Sixteenth century writer Baldassare Castiglione was the first writer to coin this phrase – what it’s true intention was to help define the Western ideals of a true gentleman. The Webster Dictionary’s definition of the word is, “studied nonchalance: graceful conduct or performance without apparent effort.” In layman’s terms.. the art of looking as if you did not try to appear that amazing.
This is where it comes into the gentleman’s wardrobe (and where a lot of gentlemen are getting it wrong) and how it relates to their life.
The idea of sprezzatura in relation to one’s clothing is not simply just breaking up a suit and thinking that it is OK because “you are being sprezza” as I have heard certain gentlemen call it. No. Relate back to the definition, “studied nonchalance,” rather than random stabs at not caring.
A true gentleman always puts thought into his appearance as I have mentioned in a previous post and wearing different coordinating/contrasting articles of suiting is an art form; an art of expressing oneself.
However, this is where the gracefulness and nonchalance should be apparent. A gentleman should be confident, not arrogant. He should be able to walk into a room and everyone is put at ease because of the air around him.
Sprezzatura is not concept that is simply mixing and matching but it is the true embodiment of what a gentleman should be and what this blog is about: confidence.
PS. if you do not follow Luca Rubinacci (featured image) on Instagram already.. please do – his gentleman’s tips are great reminders of what we should all embody.
This post is about something completely unrelated to the previous post.
It’s about the literal value of things and why they cost what they cost and how it relates to you.
I’m writing this because I had a client come to me the other day with quotations from other locally owned made to measure businesses that were exorbitant prices for made to measure suit from a “no name” maker using well known fabric mills.
He asked me what would be the point of buying a Canali or a Zegna suits or jackets when he was just paying for their marketing.. that is what the rationalization that the other locally owned business used to sell him on their product.
This is where the consumer needs knowledge about these makers as well as others who are all over the price spectrum. You’re not paying for marketing.. it may be part of their cost formula. But as far as I can tell – hand work on some garments, the literal construction of it, the details that go into the making these garments and as well as the many, many years of expertise that these companies (some have been around since the early to mid 1900s) have learned and literally turned into a science is all part of the equation.
For example – I’m not saying that everyone should go and buy a $3500 suit… hardly .. just making a point – Ermenegildo Zegna HAVE their own sheep farms and they produce certain wools and take the best sheep from that inch ? , breed them – then do it again with the next offspring and continue to do this until they find a wool that literally feels like silk. They have been doing that since before WW2… SO to me personally, that’s not marketing, it is science.. it is the development of a fine product that withstands the test of time and wear.
Now to make another point – I’m sure that the proprietor of said shop makes a nice product. That’s neither here nor there. My point is to you as a consumer/suit wearer/whatever you are, is DO your homework and find a shop who will tell you how it is (who has integrity..yes, they exist), only then will you be in good hands.
This entry is titled, “Value” – but it is not about any type of monetary valuation of clothing. It will be shorter than most because it is a black and white message.
It is about the value you put into yourself.
Whether you are in a suit every day, business casual, or super casual for work – you should always put value into how you represent yourself. Your image is the first thing people look at – and sometimes judge – and there are a lot of simple things I see done wrong just on my walk to work each day. The worst is when I hear, “Well my office is super casual and no one really cares.” That does not give you the excuse to not iron your shirt, have your trousers the proper length or dress like you care.
These are simple things that cost nothing. Do them. You never know who you are going to meet each day. You will notice a change in the way people interact with you. Being ‘clean cut’ doing the aforementioned things exudes confidence and that you care about the details. It sends a message without you even saying anything.
Like I have said in my previous posts, “If you look good, you feel good then you do better business.”
In honour of Pitti 91 (major menswear show) in Firenze, I would like to write a post about colour in relation to menswear..
And why most do not embrace it.
I have different clients in many occupations, but there tends to be one.. well two common themes – plain blue and plain grey. Now, I am not saying that we all need to go out and get a forest green suit and catch a few looks. No. However, why do we need to be so extremely conservative? That is not rhetorical..
I am personally a big advocate of colour, pattern and texture.. but still in a tasteful manner of course.. and I am in the business so it is much easier for me to be expressive. When we are creating custom pieces, it is my job introduce third and fourth options to introduce more versatility to a wardrobe and an element of sartorialism (is that a word?). I do this because most men would not purposely choose out of their comfort zone.. but that is the thing.. they do not know the limits to their own comfort zone.. in regards to their closet! Many times, I hear.. “Wow I never would have thought of that but I love it!!”
This somewhat relates to the previous post in terms of confidence. You can pull off anything that YOU want to pull off. If a tonal blue check sport jacket for Friday’s is the extent of that, then we are heading somewhere! And I am totally into that.
But for you young men beginning your careers, do not be afraid to be a little bit expressive.. do not worry, you will still get your promotion by working hard.. not by looking like your boss.
A lot has changed in the world of men’s clothing over the last decade.. but there is a movement out there and I really like where it is going.
It is headed towards a great mix of the way men used to dress in the “Mad Men” era with a mix of the “oh-god-that-is-way-too-tight” era of the last ten years. I have noticed this transition in the last several years of working in this business and it is refreshing…
The word “tight” is not in my vocabulary nor was it ever in my wardrobe.
Yes, I understand that men want to “throw a pose” as I call it when they are walking down the street but when I am asked to continually take things in.. I have to stop for a minute and say to the man.. try sitting… or moving.. or functioning normal..
The point of this first post is to praise those men who are going away from this to this new, said transition.
Tailored clothing should provide a great silhouette yet with the comfort and ease that you do not literally FEEL your clothes. The right things should be accentuated (upper back, slimmer waist) but we should not see your love handles through your jacket
If you follow that really simple guide line.. when you are “throwing a pose” walking through your city’s financial district.. you will catch a lot more looks… because you should.
Dress Well. Feel Good. Make IT Happen.