that captures their unique sense of style. Sprezzatura (pronounced spretts a tura) is the art of ‘studied nonchalance’. For example, an Italian might casually wear camel brown monk shoes which just happen to perfectly compliment the cream colored silk wool blend men’s three piece single breasted suit with sky and peach polka dot pocket square and navy textured tie.

In other words, true sprezzatura is looking like you are not trying too hard but with the right polish and flamboyant details. Its effortless elegance reflects a cool confidence and a slightly rakish, devil may care, charm.

Italian tailoring is so distinctive that each region can be defined by its own sartorial characteristics. Neapolitan jackets are the pinnacle of Italian tailoring. They are made with distinctive bespoke features that are immediately identified. They are usually unconstructed (little or no canvassing, no shoulder padding and no inner lining), have only one button on the sleeve cuff, feature patch pockets and the stunning pleated shoulder. Most Italian suits will have a higher gorge than their American or British counterparts. (The gorge is the seam connecting the jacket collar to the lapel.) Neapolitan tailors take it even higher.

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Pitti Uomo
Italy is also home to arguably the premier men’s fashion event, Pitti Uomo, the penultimate fashion fair for men’s suiting. Held twice annually (in January and June before Milan Fashion Week) in Florence, Pitti Uomo showcases the latest trends, new designers and companies in men’s fashion, premiering the best men’s tailoring from across the globe.

Knot Standard’s own Spring/Summer 2014 Collection reflects many of the trends seen at the January Pitti Uomo event including lighter fabrics, lighter colors and more glen plaids and checks. For instance, we loved the trend of mixed patterns, with large bold checks paired with micro plaids and anchored with solid colored shirts, neckties and vivid pocket squares. Check out our upcoming spring/summer line to find your own Italian inspired look.

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Tailors and Fabrics
One excellent example of the distinctive Italian style is the signature Neapolitan shoulder. Neapolitan jackets have soft shoulders, wider sleeves, minimal padding, shirring in the shoulder (also known as a 
waterfall effect). Roman and Milanese tailors are also known for their distinctive styles.

Like much of Europe, layering and attention to detail define much of the Italian sartorial aesthetic, Italian tailors like Rubinacci focus on construction and craft over fashion, allowing the customer or client to create the outfit through combinations of clothes and accessories through complimentary or contrasting textures, colors, patterns and details. It is this commitment to quality of cut, color, construction and fabric while cultivating individual personality that so clearly sets Italian style as among the most sartorially savvy and chic.

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Italian fabrics are also among the globe’s finest. Mills like Loro Piana and Vitale Barbaris Canonico are world-renowned for their quality, durability and versatility. The Loro Piana family has traded in fabrics since the early 1800s but established itself in Italy’s Piedmont region in 1924. The Loro Piana mills produce luxury cashmeres and woolens as well as the rarest fabric in the world, vicuna. Available only through Knot Standard’s exclusive, invitation-only Private Service Loro Piana fabrics are meticulously graded, richly textured and finely finished.

To learn more about the distinctive attributes of Italian style and to create your own bespoke Italian-inspired men’s suit, speak with Knot Standard bespoke advisors today or ask about our Private Service packages.