When it comes to fashion-forward, high end summer dressing with style, no nation does it better than the Italians. Italian men are considered to be the best dressed men in the world and Italian style has made the words ‘Made in Italy’ synonymous with quality, class, and incredible craftsmanship. It stands to reason that, when we want to look chic and stylish, we would look to our continental neighbours.
Here are seven tips to help you master dressing like an Italian, and incorporate a touch of Italian formal flair into your summer wardrobe:
Although you will often see Italian man wearing shorts or jeans in the summer, their preferred summertime trouser is the chino. Chinos are lightweight, they go with everything, and they add a touch of formality to any outfit that you simply wouldn’t get with denim.
If you choose to follow suit and wear chinos, it’s important to choose the right pair. The fashion-forward Italian man has choosing the length of his chinos down to a fine art: they should fall between your ankles and the tops of your shoes but never longer. Any bunching or ruching will look untidy, and will also prevent you from showing off your fine, Italian leather shoes! When it comes to choosing the colour for your chinos, don’t shy away from lighter shades. Sand, stone, tan and even white are all great choices favoured by in Italian style. Not only do these colours look incredibly chic, lighter colours also reflect the sun, helping you to stay cool whatever the weather.
Every man looks great in a suit, but if you want to wear your suit with Italian style then you need to put that classic black wool number back in your wardrobe and invest in a linen version instead. No doubt inspired by their balmy temperatures, Italian men love linen. And we think you should embrace it too! It’s lightweight, easy to wear, and rarely creases.
Italian men have sartorial skills so sharp that walking through a crowd in Italy can leave you feeling like you’ve stumbled into a photoshoot for vogue. Investing in a linen suit that fits you properly is the best way to blend in with the crowd and fake it like an Italian!
Look at any stylish Italian man’s feet, and you will almost always find a pair of loafers. This is one of the easiest ways to add a fun continental twist to almost any outfit. Pair buttery soft leather or suede loafers with ankle grazing chinos and no socks to reveal an inch of ankle for the ultimate Italian style summer look. When choosing shoes, don’t forget to look for that ‘Made in Italy’ label for real authenticity!
Does the thought of wearing even the softest of shoes without socks make you shudder? Not to worry, there is an alternative! Add socks in vibrant shades of red, orange and even green to inject effortless Italian cool to your outfit. And as for the loafer you pick, rich brown, tan, black and rich rust red are all great colours to choose. Versatile and easy to pair with any outfit, invest in quality now and wear them all summer long.
One of the first things you notice about Italian men is how formal they look, whatever the weather. This is because, whether they’re wearing shorts, jeans or chinos, a well-dressed Italian man will always wear a blazer.
Fit is the most important aspect of dressing like an Italian, so when choosing a blazer it is essential to ensure it’s tailored to perfection. The key to ensuring your blazer fits correctly is getting the right fit across the shoulders: The seams connecting the shoulders and sleeves of your shirt or suit jacket should end exactly where your shoulders and arms are joined. What makes an Italian man’s blazer unique is that they have soft shoulders, and rarely feature shoulder pads, for improved fit. Don’t be afraid to take your blazer to a tailor to have it modified to fit you perfectly. This will dramatically improve how good the piece looks and is well worth the extra financial investment.
Palette and separates Italian style
If you want to look like an authentic Italian then you should choose a very specific and muted colour palette. The fashionable Italians colour palette is much more muted than you might expect and focuses on light and neutral shades such as white, sand, stone, soft dove grey and pale blue. The key is to blend and combine these colours to distinctive effect: your trousers should rarely be the same colour as your jacket, for example (unless you are wearing a suit for a very formal occasion).
That doesn’t mean that you can’t add a bright pop of colour every now and again, but this is usually part of a casual look, and generally only affects your pants. Yellow shorts, red jeans, and forest green chinos are all part of the Italian palette. Just be sure to only add one colourful piece at a time, and keep the rest of your look as muted as possible.
No Italian man’s outfit is complete without a few carefully placed accessories. Italian men tend to wear three main accessories: an oversized watch, leather bracelet and statement ring. The great thing about these accessories is that there are so many different varieties available, it’s easy to use them to make your look completely unique to you.
When it comes to styling your accessories, one uniquely Italian quirk is to turn back your shirt cuffs over the cuff of your jacket, and this makes the perfect canvas for showing off a well-placed leather bracelet. Stack at least three bracelets together to inject a tough edge, whilst one leather bracelet paired with a favourite watch will show that you don’t take yourself too seriously. Note that Italian men don’t over-accessorise, so if you choose to wear a watch and bracelet then you should only wear one ring. Equally, if you want to wear a ring on each hand then adopt a minimalist approach to decorating your wrists.
Finally, what makes Italian men so effortlessly stylish isn’t just what they wear, but the way they wear it. For this reason, it would be impossible to talk about Italian dressing without mentioning sprezzatura, a uniquely Italian concept that translates as ‘studied carelessness’. Italian men wear their clothes with confidence, but they also manage to put them together in a way that looks effortless. They never look like they have dressed deliberately, rather the whole feel of their outfits is that they just threw it on, and naturally look stylish!
There are many little touches you can add to your outfit to inject this air of sprezzatura, which is essentially about good styling. Wear your shoes with the buckles unstrapped, or deliberately fasten your belt so that it sits off centre. Resist the temptation to straighten your pocket square and don’t fastidiously perfect your hair when it falls out of place. This is all part of the Italian concept of perfectly imperfect, and will only help to make you look more stylish!
If you found this article useful, check out our Parisian style guide for more European fashion