How to Dress Like an Italian

by Albert Varkki updated 07-07-2023

Table Of Contents

italian man in black suit

You know how Italians have that knack for making the difficult look easy? There is a term for that! It is known as sprezzatura. In the world of fashion, sprezzatura is the enviable way many Italian gentlemen are able to look well-dressed and classy while at the same time appearing a little bit disheveled and rough around the edges in that sexy way!

The word sprezzatura is described perfectly by Baldassare Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier when he states that sprezzatura is “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.”

This style of dressing is not easy to emulate but to help you out we have evaluated the biggest modern fashion trends including street style trends from Pitti Uomo. We have used that information to provide you with a few important tips and tricks. Keep reading and in no time, you will be dressing like the most fashionable of Italian gentlemen.

Your Hat Is Your Symbol

man in hat

Hats are an absolute must for the most well-dressed gentlemen. Not just any hat will do, however! For that special sprezzatura look, a man must consider every part of his wardrobe and that includes what he has on his head. The perfect hat should add to that slightly disheveled look while being practical at the same time. To keep the hot sun off your face and look amazing while you do it we suggest a cream-colored straw fedora. Make sure it has a wide black band and is lightweight on your head.

Now to achieve that roughened up look- the hat should not appear as though you just picked it up brand spanking new off the shelf. Instead, it should look a little bit crumpled, a little bit worn. Like you have had it in your closet for years.

The way you wear the hat also says a lot about your style. A hat that sits straight on top of your head suggests rigidity and that a little too much effort was put in. Instead, let the hat sit slightly askew on your head by pulling it down just a bit on one side. If you want to get more daring and add a touch of flamboyance to your look, try adding a bit of bright color to the band of the hat.

Your Leather Patina is Your History

city brown leather laptop bag

Patina is a term used to describe the unique way in which authentic full-grain leather ages. As the leather item is exposed to the elements it darkens in color in certain spots creating that one of a kind look.

The patina on a leather item indicates high quality and a leather bag with a beautiful patina will add style and sophistication to any outfit. Accessories are key to creating the sprezzatura look and a treasured leather bag is often the well-dressed Italian gentleman’s lifelong companion. The patina provides the bag with imperfections that only add to the true sprezzatura style.

We suggest mixing colors and fabrics. Dark and rich chocolate brown leathers look great with tan and black; soft and supple full-grain leather pairs beautifully with suede.

You can find a new full grain leather briefcase here.

Tailored Suits - Essential

man in purple suit

A gentleman can’t have enough great suits, however, to get a fabulous sprezzatura style suit you will need to put in some effort. Grabbing a suit off the rack at your local department store will not do.

A suit of sprezzatura is thoughtfully and precisely tailored for a look of effortless nonchalance. The wearer should look and feel gentlemanly and cool but not constrained. Often, fashion-conscious individuals will ask for a suit made with visible imperfections. One easy way to get the unfinished, nonchalant kind of look is to carefully consider the material the suit is made from. Linen wrinkles easily and a little bit of wrinkle can provide just the look you are going for. A linen suit looks fabulous with a tan leather belt.

Tie Up Your Look

tie on suit

Ties are a very visible and easy opportunity for sprezzatura. The type of tie, how long you wear it and the way you knot it can all be ways to express sprezzatura. Using an asymmetrical knot can be an easy way to express a nonchalant style. The standard way to tie a knot in a tie is to wrap it around the fingers once. Italian gentlemen will often wrap the knot around their fingers twice resulting in a larger knot.

It is common to tie a tie so that the tips rest just above the belt; sprezzatura style dictates the tie is left significantly longer. Some people even tuck the longer end into the waistband of their pants. The tie should never be uncomfortably tight but left loose and a little bit disheveled. Another easy way to achieve this informal look is to let the skinnier end of the tie hang loose, don’t use the loop on the back of the tie to keep it in place.

Author: Albert Varkki

Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you.

We always aim to have the highest editorial standards, and only publish accurate information on our website.

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