Scrolling through the swathes of social media, I recently came across the image below of friend Gianluca Migliarotti – the filmmaker and co-founder of Pommella and PML.
For me, it encapsulated everything I love about Gianluca’s style. He is smart but silly. He is always well-dressed – valuing taste and beauty in everything around him – yet never seems to take himself seriously.
He also wears strong colour. Not always in ways I would, but usually in ways that get me thinking about whether I could and should. He recently made me a pair of muted mint-green corduroy trousers, for example, which I love but would never have picked if he hadn’t recommended them.
So, spurred by that image, I dug out a few of my favourite outfits of his, and we had a chat about them for this latest article in our ‘How to dress like’ series.
Unlike many people we’ve covered, Gianluca does not use social media much, and so there are relatively few shots of him around. All the more worthwhile, then, to publish a few and discuss them.
Outfit 1: Green trousers
Permanent Style: “OK, let’s skip past the question of why you’re taking a selfie on a toilet. What are you wearing? Is that a dark-purple overshirt? Or dark brown?”
“Ha! Not it’s dark navy actually, but now you mention it dark brown or aubergine might have looked good with those colours.
The trousers are cotton from Brisbane Moss, the Shakespeare bunch, and the colour is fantastic. Every time I wear them, a client ends up ordering the same thing. It’s impossible to get a sense of it from a little swatch, but it’s really nice – actually quite muted and subtle.
You wear a lot of green, particularly trousers. Why do you like it so much?
I love green. I have a couple of suits in green, a sports coat, a few trousers. I love it, even when it’s not as bright as here. It’s nicer in Winter when it’s darker and more muted too. Plus of course we do the Palazzi flannel with Fox, which is that kind of green.
It makes me happy. It’s a happy colour. It’s not as obvious as navy, pale blue or anything like that, and it’s more fun.
The other thing is green has so many different shades, that you can find any variation you want. And when it’s muted, you can use it as often as grey trousers. You could wear those trousers in the picture with a navy jacket for instance – simple – or with shades of brown. I mean you know better than me how to do these combinations, but it’s so easy.
I feel like you usually look smart, but never look corporate, business-y. So green rather than grey is a good way to do that.
Exactly. My father is a lawyer, but I’m not. I’m a filmmaker, I do this thing with Pommella, so I want to be different.
When my father started me with tailoring, he wanted me to have a blue suit, a grey suit, then a chalk stripe. But I feel awkward in that. I love it on other people, it’s beautiful, but it’s not me. I need something more creative. It’s good to know the difference.
Outfit 2: Cardigan punch
Let’s talk about this second shot, which Rose took of you. You’re wearing green there as a brighter pop of colour, but you also wear cardigans in that manner a lot.
Yeah, the cardigan is another story. It’s something I grew up with – it was very Neapolitan back in the days. Winters weren’t that cold, so my father and my uncles wouldn’t wear an overcoat, but they’d have a heavier jacket, and then a cardigan like this underneath, without the sleeves.
I got a lot of inspiration on the colours from one uncle who was a little colourblind . He’d wear all these combinations without realising it, and some of them were great. He’d say, ‘what are you talking about, what colour is this?’ and I’d say ‘burgundy’ and he’d say ‘what? I thought it was blue’.
This was a common look in Naples: even lawyers wouldn’t wear a suit a lot of the time. It would be grey trousers with a beautiful jacket: a casual, countryside kind of look. Brown shoes and so on. So a cardigan went well with all of that, it was comfortable and you could play with it if you wanted too.
But I think it’s important to keep things smooth generally, and then just have the punch with one piece. Otherwise you’re a joker.
Outfit 3: Black cord
You wear a lot of striped shirts as well man – do you find it’s a nice way to be able to wear colour, given you rarely wear a tie?
Yeah, I like that the shirt in the next picture, with the black corduroy, can stand on its own.
The suit is the frame, and then you have this interest there coming out. The suit is a dark block – solid – and then there’s something playful.
I always like to wear something that has some light, some colour, which lifts things. But just one thing – and stripes can do that well. If you mix in too many colours and patterns then it’s a mess.
The only tie I’d probably wear with that suit is a dark grenadine, like a black. But in Naples there is this very strong association between black ties and funerals. Maybe because people wear colour more, generally.
I don’t believe in this – it’s bullshit, I love a black tie – but whenever I’d wear one, I’d hear my mother’s voice in my head, asking whether I was going to a funeral.
Given how much you like colour, was black a rather unusual choice for a suit?
It is quite unusual for me, yes. The inspiration came from Jim Parker at The Armoury, who showed up once at Pitti in a black linen. And I really admired that.
So I started digging in my memories, and I remembered some old British spy film where the guy wears a black-cord suit. But he would wear it with a turtleneck, which is too sleek, too playboy for me.
I love that cool look, Sean Connery in lots of films, but I need to do it with a sense of irony.
How do you do that? Show that irony, or self-awareness?
I think it’s mostly about personality. I wouldn’t wear a turtleneck with that suit because I would feel I was trying too hard – like I was trying to tell everyone I was the cool guy. You have to recognise what looks good in theory and what actually looks good on you.
This is the biggest difference between what I do and what I see a lot at Pitti, I think. I see a lot of people taking themselves so seriously. They think they can be the Godfather and they can’t. They’re trying so so hard.
Outfit 4: Tone on tone
And I think you’d say an example of that is wearing a shirt collar over the top of the jacket, Montezemolo style, right? Which leads us onto the next outfit.
Exactly. I do it with a polo, maybe. But if you wear a shirt collar over the top of a jacket, you have to be ‘the guy’. You have to be Montezemolo [below], or Giovanni Gastel, the photographer that just died. You have to be the head of the whole outfit. Otherwise you’re just pretending.
Alan See is a master of that, and Ethan is too. They can do it. But you see guys at Pitti from a mile away and you know they can’t.
We all need to understand our space, that area where we can look good and play in. Recognise your personality, the kind of person you are. You’re not a playboy or a designer.
There’s a reason you and I can’t wear a big cowboy hat and boots, and it’s nothing to do with our physique or facial shape. It’s just not our personalities. Even if you could manage to take a photo that looked good, as soon as you actually spoke to someone it would be obvious.
So, when and why would you wear a collar over the top of a jacket, as you’re doing in those images with Dick [Carroll] and Jim?
It was partly the polo. It has this high collar but kind of out of shape, and it wouldn’t sit right under a jacket. So I tried it over the top, and I think it looks OK. Because it’s soft, it’s smaller than a shirt collar, and of course it’s tonal – blue on blue.
The black shoes are quite stark against the trousers. I think a lot of readers would instinctively go for brown there, probably brown suede. Why did you prefer black?
I think the black with this kind of outfit is more appropriate, honestly. Brown would be a little too light, given how dark the jacket and polo are.
You almost want the shoes to be like the jacket, but blue shoes never look good. So black is the closest thing. Unless the brown was very very dark.
I also think black feels very appreciated in New York, where this was. You see more black shoes in New York than anywhere else, except perhaps London. It’s about being a city, being business, but also about what other people are wearing. Because in Milan, no one wears black shoes.
There was this look, when I was in my twenties in Milan, of wearing black lace-ups, with blue jeans and a tuxedo jacket. It was the cool thing for going to clubs. But I think that’s about it on the black shoes!
Outfit 5: Double denim
OK, so the last look. Of you counting bills in a corner like some kind of dealer. I like the fact you’re wearing double denim here – shirt and jeans – but keeping them apart with the cardigan.
Yeah, I think that helps it not become too much. Everyone likes that look of the denim shirt and jeans, usually inspired by Agnelli, wearing it with a beautiful tweed jacket on top. But as I said before, I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard. So I put my personal thing in there, which is the cardigan.
Agnelli would wear a crewneck instead, but a crewneck always feels too neat and conservative for me. Maybe it’s my body, but it’s also too clean-cut for me, too much of a ‘good guy’ thing.
And we all know you’re not a good guy… Jokes. You usually button the cardigan low, just one or two buttons. Do you like how relaxed that looks?
Yeah I learned that, particularly from seeing Francesco Marino, the tiemaker [below, right]. He’s the master.
I used to close three buttons out of five, so the top and the bottom ones were undone.
Which is what I do.
Exactly, more classic, but still not stuffy. But then I saw Francesco, and I loved how he wore it – particularly with a tie. You see more of the tie that way, it’s longer and the look has more personality. Now, wearing it done all the way up feels too much like a vest for me.
You don’t need it that much for warmth either. It’s not going to cover the chest in any case, so it’s really the back mostly that’s keeping you warm.
Where are the clothes all from?
My jackets are always from Zizolfi, the only difference recently being that I have no padding in the shoulders. Mostly because I feel my shoulders are getting bigger.
The jacket here is a super-heavy Fox cloth, limited edition, which I love in Winter. Honestly, you wear that and you never want to wear anything over the top. I wear it whenever I can.
The trousers are Pommella of course, and the shirts are usually from Andrea Canevelli, my shirtmaker in Milan. Generally I prefer shirts made in Milan rather than Naples. They’re cleaner, none of the details or frills. Quality’s there, but nothing showy.
Any closing thoughts?
Maybe just that point about trying too hard, and being a little too jet-set. A lot of the magazines these days, even ones that used to be good (no names) are all about cars and yachts and cigars.
Honestly, I’ve been smoking cigars since I was 20 and it’s a normal thing. But some people just seem to need to show off about it. And that’s the worst thing – when you feel you have to show off.
Because it all seems a little shallow?
Exactly, like you’re trying to prove something to everyone all the time. Why do that, just be yourself.
And why pretend to be this bullshit luxury jet-set thing anyway? Where’s the culture, the taste? It’s all so focused on appearances. I love beauty, I’m obsessed with beauty, and that’s where a lot of my ideas of taste come from.
But the problem with a lot of these cars and cigars guys is that there is no beauty. It all looks cheap and insecure. It’s the definition of nouveau riche.
Thanks man. Couldn’t agree more.
You can see Gianluca talking about his work, background and style in the video we made here, also featuring Douglas Courdeaux.
Pommella makes bespoke trousers, ready to wear, and the offshoot PML makes many other things including shorts and shirts.
Gianluca’s film work in menswear includes the wonderful O’Mast, about Neapolitan tailoring, and I Colori di Antonio, about Antonio Liverano in Florence.
Nice thoughts on authenticity.
This might be my favourite of this series of articles so far – Gianluca seems refreshingly down to earth. I do feel the title of the piece presents a bit of a contradiction though.
I hadn’t thought about that Alex, good point.
I’m not sure it’s really contradiction though, even if it sounds like one. One of the ways in which you can dress like Gianluca – should you want to – is to dress to your own personality as he does.
He also takes inspiration from others, as mentioned in the piece, but doesn’t ape them when he finds the style isn’t for him. So yes to cardigans a la Francesco, but no to big collars over jackets, like Montezemolo.
But yeah, the contradiction in the title should be a reminder not just to straight copy anyone in this series.
Thanks for the response, Simon. And on an unrelated note, thanks for the PS Shorts – they’ve been a lifesaver during this mini-heatwave we’ve been experiencing in London.
Amazing, thanks for letting me know Alex.
I know what you mean. But it is not a contradiction, I think, when somebody learns by the example of Gianluca, how to dress (more) like himself, and not simply like Gianluca. You can transfer some of his views into your own “strategy” of dressing well. Nothing wrong with that. Learning from others (hopefully the right ones) is 90% of the journey (for me). This way of learning can also be more fun, less abstract and in the truest sense of the word: personal.
I was really surprised by the fact that he orders his shirts in Milan. Certainly not all Neapolitan shirts have to have frills or over the top gimmicks. But of course Gianluca knows that. Big fan!
Simon: curious if you could expand briefly on the differences between Milanese shirts v. Neapolitan shirts?
I know I’ve previously suggested an article comparing shirt styles in different regions as well. 🙂
The reason I haven’t really done that is that there aren’t that significant a set of differences. Neapolitans might be more likely to put in shirring on the tops of sleeves, and English shirts are more likely to have stiffer collars, but there’s not that much more than that, and it’s not really much to go on.
A very stylish man. Adding the pop of colour is something I’m struggle with too much…too little? It’s not in my personality to be too messy. Perhaps I’m contrasting too much
Pleased to see the return of the black shoe. Something,I think, gives a man a solid foundation.
I really enjoyed this article. Gianluca’s style is something that really resonates with me. Not a thing is overdone, it’s understated without being at all boring. As mentioned not so much to copy, rather to inform and feel comfortable and confident (but not over confident!). Thanks also for the section on the double denim conundrum again very informative in terms of approach- rather than imitation. Tone on tone – I have always felt very comfortable in shades of blue and dark navy – so was gratified to see such a stylish man adopting this combination.
Nice contextual point on the cigar shot. His views on the wannabe (my word not his) jet set lifestyle ‘aspiration’ in my opinion are spot on. The vast majority of really rich men simply do do not do this ‘all mouth and no trousers’ thing. I think there’s a pun there somewhere! That image tends I think, to detract rather than add anything at all.
Gianluca’s sparing use of social media also adds to his stylish image.
All in all very interesting and inspirational.
Link to Brisbane Moss Shakespeare bunch seems not be working.
Thanks. That’s corrected now
Do you know the colour / swatch code?
It’s the ‘Green’ 303
Is the 215gr/m of that cloth sufficient to hold a decent line and not wrinkle excessively?
I don’t know myself I’m afraid, I haven’t tried the bunch
I meant to add this link to my previous comment. Doing such a lot with a limited number items demonstrates how stylish he is a a prescient article from yourself, which is over 9 years old. Understated style never goes out of style! And is truly sustainable!
Do you know anything more about Andrea Canevelli? For example what his bespoke shirts cost? They look interesting.
Yes. he is very good on dressing for your personality, and learning the difference between what looks good in theory and what looks good on you. This is one of the things we have to learn, usually slowly and with a lot of trial and error. An excellent series, thank you.
There an inherent contradiction between “being yourself” and “how to dress like [insert name here]. If you are being yourself, you don’t try to dress like someone else. Those who copy others’ styles are insecure and lack the self-confidence to be themselves. It’s the classic difference between those who lead and those who follow.
I think you should read the comments at the top of this stream on that point, Kenny. The two are not necessarily contradictory.
In fact, rather like the recent article on who you dress for, I don’t think any absolute is true. Every great dresser is influenced by other people and other styles.
“I feel awkward in that. I love it on other people, it’s beautiful, but it’s not me.”
That is concise wisdom. I wish more people had his grace
Great character. Any idea about his wristwatches? Love the blue nato strap.
No, but I can ask
OK, so, he says he has:
– An Omega Speedmaster 67 cal 321
– A couple of vintage Rolex Oysters (one from his father when he was 16)
– A Rolex Submariner ’78 1680
– A Cartier Gondole that was his father’s
– A Girard Perregaux Gp 7000
– A Philip Watch Caribbean 700 from the 60s (again his father’s)
Wow, thanks to both of you for the information! Superb collection as well, obviously. Fascinating.
I’ve commented in the past that really strong colors generally look better on people with darker complexions, and the pictures in this article reinforces that notion. For instance, the strong colors generally look pretty good on the olive-skinned Miglirarotti. In contrast, the pasty white guy in the burgundy jacket who is pictured next to Francesco Marino doesn’t look so good. The strong burgundy just looks overpowering.
This epitomizes what I always have imagined when hearing “dress for youself.” Gianluca doesn’t ignore the people around him, on the contrary he clearly thinks a lot about the impression he makes (not appearing phony, not looking like he’s trying to hard, etc.). However his style is very driven by his personal ideas of what looks good (which are different than what he was taught) and how he wants to present himself.
I love his openness to pushing his own boundaries too e.g. wearing a black jacket even though he leans to stronger colors usually.
The interviewee comments about psychic attitudes in terms like trying too hard, being to serious, etc. etc. or he refers to colors, saying there are many greens, yet never specifying them, or correlates black shoes to NY and non-black to Milan, without explanation.
Peter, he does specify the greens, even pointing out a particular cloth in a particular bunch.
As to black in those cities, it’s an observation and nothing more. Someone else can explain it.
Bright green cardigan reminds me a bit of the unusual shades of green cardigans worn by David Hockney. They are very difficult to find – any tips on where to find.
What a great piece. Whilst I don’t know the guy, it seems that you’ve captured him really well. The word authentic gets used a lot these days, but I think it’s appropriate here.
Thanks for being an inspiration on both a style and writing front!
Had the pleasure of chatting one on one with Gianluca at an event at The Armoury in NY a few years ago. I just introduced myself and he was very friendly. He is a really nice guy and cool in the best sense of the word. Definitely one on my favorites from a “how to dress like” perspective. I can’t imagine what watching O’Mast will look like in a few decades. Hopefully the incredible talent will be continued and nurtured by a new generation.The documentary is a beautiful piece of work and well worth watching.
This is a terrific article because it captures what we are after with clothes and style. Here is a man that enjoys his clothes, but doesn’t take clothes or himself too seriously. He remains true to what he likes, doesn’t seem to be overly hemmed in by rules, keeps a sense of humor about his clothing.
This article dovetails nicely with the recent article about whether you should dress for yourself or others. He shows us how to dress for ourselves in a good way. By contrast, if you just wear weird and wild clothes to get attention, then you’re just posing, dressing for others, and not in a good way.
This was a great read.
Now we need to see those mint corduroy trousers!
Oh you will Magnus, don’t worry!
Gianluca’s personality really shines through – one of the most authentic people in out there in bespoke circles
Pommella have made some wonderful and unique things for me – none of which would have happened without Gianluca understanding the vision and pushing Lino – but he never tries to play tailor or designer
Dresses in a way that really works for him and that’s something for us all to aspire to
Were you channelling Neil from The Young Ones when you conducted this interview?
“You wear a lot (sic) striped shirts as well man,” and “Thanks man. Couldn’t agree more.”
If so, really looking forward to the PS Kaftan release!
No man, that’s just me
Would it be possible to get a little more information about the overshirt being worn in the first photo? The colour is mentioned but not fabric or maker. Thanks
It’s a sample Gianluca is working on for his brand PML
I am not ashamed to say I have a bit of a man-crush on Gianluca. I suspect he is terrific company. This is my favourite “how to dress like” article yet.
Really good article, like the fact Gianluca seems to wear a pocket watch. I try and wear mine in the same way but have not been able to find a really nice small fob to go into the jacket lapel , as he has.
Very enjoyable read Simon, thanks.
Clearly a nice, thoughtful, person whose style can be easily replicated and adapted to meet your own
This is a great post! I really enjoyed reading it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it remained a very useful source of inspiration for PS readers.
A case in point:first, your remark: “The black shoes are quite stark against the trousers. I think a lot of readers would instinctively go for brown there, probably brown suede. Why did you prefer black?”
Then, Gianluca’s reply and the subject of this post:
By the way, have you noticed the shape of his tote?
Yes – what was it that struck you about the tote shape?
Two things: firstly, it’s a bit higher, and secondly, less wide than the one featured in your post (the black bullskin tote).
Take a look at this one too, you’ll see the difference, or if anything, its similarity to Gianluca’s tote:
Yes, that’s much more similar to the Commuter Tote that Clegg sells. I have had one in the past, and they are very nice. In some ways they’re more practical than the tall tote in the bullskin, as it has more structure and stands up when you put it down, for example. But I prefer the feeling of the leather on the bullskin.
If someone wanted more of a daily office or commuter bag, that was perhaps a little less unusual, I’d recommend that Clegg one certainly
Wonderful interview and I highly recommend PML’s overshirt (Gianluca – how about a navy option?). And where are his string loafers from in the video with Doug Courdeaux? Looks great with the olive green suit.
If there’s one takeaway from this interview for me, it would be this: “Be Yourself. No a peacock”.
Great interview, Simon. 🙂
I love Gianlucas style. So effortless and natural. Maybe Ill be there in 10 years haha 🙂
any idea when we’ll get a look at those mint green cords? Eagerly awaiting!
So I love the green trousers. So much so that I have commissioned a pair myself. But I have just seen him on Instagram in a pair of lemon/ acid yellow trousers. They look amazing. What do we think? Too much? Or quirky and stylish?