Much has already been written about men’s elegant style. Tips on do’s and don’ts are available on many good websites and blogs around the subject. That’s why we would like to focus more on the individual nuances in style variations. Those that are almost as important to the trained eye as the clothes per se and put the elegant man in a completely different league through small and nearly imperceptible details. We are not talking about obvious things here, however. Instead, we’re talking about the Sprezzatura, so, what is it exactly, and how to wear it?
From Bond to Marcello Mastroianni: how to dress with Sprezzatura.
Some points of elegant dressing are well-known; just look at James Bond, Marcello Mastroianni, and Charlie Watts. For example, you should never close all three buttons of a jacket. Additionally, trousers shouldn’t be too long, which is evident to any style-interested man from the outset anyway. But Sprezzatura is about taking a closer look at style innuendos.
No Crocs and T-Shirts with Blazer, please.
Elegance, to the amateur, is a matter of personal taste only. “I wear what I want and what I like!” may sound self-confident, but the “anything goes” mentality of fast fashion is at a loss in men’s elegant style venues.
The first thing to remember is that there are a few basic rules you must follow if you decide on the classic elegance way. And these rules are sacrosanct, no matter what fashion dictates or what your auntie thinks.
Secondly, there are only two directions in men’s elegant style. One is the classic, noble elegance (British, Austrian, Spanish). And the other is a more playful, casual elegance or Sprezzatura (Italy, France).
Both directions are rooted in traditional tailoring, which thrives on elegance, yet each approaches it with a different understanding.
While the highest premise of classic elegance is the understatement, in Sprezzatura, you stand out through a casual sloppiness and a seemingly, total disinterest in the attire you wear. However, the Sprezzatura is often misunderstood and misrepresented by events like Pitti Uomo or Instagram. If social media had its way, Sprezzatura would mean dressing as colourfully as possible, wearing too tight and short clothes, with an infinite number of bracelets and accessories.
However, Sprezzatura is actually about exuding casualness. The trick is to make looks appear effortless, as if you’d dressed almost without thinking (even though the opposite is the case). The appearance should be as if you’d virtually fallen into the clothes and did not attach any importance to them. For instance, a perfect suit with the shirt sleeves open. A button-down shirt with a tie that isn’t buttoned. The tie with a back blade that’s longer than the front blade. And generally, anything that looks a little sloppy (but has taken a lot of time and thought to put together) make up for Sprezzatura.
Gianni Agnelli, the uncrowned King of Italy and style.
Although it is very much Italian, you recognise this style almost everywhere where men value classic sartorialism. The undisputed icon of Sprezzatura is undoubtedly Gianni Agnelli. The great Italian industrialist created several trends; car shoes with a suit, the watch over the shirt, the unbuttoned button-down shirt or the longer back blade on a tie. By doing so, he always gave the appearance of carefree nonchalance. And his style is still copied today by a legion of admirers and fans worldwide. Just have a look at Pitti Uomo.
But watch out, gents! If you want to ace how to dress with Sprezzatura, it’s all about the right balance, like everything in life. If you overdo it, you may achieve the exact opposite effect.
Photos via Notorious Mag and Shutterstock.