Italians are famous around the world for their unique sense of fashion which is a magical combination of understated style and effortless class. A large part of this is due to both men and women dressing to impress every day and not just for special events!
One of the most remarkable things about Italian fashion is that they don’t fall for fleeting trends or short lived fads! Instead, they seem to have an inbuilt understanding of what works and what doesn’t and so no matter what the rest of the world is doing in terms of fashion, the ‘Italian Stallions’ stick to their guns.
However, it’s quite difficult to define precisely what it is about the Italian dress code which makes it so stylish and appealing. Nonetheless, we can lay out a few of the key elements which go into making Italian fashion so timeless!
The Most Important Male Fashion Tips To Dress Like An Italian.
Even if you’re not a born and bred Italian you can still learn how to dress like they do! Of course, it helps if you live in Italy, or visit often, so you can become immersed in the culture and style and learn by imitation.
However, whether you’ve visited Italy, are an Expat in the country or just want to learn more about male Italian style, there’s some vital tips that you can take on board to achieve the look that will soon be turning heads! So no matter where you live in the world there’s a lot you can pick up from the way that Italian men dress and then employ these lessons in your own style and sense of fashion.
Always Buy High Quality Items.
First and foremost, you should never buy cheap clothes just to fill your wardrobe. This is one of the important habits to get into when you’re buying new clothes. Therefore, you should always put quality above quantity.
Naturally, it’s hard to beat the ‘Made in Italy’ label, which is a sure sign that the item is of the very highest quality, but no matter what you’re buying make sure that it’s well made and stylishly tailored to suit your figure.
Combine Chinos And Linen Suit Jackets.
Men in Italy appear to dress in a fairly paradoxical way! For instance, the concept of combining casual chino trousers with a high quality linen suit jacket may feel awkward and out of place but in fact it works like a charm.
Part of the reason why this combination manages to work so well is because most Westerners don’t properly distinguish between looking ‘great’ and looking ‘smart’. When you dress in order to look ‘great’ instead of just ‘smart’ you are freed up to try combinations of items which would otherwise be frowned upon. Linen suit jackets are rarely seen on the streets of London or New York unless of course it’s an Italian!
It could be argued that the Italian weather is partly responsible for this trend but it’s also an outward manifestation of the Dolce Vita. In other words, casually combining the clashing materials of chinos and linen, despite what you might have thought, somehow creates an image which says that the man is cool, calm, relaxed and, most importantly, confident in himself.
Think Carefully About The Length Of Your Trousers.
It’s often overlooked but the length of your trousers is a vital aspect of the male Italian dress code. On the one hand you’ve got to be careful not to wear trousers that are too short but you never want trousers that are so long that they obscure your shoes.
Ideally, your trousers should end just underneath your ankles at the top of your shoes. The trousers should be meeting the vamps of your shoes without getting crumpled up or covering your carefully chosen shoes. You might be thinking to yourself that you can never find trousers in the store that fit perfectly. However, in Italy, even if a man is buying trousers off the rack then he is highly likely to take them to his tailor to get them adjusted to precisely the correct length.
Include Accessories Such As Sports Watches In Your Outfit.
It’s well known that Italian women wear accessories to add a touch of flair to their outfits and although it might seem that men have less opportunity to do this there are still accessories you can start incorporating in your outfits.
For example, Italian men often add a stylish sports watch, cravat or even some understated jewelry, such as a bracelet or necklace, to their outfit. However, as a word of warning, you really shouldn’t overdo it! The last thing you want to do is end up being covered in chains and jewelry with cravats and neckties flapping in the wind. Instead, select one, or possibly two, items which you can use to accessorize your outfit.
A nice chunky watch on your wrist or a cravat that compliments your suit jacket is plenty of accessorizing to give you a touch of flair and some unique points of interest. If you are wearing a watch make sure that you’re wearing it over the cuff of your shirt instead of tucked away inside. Equally, if you’re wearing a necklace with an open necked shirt then you should hang it outside the shirt instead of underneath it.
How To Put Your Outfit Together To Dress Like An Italian.
When it comes to putting together a stylish outfit it can be a little daunting but there is a simple technique which you can use to get you started. To create a great Italian look start out by choosing a blazer or suit jacket. Once you have this selected you can work downwards; choosing a shirt, trousers and a pair of shoes. After you have the basics picked out you can start to add a couple of accessories such as a watch, bracelet or necktie to finish off the ensemble.
This will stop you from putting together a confused outfit which will look clumsy and ill thought out. So always start with your jacket or blazer and then add the rest of the items to compliment this.
Use A Limited Color Palette.
Part of the elegance of the male Italian dress code is that it rarely incorporates more than a few complimenting colors. This means that the main items of your outfit, particularly the shirt and trousers should be similar in color. You can afford to be a little more adventurous with your choice of jacket however if you do select a bright option the rest of your outfit should usually be even more understated.
Despite being one of the most distinctive fashion styles, Italian men don’t normally wear bright or loud clothes. Instead, they traditionally tend to go for the exact opposite; choosing subdued shades of stone or sand trousers with pale shirts underneath a stand out blazer or suit jacket. This helps to keep the look casual and understated instead of falling into the trap of wearing gaudy colors that can come across as overly dandy and pointlessly eye-catching!
It can be tough to get the balance right at first but as you start to think about it more and keep your eye out for what’s working on other men it’ll soon become absolutely second nature to you.
Incorporate Subtle ‘Sprezzatura’ In Your Dress Code.
When you think of a suit jacket or blazer you are probably envisioning something which has padded shoulders and is tailored in a traditional manner. However, in Italy, men often wear what’s known in the world of fashion as ‘sprezzatura’ jackets. The word ‘sprezzatura’ literally means ‘studied carelessness’ and is an essential feature of the Italian dress code.
More specifically, this refers to jackets, and other items of clothing, which don’t have any extra padding to sharpen the form of the wearer. This can give the blazers a slouchy, relaxed look but it’s absolutely perfect for doing the groceries, sitting on the beach or taking a stroll through the town in the evening.
These types of sprezzatura, or ‘deconstructed’, blazers are far more comfortable to wear but they also give the impression of a carefree confidence which is the inner essence of perfect Italian style.
Of course, these light weight blazers are also ideal for hot, sweltering weather so you’ll often see men wearing them on the beach or during the boiling summer months in Southern parts of Italy. However, they’re also ideal for dropping into a cafe for a coffee, having dinner with a group of friends and even for sightseeing while you’re in the country.
Retro Is Still Cool.
When you’re putting together an Italian inspired wardrobe don’t be afraid of incorporating a slightly 1970s Retro look in your outfits, especially when it comes to accessorizing. For example, some Retro sunglasses are the perfect way to finish off a summer jacket! Sunglasses which are tinted a reddish yellow with thick black oversized frames are a great way to put a subtle Retro spin on your overall look.
You can also apply this to other accessories including watches, neckties and cravats. However, when it comes to shirts you should be very careful about going too Retro. You should really try to avoid the loud flowery 1970s style when choosing a shirt for your Italian inspired wardrobe. On the other hand you can get away with wearing slightly flared trousers although once again, don’t go over the top and avoid the bell bottoms!
Always Wear Your Pocket Square With Pride!
When you’re donning a suit or blazer don’t be afraid of including a pocket square! There’s two ways you can do this. Firstly, you can simply fold out the breast pocket’s inner lining and roughly shape it into a triangle. Alternatively you can use a colorful handkerchief to shape and place in your breast pocket.
If you are incorporating a pocket square in your look then don’t be too fussy or obsessive about it. In other words, don’t fret about getting the shape perfect because this would be straying from the concept of sprezzatura and is not relaxed enough to pull off a genuinely Italian look. Instead, try to achieve a careless but elegant shape for your pocket square.
To make a pocket square from a piece of cloth or a handkerchief you just fold it into a square. Then you use your thumb and first finger to pull through the center while folding the sides together. Now it’s shaped you can just put it into your breast pocket and you’re ready to go.
Dress To Impress – Every Day!
Lastly, you need to get into the habit of dressing to impress each and every day. Most men in the West rarely get dressed up in what they consider to be ‘smart’ or ‘stylish’ outfits. For example, if you’re just heading out the door on a weekend to buy the groceries do you ever dress to impress?
To really embody the inner essence of Italian fashion you should be dressing to impress whether you are sitting at home on your balcony or going for dinner at the finest restaurant in town!
The immutable sense of style and grace that marks out Italian fashion from any other is as much a mindset as it is a list of strict rules. In fact, obeying a series of rules and codes would be absolutely contrary to the Italian way of doing things. Instead, you need to learn to trust your gut feelings about the clothes you wear while simultaneously being aware of the broad outlines of Italian fashion.