Desi guide to La Dolce Vita

What Indian men can borrow from Italian gents

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Desi guide to La Dolce Vita

There’s a rakish insouciance about the way an Italian man tucks a pocket-square in his blazer. The word — ‘sprezzatura’ (Italian for studied carelessness) is perhaps the only word that comes close to documenting the Italian sartorial style. These hipster dandies never shy away from bling around their neck, nor rocking a jingle-jangle of pinks, oranges and reds from head-to-toe. However, what are the key lessons which Indian men can borrow from these dapper men — well, to begin with, it’s all about dressing for yourself and not aping an entire runway look. More importantly, having fun with clothes and accessories and evolving one’s own personal style. You may have all the swag in the world, but it’s not noticeable if you haven’t upped your style game. We get some menswear experts to comment...

Italians value individuality 

Che Kurrien, Editor, GQ India observes that Italy is home to so many family-owned businesses, which export textiles and leather goods across the world. Italy doesn’t just export a product but an aesthetic. “Most Italian men value individuality and owning one’s own style. It’s never about being perfect. There’s carelessness along with elegance. One can’t break rules until one masters them and that’s true of any art form — be it business or life. The Italian sartorial style is never forced and never styled. The concept of having a stylist is alien to them.”  

Che also adds that their style is very masculine at the end of the day — be it the unbuttoned tux or the jacket collars popped up.

Shape up 

Designer Gaurav Khanijo of label Khanijo suggests that being in shape is definitely going to make you look sharp, something to learn from the Italians. “You don’t need to have a model’s physique, but sure your waist should not exceed your chest size. If you’re 40 on chest, anywhere between 32-38 will still give your suit a good shape. The moment your chest and waist are equal its a definite red sign. If that happens, it’s better you don’t use terms like — ‘slim fit or ‘Italian cut’,” cautions Gaurav. 

One thing Italians are very confident about is their alchemy-like ability to mix and match the colours.

Play with colours 

Sandeep Gonsalves, co-Founder, SS Homme says, “The ground rule is to use your accessories diligently in order to get the correct style. Tweak your blazers with a different cut or a different style. Shy away from the two button suit and shift to a double-breasted suit. Get rid of solid dark colours, try fresh lighter shades and more experimental colours. Also, add linens and cottons to your wardrobe.”

Khanijo suggests 

Do not match your tie colour to your pocket square. (Invest in ties and pocket squares, they go a long way)

Try vibrant socks if your suit is all solid.

Invest in a natty pair of shoes, they always make or break your style. Brogues, tasseled loafers, monk straps are all available in India.

Keep the accessories limited, too much of everything can end up looking too forced, if you’re wearing a brooch, skip the pocket square and vice versa.

The width of your lapel is something which is important, it has to match up to the proportion of your chest size and your height. Personally, I’m a big fan of wide peak collars and a double breasted jacket.

Also, invest in accessories like bracelets, it looks beautiful with the suits and jackets.

Trousers are so important when it comes to your style. The vintage pleated ones will never go out, the classic Italian style of belts, turn ups on the bottoms, even shorts can be pleated. Also, opt for chino trousers, especially in ivories, oatmeals, olives and other earthy shades, you can pull off different colours of jackets with the same.

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