To whisper with your clothes – or why I’m fascinated by old Italian industrialists
By Andreas Weinas
This headline might be one of the more confusing ones to have appeared on Permanent Style, but bear with me. Simon reached out to me at the beginning of the year, asking if I wanted to do a piece on PS about something I found particularly interesting at the moment.
I wanted to reflect on the subject, so I took a few days during my winter holiday and decided a certain counter-reaction strikes me as the most inspiring thing in menswear going into 2023.
After Covid I think we can all agree that formality has declined, in both the workplace and most of our personal life. Some fear the tie is near extinction and the jet set playboy of 2023 is wearing nothing but Brunello Cucinelli sweatpants, rather than Caraceni suits. Then there’s the celebrity influence, where the red carpet seems to be the most extreme it's ever been. In some ways the only options seem to be to scream with your outfit or give up completely.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a conservative rant, blindly arguing for more formal dressing and the resurrection of the tie; the trends have been positive too.
In many ways, these movements have opened up the potential for more personality and creativity, certainly compared to the more restrictive nature of dressing by the ‘rules’ I encountered when I started writing about menswear 15 years ago. I constantly find inspiration in the likes of Ethan Newton or my friend Milad Abedi, both excellent examples of personal style that is aware of, but not restricted by the concept of rules.
My own style is no exception. I experiment with my tailored clothing more frequently these days, making use of knitwear or eccentric accessories rather than the more traditional shirt and tie game. A mint-green knit or even jacket, for example, a heavy western shirt under a jacket, or tonal looks like an all-black outfit.
However, in the past couple of months I've noticed a shift in what gets me going. I've been obsessing over vintage double-breasted suits and jackets from Polo (or Purple Label) Ralph Lauren (with more structure and fullness than any of my existing suits), my ties are back in rotation, and I don’t feel restricted by dressing up anymore.
It was during research on a certain Italian style icon (he may or may not have worn his watch on the outside of his shirt) that I realised how much I enjoy the subtle style of the old industrialists. Despite the formality of their suits, they always had that casual air that everyone seems to crave these days.
They’d wear a grey flannel suit and a light blue button-down shirt; if they wore a tie it would be a wool or cashmere, always a matte finish; and the shoes were most likely brown suede. Men like Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Matteo Marzotto, Franco Minucci and perhaps more than anyone, the late Sergio Loro Piana (below).
You may well say “people wear this type of clothing all the time, what makes their suits so special?”. I think it’s all in the details. The choice of quality Goodyear-welted shoes over cemented faux-leather options, for example. The attention to fit and comfort you get in a properly constructed jacket, rather than the fused suit jackets worn with slim jeans that dominate the workspace here in Stockholm.
I think another aspect of the traditional industrialist’s elegance is the transition between formal and casual.
In almost every casual outfit, there would be a contrast in formality. The polo shirts were paired with sports coats, for example, the chunky roll necks were worn with sleek loafers, and even the jeans were a fuller cut that could compliment a cashmere or linen jacket. And perhaps most importantly, every garment looks like it’s been a treasured piece in the wardrobe for the better part of a decade.
I think a similar philosophy can be applied to the formal suits. Whether the suits were cut in London, Milan, Florence or Naples, they always had a sense of ease.
I remember the first time I was introduced to the term ‘Stile Inglese’ - Italian interpretation of classic British style - and realised how well the two sartorial concepts can be combined. Heavier British flannels like Fox Brothers in a softer Italian construction, for example, combined with OCBD shirts, single cuffs and suede loafers - rather than collar stays, French cuffs and black oxfords.
I’ll give you a few examples of modern men that I think are doing this in their style today. Jake Grantham (above, top), who I don’t think I've ever seen wear shiny shoes, combines elegant and natural colours, often in matte textures, without ever looking dull or boring.
Another is Dag Granath of Saman Amel (above, bottom). Most readers are probably aware of Dag's attention to detail from Saman Amel communications and look books, but Dag's personal style is even more stripped down: jeans, cordovan loafers, a navy jacket and a crisp shirt; it reminds me of how designers used to dress in the past.
A third example is Auro Montanari (above and below), or John Goldberger as many will know him from the watch community. Auro is an older gentleman but dresses with the same playful elegance as these other modern men. His bespoke sports coats are often worn with western shirts, soft slippers and a casual scarf, but then of course some of the finest vintage Cartier watches the world has ever seen.
With all these gentlemen, old and new, the best way I can describe the feeling they give me is that they whisper with their clothing. And like ASMR it gives me the chills. In a good way.
Good morning…i enjoyed this article….places of importance regardless of COVID i always wore jacket and tie..why?? I am old school and i enjoy that look…gentlemen be safe and have a wonderful week..peace
Absolutely love the navy jacket in the very first photo at the top. Please can we have details / cloth etc?!
Glad you liked it!
If you’re referring to the photo on the bike it was shot for Cavour AW22 and the particular jacket is their mod 2 in a lovely wool/cashmere blend from Abraham Moon.
It might still be available on their seasonal sale.
May i ask – do the jacket cuffs come unfinished allowing the sleeve length to be shortened or are the button holes already sewn in?
Fake buttonholes, that removes without a trace, and allows for easy alterations.
From these few pictures it seems like Sergio Loro Piana was not an advocate of GYW shoes at all. But opted for some kind of fashion loafer that I find too much of a contrast with his really nice DB suits. For some reasons slightly older gentlemen have a bonus when it comes to looking relaxed in tailoring. Just nobody assumes that they are trying too hard. Still working against my longing for a navy DB jacket. This article made it not easier, thanks 🙂
I think you’re absolutely right regarding to SLP and I see how the photos might contradict the paragraph on GYW shoes. There’s always an exception to the rule and in defence, he defined casual elegance in a tailored suit and was one of the first true ambassadors of the Open Walk, long before the current hype.
Thank you for your kind words and I higly recommend a navy DB jacket.
I am a huge fan of Sergio Loro Piana’s style, and agree with you on the shoes. I can only assume he wore those shoes (LP open walks) because they are made by his what was then his company.
It’s a model made by his (former) company, hardly surprising he’d wear it.
the Loro Piana Open Walk is a must for anyone who remotely aspires to be an Italian industrialist (or spend their winters in Gstaad).
I strongly dislike those shoes, but I am no industrialist. I am Italian though.
Also, “aspiring to be an Italian industrialist” is a funny proposition, assuming you are not Italian in the first place.
I agree on the shoes. Beautifully made but I’m not sure even well designed. It always feels like it’s missing an apron or similar across the front.
I’m not sure aspiring to be an Italian industrialist in terms of style is that funny. We nearly all aspire to be one thing or another in how we dress, even often unconsciously
You may aspire to dress like an italian industrialist, maybe. I doubt you aspire to *be* an italian industrialist.
Well, aspiring to be one in terms of dress. Either way, small point I guess
Simon – you have the patience of the Dalai Lama.
Nice article by Andreas.
“An open heart is an open mind”
Great read .
Andreas Weinas always dresses so well .
That jacket Jake wears is fantastic . That’s normally a look that I think comes across too conservative (too Roger ’James Bond’ Moore) but not the way Hake wears it.
More generally the article makes me think of how contemporary men wearing tailoring look very ‘fitted’ but looking above at the photos tailoring was more relaxed and comfortable.
It’s often the case that when I see pictures of Pitti the wearers look like they’re held in their clothes like a women in a corset.
I think the answer is ‘drape’ . Not too much and certainly not too little .
I love the theory of this, and agree it’s so much more sophisticated and stylish than the ‘shock dressing’ that’s become the celebrity norm. Unfortunately though I think the average person’s understanding of the grammar of menswear is so limited that these kind of subtle inflections have no meaning for them, and so the gesture is lost – a friend recently sought my advice on his proposed wedding outfit: when I pointed out that a poplin spread collar shirt would be smarter and more appropriate than his suggested button down he looked at me like I was completely mad. I’d expect the same incredulity at the idea of a wool tie being more casual than silk, or loafers vs oxfords. For most people this means nothing, and much as I’d like to, I don’t believe the “they may not be able to describe it, but they do understand it” principle actually rings true. Great article, thanks
Excellent point Peter. Even wearing an OCBD shirt with jeans or chinos and loafers is seen as a fairly dressy outfit within much of the IT industry. Add a tweed jacket and it’s perceived as a suit almost. My comment that loafers are casual shoes was often met with the incredulity you describe. For many (within this ultra casual group) a loafer is no less formal than a black toe cap oxford.
Having said that, if you’re happy with what you’re wearing, you’re more likely to be relaxed and consequently the outfit will likely be perceived as more stylish. I would feel uncomfortable turning up to the office in jean shorts and flip flops (in summer) compared to a pair of linen trousers and a button down shirt or polo. So the latter would be preferable (and more stylish) even if the level of formality is seen as higher than the average person in the office.
Hello Noel. I agree with you as somebody who works in It and wears a suit , a tie, dress shoes and sometimes a sports jackets and odd trousers to work every day, I sometimes do feel like an exotic animal. But I get nothing but compliments and people , do not even notice my dress anymore . In fact they have been amazed when I arrived in the office in the summer (38 degrees C) in a polo shirt and linen trousers as some have never seen me without a tie. I find the Italian Industrialist look very flattering and relaxed but still with an air of respectability and gravitas. I wear a lot DB suits with a polo neck for instance in the winter with suede shoes and it think it’s a great look for everybody. Better then ripped jeans, NB and a designer florescent jacket.
You’ve nailed this right on the head. I think much of the problem is that it’s rare for people to see properly made clothes. Style is one thing, of course, but it could be that even more important is how and from what the clothes are made, and how they should fit.
Even when someone in the IT setting wears the casual everyday combination of a jacket, shirt, chinos, and loafers (without a tie, obviously), they’ll typically look like they’re wearing a tracksuit and trainers. Which, judging from the materials and the construction, they pretty much are. And even that is rare compared to all the people wearing actual tracksuits and trainers.
I also work in IT, and I don’t want to look outrageously out of place, so I wear casual clothes, and nothing particulary fancy either. The aforementioned combination (although with a tie) is pretty typical for me. And it looks completely different when it’s properly made than if it’s from H&M or something like that.
I think that is what makes people notice the difference. It’s a bit like comparing a microwave meal with the proper stuff. Even when the latter is pretty basic, it’s something completely different.
I think this is a question of degree Peter, and about the effect of the whole too. No one outside of menswear is going to notice the difference between a poplin and an oxford fabric. They may not notice a button down over a spread collar shirt. But they are more likely to notice the difference between a navy suit and a stronger blue one. And put them all together (as of course all clothes are seen) and the effect is combined.
I’d suggest the friend might not get that point, but if he saw a picture of himself standing next to a well-dressed person at his wedding, he may well think the other person looks better dressed – but not necessarily be able to say why. And it would be a combination of 30+ things that you would pick out if asked.
Fair point, and I think there are two separate things here. First, I agree that people are probably able to spot the better-dressed person, even if they couldn’t say why precisely. The fit, proportions, material quality and such would be the difference there.
But then, this would not extend to the rule-like nuances that I think Peter was talking about. Most people would simply see no difference between something like a (fairly subtle) tweed suit and a worsted midnight navy one, or brown suede brogues and black captoes. Or, in fact, an OCBD and a spread collar poplin shirt. I would go even as far as to say that most people would say the showier or more casual outfit of the two is better (whatever that means) although someone fluent in the grammar would think it’s out of place.
Hey. I know what you mean, but personally I find people do notice those more nuanced differences, just as part of a whole. They wouldn’t point out any of those things, but they would say that overall, an outfit looks smarter, more elegant, or just like it more, because of those small points combined.
You can find a huge compilation of those industrialist looks here – though it’s probably common knowledge by now.
Glad somebody pointed this out. I was rather surprised that this blog wasn’t even mentioned in the article.
Other than that, while the concept of “whispering with one’s clothes” is neat, I think that the men in question are speaking rather loudly. Don’t get me wrong, they are doing it very well. But if this is subtle, then it shows what peacockery we have grown accustomed to.
Also compared to general clothing today – more casual clothing would often feature stronger colours, more logos etc
I’m dressing exactly the same as one of them today and had already prepared tomorrow’s clothes exactly like another…. not sure if that makes me trendy, forward thinking, cool or just old. Any of those phrase’s work. Its a cool look, I’m a cool dude but then again, I always was cool but I was waiting for the world to understand that.
Very enjoyable slow read over a slow Italian coffee .
Proves the style adage – if in doubt look at older Italian men.
A great read and an excellent untapped source of inspiration here on PS, so thank you, Andreas. I would only quibble with the throwaway inclusion of Harry Styles as the chosen example of ‘extreme’ red carpet outfits, though I appreciate your point was that such looks open up avenues for creativity and personality across menswear.
Harry’s style (unavoidable, sorry!) has been setting the bar for a while in that realm, and though the rules and norms of the red carpet increasingly diverge from what we tend to focus on in the classic tailoring world, Harry and his stylist Harry Lambert have knowingly and adroitly pushed at the boundaries of menswear, masculinity, gender conformity and public expectations of male celebrity for years. He wore a ballgown on the cover of Vogue, to give one example. He also regularly turns out playful and subversive, classic-leaning tailoring outfits.
Now, there are arguments that he’s actually appropriating queer fashion – a community that has pushed against the same boundaries for decades – and that he is idolised for doing what LGBTQ+ figures have been denigrated or ignored for. And there are counter arguments that, if nothing else, he has helped champion and bring such ideas into the mainstream.
All of which is to say, there’s a lot more going on to that look than would meet the eye of the casual reader/commenter, and so hopefully I’ve made the case for a separate conversation.
I am sure you are right. And if there is anything good in it for the communities that you mentioned, this is great. But for me, as someone who knows very little about him, his style is just so extremely over the top that I just don’t believe him. It doesn’t come across as authentic. To me it seems like nothing more than attention grabbing. This is just my impression. I would have way less concerns if there was a personality to back up this style. And in his case I have my doubts if this is really coming from within himself or he is just hopping on the zeitgeist-train for marketing reasons. But you may well be right that there is more going on than I can see.
Thanks, Alexander. This is really why I commented on the image’s inclusion. Because on a post about Italian Industrialists as part of a blog for traditionally-minded male sartorialists, a bright, flared jumpsuit is going to look attention grabbing and ridiculous.
And while there are many public figures who blindly follow the Zeitgeist, their designer sponsor, or their stylist and don’t care in the slightest about clothing, from interviews and style pieces I’ve seen, the impression I get of Harry Styles is that he genuinely loves clothing, is baffled by traditional notions of gendered fashion and dresses first and foremost for himself. (And in this context, he is very much leading the Zeitgeist.)
Simon often eloquently talks about finding style inspiration from unexpected places, including womenswear. I think there can often be inspiration to be found on the proverbial red carpet too.
I enjoy the way Harry Styles dresses-certainly not me,but he is one of the few ‘red carpet’ celebrities I take an interest .
I agree with Josh, he certainly loves his clothes and genuinely seems to care about style,colour and shape.
I would much rather look at him than the endless corporate-dressed mainstream who populate the red carpet
I must say I feel that people like Styles, Smith & co have no natural style of their own, they have a style department supporting them to grab headlines & portray a social position or ambiguity. Styles is a take on Freddy Mercury stage outfit in the photo.
Compare to Hendrix, Jagger , Cream….& many from the late 60’s to early 70’s, far more natural flair, far better musicians in my opinion.
I suspect the industrial Italians have a natural flair too & money to show it off to those with the eye.
He might have the best intentions in the world, but that still doesn’t make the look even remotely close to wearable for normal people that don’t want to “push boundaries” of social norms with their clothes – which is actually most people.
I don’t think his intent is to make the look close to being wearable-but his world is not the world of us
Something always trickles down – Its not that long ago that carpenter pants and Carhartt were red carpet and runway styles and were considered quite cutting edge and look where we are now. In the UK you can’t move for middle aged men ‘apparently’ on their way for a hard day of painting and decorating .
I still think there are things of worth in his choices -shape,colours etc and it’s not that different from what Bowie was wearing in the 70s.
There is much of interest in the Vogue gallery
As a long time reader and, very, occasional commenter I just wanted to say thanks for your comments.
I’m no imitator of Harry but my inner autodidact is appreciating your active open mindedness, reservation of judgement and curiosity. Hats off old boy!
Also, thanks for sharing the Vogue style evolution, Peter. That’s exactly the kind of inspiration I had in mind, though I stopped myself from posting some of the very same outfits from my camera roll!
That’s true, And; to be clear, I’m not proposing we all start wearing singlets.
Peter is spot on with the ‘trickle down’ argument. And Andreas’ sort of alluded to a similar argument, which is that if boundaries are visibly being pushed by people in the public eye, it becomes much easier for more conservative dressers to start to take a few risks here and there. Suddenly that pink item (shoutout to Manish) doesn’t look so outrageous. Maybe that fabric print is more wearable than at first glance. Perhaps it is time for gold buttons on the next navy jacket commission.
Ultimately it all feeds back into what influences designers, trendsetters, and fashion forward consumers, which in turns feeds the cycle and starts the gradual shift towards whatever the next overarching trends and themes will be for everyone else.
I am a big proponent of Italian industrialist style. It is very relevant to me now that I no longer need to wear blue and grey worsteds to the office, but still prefer to wear a suit and tie most days, because it is elegant and unstuffy. In particular, I find the combination of more structured jackets made up in less formal clothes and paired with casual accessories to be quite chic: linen, cotton and gabardine in the warmer months, tweed and flannel in the colder ones, suede shoes with pretty much everything.
Picking up on something that Andrew says here, which I think is confirmed by the pictures of the various Italian men: it is striking that their “high/low” dressing is done mostly with structured jackets with stronger shoulders, rather than Neapolitan softer shoulders. I find it striking because I believe it goes against the common view that Neapolitan tailoring is better for more informal combinations (including with jeans, as discussed elsewhere in the comments).
So: are Milanese jackets actually better than Neapolitan jackets for this kind of high/low dressing, and if so why? And if not, why do they all do it (is it just that the “industrialists” are mostly northern)?
On a separate note, great to see Mr Montanari in these pages. Love his style and I think he’d be a fantastic “how to dress like” subject.
Good call, yes that would be great.
The question about jackets and jeans is about the subtle v showy point, for me. Neapolitan jackets are better with jeans because they fit more naturally together. Most people will like wearing that combination more, more of the time.
But, if you want more of a high/low combination – which is by definition striking, not subtle, deliberately standing out – then a contrast between jacket and jeans can work well. That’s not, as I said, what most readers want though in my experience.
Yes, the reason they largely wear that tailoring more is because it was their local school – far fewer people shopped around different regional styles back then.
Great article and very interesting that you mention ‘stile inglese’ – it dates back to the second half of the 80s and it was about Church shoes, fit jeans, oxford shirts, pullover, tailored jackets and Barbour / M65 field coats. Sadly it also had a bad political element associated to it and links with hooliganism.
To me, this article is nothing new. It is rehashing an aesthetic spoken about on Permanent Style (and elsewhere) all the time, but without any insight or rationale that makes PS – and it’s many great guest writers – as compelling as it often is. Not really sure who it is for, nor what the point of it is!
You’re being rather ungenerous Jackson. It might be a familiar style, but it’s an area of inspiration we’ve never discussed on PS. While it may be a common topic elsewhere, it’s not one many readers will have read before. And, there are points that make this a personal take and different to others – such as the link to modern trends and the examples of modern inspiration.
Also as is clear from other comments, it is a piece that other readers have found interesting and enjoyable. If you have constructive suggestions as to things that would have been nice to include, though, do let us know.
Hi Simon, given that I have been studying the style for so long, I guess I just sort of assumed that other people also paid as much attention as me and that it was discussed previously on PS.
As for the comment that there was no explanation in the article about what makes this Permanent Style, I would estimate that the picture of Agnelli are probably from the 80s or maybe 90s and those of Montezemolo and Sergio Loro Piana are probably 10-15 years old and yet the way they are dressed does not come across as dated. (Compare this to many of the pictures of guys at Pitti from the early 2010s.) That alone indicates to me that there is some permanence and relevance to the style.
I don’t think that second point was made by Jackson? (Presuming that’s what you are referring to.) He talked about the insight the article had, not whether it was Permanent Style or not.
I certainly agree on the point, just not sure what it was replying to!
hi Simon, sorry maybe I read the comment wrong. I was replying to the point about “without any insight or rationale that makes PS….”
Yes, I don’t think it meant what you think – I agree that these people had permanent style, and I believe the other reader did too
Apologies. I think that was probably slightly too harsh and as you said, ungenerous a way of putting it. Perhaps a case of having woken up on the wrong side of the bed.
Still, I do believe he could have broken down why he believes the outfits of his subject work so well slightly more.
Yes, that would have been interesting. Hard to do everything in a single piece – perhaps a follow-up that looked at one of the people mentioned and broke it down more would be interesting?
A lovely piece and so nicely written.
I would happily wear any of the featured garments here (excepting the Styles outfit!), and so nice to see a photo of how good a blue blazer can pair with old jeans!
Simon has often said this is a no no, but I wear this combo often and get loads of compliments.
On that point Peter, reference the recent subtle v showy piece – nothing is a matter of yes or no no, it’s a question of how subtle or showy you want to be, and that jeans outfit is fairly showy. And then move to the point about execution – points like the slim jean, lack of turn-up, white casual shirt etc
Thanks Simon. Maybe my memory is playing tricks but I am sure I can remember more than one occasion where you commented that a bespoke navy blazer and jeans did not sit well together. One poster I think mentioned Michael Alden at the time.
When I have Peter, the point has been that English structured tailoring is hard to do in that style, but softer Neapolitan ones are a lot easier. Indeed when it comes to Neapolitan, it’s something I’ve worn myself and shown.
But even with English (or Milanese), I rarely say something is a yes or a no, as clothing is more nuanced than that. I’m more likely to say that it is hard, easy, or showy etc.
The outfit that gets me more positive comments than ay other is my blue bespoke SB blazer from a Row tailor, beaten up 501’s, white OCBD and espresso suede loafers, so it works for me!
Thanks Peter, yes I understood that from our previous chats about it. Pleased you like it
Since my middle age (and probably earlier!) I have long admired this style. Now I am in a similar age bracket it’s something I still use as inspiration. You have articulated it so well.
Thank you for a very enjoyable and inspiring guest article.
Wonderful to see “older” men in stylish and elegant outfits, both casual and more formal. Andreas has chosen several “looks” that resonate well with those of us that have closets full of tailored suits and jackets that can be combined in subtle ways as illustrated in his article. Thank you for including our age group as I have requested in the past. Great job by Andreas and to you, Simon, for responding and respecting your older readers.
What a great feature, well done.
Likely already mentioned but I believe this effortless style is showcased on IG @ italophilia_laclasse
Old money gives this kind of nonchalance which makes any cloth looks simply better, in Italy for sure, but in the UK, Spain, France or even USA too…
Agnelli was great: it even looks like his hair is made of tweed
Lovely article and photos. I suppose my main question would be: Why would one aspire to dress like an “industrialist” during a climate crisis?
I think we can separate the person and the clothes to at least that extent Paolo.
Also, industrialists make wind turbines as well as power stations.
I don’t think it’s possible to separate a person and their clothes though, Simon. Consider a police officer, for instance. Or an SS man for a more dramatic example. Clothes are the man.
Those are extreme examples Mark. Just because you can’t separate them in some instances, doesn’t mean you can’t in others. I’m perfectly happy to be inspired by the clothes of an arsehole.
Where would you draw the line? Hitler’s capsule wardrobe?
Always nice to resort to Hitler mentions now and again. Yes, some way before that
Really enjoyed reading this, hope you feature Andreas on here more often!
Great article, thanks!
One thing that strikes me about the photos in the article is the importance of texture and cloth. While the garments are relatively straightforward and well cut, it seems to me that textural cloth can truly make a subtle but important difference.
In defence of „shiny“ calf shoes: there is an appeal with a well worn, looked after, quality calf dress shoe, that I don’t see myself stop enjoying any time soon. Though I never spend time giving them a high polish. I don’t like the look and as a father of two I do other things in my spare time.
Moreover, looking at an outfit as a whole: As much as I understand and pratice tonality of texture, contrast in texture can also be really nice. “Hard” jewelry like a watch and smooth calf can really shine (in the truest sense, and vice versa) against fluffy flannel, tweed, PS-oxfords, japanese denim (think cordovan against fluffy jeans) etc. (Today I also somehow like the contrast of the sharp lines of my Saint Crispin’s shoes with the round and unpadded cut of my flannel suit.)
One common thread that I noticed throughout these pictures is that everyone of the gentleman pictured looks to be in good physical shape. Not for their age just good shape full stop. Which I’m itself is a good enough reason, if we needed one, to keep ourselves healthy as we grow older.
The younger guys show they too are starting also on this path.
Very inspiring article ! I believe that what attracts me the most in the pictures depicted above is the fact that these gentlemen appear confident but not arrogant, like they naturally fit in their clothes. This reminds me of a paragraph in G. Bruce Boyer’s excellent book “True Style” : “If you’re uncomfortable in your clothes, you’ll make others feel uncomfortable, and no one will do his best. In this day and age, it’s not necessary to sacrifice comfort to fashion or dignity”.
It think that says it all. Comfortable but elegant clothes send back a certain image of nonchalance that is truly attractive.
Nicely put Martin (yourself and Bruce)
I find the discussion about Italian Industrialist style quite amusing…. being half Italian myself…..People like Mr overused Gianni Agnelli or Mr Loro Piana looked good or just well and expensivly dressed ( as hundreds of thousands of other less famous Italians) also partially because of their good looks……
The obsession of sometimes more northern countries (look at the success of Suit Supply Dutch… who exactly produces this lifestyle clothing for a while now…) also could be due to the longing to “live like an Italian” or at least what we perceive to be …good looks good food good clothing…..
The same goes for other style icon countries…. the cool careless british sophisticated aristocrat … or the east coast WASP RL world……
There’s certainly always an element of that Andy, but it shouldn’t be exaggerated either. Sergio LP isn’t that good looking. Nice hair, good tan, in decent shape, but he doesn’t have model looks.
Equally, you see a plethora of good-looking guys that dress badly. They still get away with a lot because of their looks, but they could look far better too.
At least we agree on the element lolol…..Sergio isn’t a model sure but all of the guys have this italian swagger around them….would be interesting to see some other nations Industrialists involved in the model line up…
True, easier to acquire swagger than good looks though. Yeah, good point on other countries, though culturally the Italians are often quite distinct
I find the assertion that ‘Older Men’ do it better endlessly fascinating.
As a 70 year old flanner it would be easy for me to agree but although I can look back smugly, I do think it is about very much more than age.
Yes, most of the men photographed are of a certain vintage but not all are. One thing they all have in common however, Harry Styles excluded, is consummate good taste.
The question is, how did they come about that good taste ?
Doubtless they all had a myriad of influences but I would hazard a guess that they didn’t come from GQ or, with the greatest of respect, these column inches.
My guess is that their biggest influences have come from the cinema, the world of music and the arts.
Certainly, growing up, they were my key influences. Those classic movies, the way the jazz greats dressed and the photography from the likes of Bailey all played a part in my defining and honing my style.
Sadly today, stylistically there is little to learn from a superhero movie, musicians – with few exceptions- have no clue how to dress, and fine photography has been undermined by technology.
That said, this can be circumvented. If you take Jake Grantham and his colleagues at Anglo-Italian, they all demonstrate a great sense of style but there again Jake is a student of Jazz, the cinema and Italian classicism.
For me it is not about dressing like an Italian Industrialist, albeit it’s a cute name for a column, it’s more about studying great cinema, the jazz greats and fabulous photography.
I agree David.
Did Luca Cordero become chairman of Ferrari because of his dress sense, or did that develop because he was chairman of Ferrari? Discuss.
Well, he was the protegé of Agnelli so he might have picked up a thing or two 😉
Personally I think his younger years were quite stylish as well (western denim shirts and aviators together with Nikki Lauda)
I think your point is a really good one, and I don’t think it is a coincidence that all of the Italian men shown come from quite old, wealthy families who were involved in the arts. For example, Agnelli was obviously a very important art collector and owner of quite incredible residences. John Goldberger comes from a family of art collectors and also worked as a professional photographer.
I have had a number of conversations over the years with my tailor Nicoletta Caraceni about developing taste and style. Her response is that her most elegant clients, who fit the Italian industrialist mold, tend to be the most curious and understand that good taste is something that is developed over a long period of time through appreciation and observation of arts and culture broadly.
I really appreciated this article, in Australia mens fashion has become so casual…perhaps it is the climate or just laziness. Jackets are for a special occasion, not everyday wear and work suits are diminished to a pin stripe or navy only and almost entirely off the rack. There’s this uniformity and cloning thing that I detest.
There is something really beautiful about a relaxed subtle style and these outfits really demonstrate this. Maybe I might add, I still really enjoy the nuances and personal selections made by a man. That make the outfit truly their own, otherwise it could all fall into the same blight we have here. Great article further reinforced by excellent visual examples.
Andreas has always been one of the best dressed subjects of the internet menswear circles. I completely agree with his opinions on the industrialists‘ look and their “whispering” style. I think this is one of the most enduring styles of the entire #Menswear canon and is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.