Reader profile: Mattia
I met Mattia during our recent pop-up shop on Savile Row. A Permanent Style reader, he is also a fashion student, which gives him an interesting perspective on classic menswear.
I enjoyed talking to him, and his friends, about their studies and their clothing choices, and that naturally led onto the suggestion of featuring Mattia in this Reader Profile series.
Hopefully it brings one more variation to the line up we’ve included so far, in terms of age, occupation, budget and most importantly, style.
Outfit 1: Semi-formal
“For my first outfit I went for a fairly preppy look, with a vintage Burberry Mac on top of a corduroy workers jacket (it was a cold November morning on the day of the shoot), a vintage country rose cricket vest and an off-white button down shirt. My jeans are Levi’s 501s with a cut-off hem, with a Cerruti belt and Alden for Brooks Brothers cordovan loafers.
The loafers were the first pair of ‘proper’ shoes I ever bought. They came from eBay US and have been an absolute game changer for me - a blessing and a curse as I used to buy a lot of high-street shoes, but I don’t think I ever can again.
I love the durability, sturdiness and sheer quality of the cordovan and wear them with all kinds of outfits. One summer I wore them every single day, and they clearly show signs of that - but cordovan only looks better for it. I’ll be wearing these loafers until my toes poke out of the uppers.
Where do you buy clothes from mostly?
EBay, vintage markets, charity shops. I also go to vintage streetwear sites, as they’ll often mis-price things like loafers, suits or Barbour jackets.
I really enjoy that kind of shopping - I see it as a sort of lucky dip. But you do need a lot of patience as there will always be good days and bad days. The continuous upside is that you can be sure you won’t be matching with anyone at a party.
What advice do you have for buying second-hand?
When you’re shopping in person, give it time. I don’t like to rush - I usually browse each rack a couple of times to make sure I’m not missing anything.
I also prefer to go to the lesser-known second-hand shops, as the famous ones have become quite commercial and more expensive. The best places are often charity shops in the posher areas of London. That’s where you’ll find Crockett and Jones loafers for £25 as well as bespoke suits, vintage furs and beautiful overcoats.
Online I keep all my searches as broad as possible so that I can get the most out of each one, so for example “men’s overcoat 40”. When I’m desperately looking for something in particular, I’ll look at eBay in other countries, for example my Alden shoes came from Germany and the US, as they are very hard to find on eBay UK.
Another little tip that has only worked a few times over the Christmas period - but I give it a shot every year - is to send in offers that are substantially lower along with the message “Come on mate, it’s Christmas!”
Outfit 2: Formal
In my second outfit I’m wearing a beige three-roll-two jacket from Mabro Uomo, a vintage Lacoste denim shirt (which I like to add underneath a jacket every so often to loosen up the outfit) and vintage pleated trousers from a market in Naples. Same belt and loafers.
I know you have Italian heritage. How does that affect how you dress?
My father was born in England to a Neapolitan father and a Polish mother, and my mother was born in Palermo. My great-grandfather was actually a shoemaker in Naples and my great-uncle still works as a tailor.
I think the Neapolitan side has given me a natural attraction to the softer styles of tailoring, and for more flamboyant but relaxed looks.
What are your favourite shops in Italy? And brands?
My favourite markets to go to in Italy are Resina, Napoli and Sant’Ambrogio in Florence. The culture of buying vintage hasn’t quite kicked off in Italy as much as it has here, so it will usually be me in a sea of Nonnette (old Italian Grandmas) browsing for a bargain.
In terms of designers and brands from Italy I’ll always love Armani from the 1980s, as seen in American Gigolo. Giuliva Heritage is also making some really nice stuff, and I’m currently going through an overcoat phase so I’m hoping to get one of theirs in the near future.
How long have you been reading PS?
Since 2019, so I may be a little late to the game. I met up with Alex Pirounis of Anglo-Italian and he told me to watch Gianluca Migliarotti’s O’Mast. This led me to want to understand the differences between English and Neapolitan tailoring and I came across Permanent Style through the YouTube videos, which then led me to the website.
I then started reading during lessons in Sixth Form college instead of doing my Spanish work. The blog was one of the first sources when I was deepening my interest in the sartorial world, so it will always have a dear place in my heart.
What is your favourite article or type of article?
When I had just started reading Permanent Style, I was invited to stay with a friend who is a freelance journalist in Florence. He showed me around Pitti - honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, so I read everything I could about Pitti and there was so much useful stuff on the blog.
I’ve also really enjoyed these reader profiles, reading them and doing one! When I’ve done my sartorial reading for the day I’ll usually pop over to the comment section for some evening’s entertainment, or what I like to call ‘Sartorial Smackdown’. Some of you guys are merciless. Please, go easy on me.
Who else do you follow, or are inspired by?
Robert Spangle (@Thousandyardstyle) - his style is really unique and expresses the person perfectly, his lifestyle, what he does, what he used to do and what he picked up along the way.
Alessandro Squarzi for his ability to pull off almost anything, as well as his love for ‘vivere vintage’. Gerardo Cavaliere as a display of Italian classical excellence and elegance - to me it’s a romantic and slightly nostalgic style. Nathaniel Asseraf [for the cowboy boots, see below], and the guys over at Peplor who are maestros in Italian market shopping.
Outfit 3: Casual
With the last outfit I’m mixing some US/UK classic items such as a red Barbour Beaufort with an M&S black turtleneck. Harley Davidson belt, white Levi’s 501s with a cut-off hem and Wrangler cowboy boots.
The Harley belt has become a bit of a family heirloom. It was found by my uncle attached to an old set of swings at the bottom of his garden. He gave it to his brother who is a leatherwork enthusiast, who became my Godfather and passed it down to me when I was about 9. I’ve been wearing it ever since.
I always dismissed cowboy boots as I never thought I could pull them off, and they reminded me of dubious outfits in photos of my parents’ house parties in the late nineties. However, I saw Nathaniel Asseraf, of Casatlantic, in one of his Instagram posts wearing a sturdy pair of cowboy boots with some high-waisted jeans and I just loved the silhouette.
I went straight onto Depop, searched for some cowboy boots and found these Wranglers brand new, exactly the same as the ones in the post.
My Sicilian genes have blessed me with a lot of good things, but height is not one of them, and that little extra bit of heel in the boot also helps make up for it. Ever since I’ve absolutely loved them and bought a black pair as well. I would suggest giving cowboy boots a chance.
What do you do?
I’m in my second year studying Bespoke Tailoring at the London College of Fashion. In my spare time, when I’m not in the studio, I work a couple of days a week as a labourer to fund my eBay addiction. And when I’m not doing either of those, you’ll most likely find me drawing in my room or in the ring in my local Muay Thai gym.
How does all that affect what you wear?
Being at LCF as a 19-year-old who hasn’t quite figured out their own style or aesthetic can be challenging, as you’re surrounded by so many strong characters who fit perfectly into particular subcultures. But I’ve accepted that and am just enjoying the process, experimenting, messing up as well as discovering great combinations.
What do your peers think about what you wear?
Everyone seems to enjoy how I mix vintage sartorial pieces into my outfits and make them look current, as well as quite varied and versatile - as sometimes I’ll come in wearing tailored trousers, a belted overcoat and loafers and some days white jeans and cowboy boots.
What do you wear when you go out?
Growing up in a rough area of south-east London was hard for the development of my style. From a young age I was always taught by my older friends that the ‘zebra with the red stripe gets eaten’. Robert Spangle told me the military term is being the ‘grey man’. Basically, not standing out.
However, now that I’m 19 and have had my fair share of dangerous situations, and know my way around, I now do whatever I want (within reason). Clothes for going out now just depend on who, what and where.
So often it will be on the casual side if I’m going out locally: shirt or turtleneck, jeans, boots or loafers, and the jackets will vary. When going into central London I’ll always dress up. The levels of formality will change depending on who I’m out with, but I tend to be a lot more tailored than others.
Have you changed how you dress since the pandemic?
Before the pandemic I was slowly changing my wardrobe from a more urban street style to something more tailored. I was a lost teenager who finished college with no exams and had really a lot of free time on my hands. A lot of that time was spent exercising, drawing or sewing, and the rest of it was on eBay.
My brother and I discovered the weird and wonderful aspects of eBay during the first lockdown, and every Sunday we would wear our new eBay suits to keep Sunday special. It got so bad that we would refer to money as eBay credits!
Since that first lockdown I’ve pretty much had a complete wardrobe change, from that of a teenager to what I believe to be quite a developed, versatile and wide range of high-quality pieces that’ll last a hell of a long time.
Photography: Mohan Singh