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Sartorial Know-how5 August 2020

12 Essential Items for an Italian Summer

In the first installment of his new column for Barròco, men’s style guru Lee Osborne, A.K.A. Sartorialee, lays down the markers for building a stylish, timeless summer wardrobe

No article on Italian menswear should begin without referencing that oft-quoted sartorial term sprezzatura – defined as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or say appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it”

But how do you go about assembling items in your summer wardrobe and look like you’ve subconsciously just thrown them all together? It is important to invest in quality items from the outset: classics crafted by artisans for a timeless longevity of style. Products so well made that you’d be proud to pass on to the next generation. 

Perfecting the art of separates is paramount – it’s not necessarily about the volume of clothes you have, but choosing items which work well together in a capsule wardrobe. Start by investing in a linen shirt – and I’m suggesting two different styles here which will transport you from beach to bar and all eventualities in-between. The key to it all is dressing-down traditional formalities.

On Sale
Large Stripe Linen Dress Shirt in Beige & White Large Stripe Linen Dress Shirt in Beige & White

Cordone 1956

Large Stripe Linen Dress Shirt in Beige & White

181126 (TaxFree: 103)

The first is a short-sleeved camp collar shirt – which can be worn to the beach in between swims and look stylish with tailored swimwear. Go for a neutral tone which will pair well with any repeat pattern swimmer. It will also look just as great tucked in for an impromptu alfresco lunch with a pair of linen drawstring trousers and espadrilles. The beauty of the camp collar is that it sits super nicely under an unstructured jacket (with the collar folded over the lapels) which will elevate your look for that elegant evening stroll along the corniche.

Alternatively, if you’re opting for a slightly more formal look, trade it up for a collared striped linen shirt – with the cuffs folded in a laissez-faire fashion over the jacket sleeves. You can even throw a tie into the mix just before you sit down to dinner, and dispense with it again for that sultry stroll back to the hotel. A knitted silk or grenadine fabric will work wonders, or if you’re game for something a little more playful a medallion or diamante repeat pattern to contrast with the more muted tones of your outfit.

Skylight Memories Double Face Silk Tie Skylight Memories Double Face Silk Tie

Stefano Cau

Skylight Memories Double Face Silk Tie

147 (TaxFree: 120)
Micro Striped Grenadine Tie – Navy/red/off White Micro Striped Grenadine Tie – Navy/red/off White

Stefano Cau

Micro Striped Grenadine Tie - Navy/red/off White

171 (TaxFree: 140)

As jackets go, you should err on the unstructured side – it remains smart but will ensure comfort is key in the extreme heat of the Italian summer – as it’s softer on the shoulder and not cut quite so close to the body. One of the key pieces for SS20 is the safari jacket which offers a stylish alternative to the classic tailored blazer. I particularly love a loosely belted khaki coloured safari. A pair of cream trousers are key to pulling the whole look together and will pretty much go with any other colour you decide to sport. With that in mind, it really doesn’t matter what colour the jacket is if it’s paired with more muted tones. If you’re a confident embracer of colour, think along the lines of teal, mustard yellow or burgundy, with wider lapels and patch pockets to make it feel less suity – the lighter the fabric the better, preferably linen or linen with cotton in the blend. All of these sit well with earthy tones so you can’t go wrong. If the jacket is worn over a camp collar I’d keep the pocket square plain white or cream (if at all), and upgrade it to something a bit more ornate for the evening.

On Sale
Military green wool & polyester Jacket with belt Military green wool & polyester Jacket with belt

Melillo 1970

Military green polyester & wool Jacket with belt

342308 (TaxFree: 252)
Cream Two pleats 150’s Trousers Cream Two pleats 150’s Trousers

Sartoria Corrado

Cream Two pleats 150's Trousers

226 (TaxFree: 185)

If I was to choose one pair of cream trousers I would opt for the Gurkha style waisted type with 2 pleats – because I think they look equally as good with a t-shirt as they do with a more formal shirt, tucked in to not only show off the high waistband, but your inner debonair. 

Blue Merinos Wool Sweater with chunky ribbed trims Blue Merinos Wool Sweater with chunky ribbed trims

Maglificio Fool

Blue ribbed trims Merinos Wool Sweater

275 (TaxFree: 225)

You could argue against the case for knitwear in an Italian summer, but the only type you’ll really need is to adorn your shoulders – as lightweight a cotton or wool as possible, and ideally a cable-knit to add texture into the mix. Alternatively a lightweight scarf in a bold zesty shade such as yellow or orange can add sartorial swagger to a plain linen ensemble.

As for shoes, stick to suede loafers or monk straps where possible as they’re less associated with business – not a word you want entering your vocabulary when you’re on digital detox on the Amalfi Coast – and definitely worn sans socks in holiday season. If you insist on wearing socks, make them super lightweight with a dandy shadow rib to complement your upper half.

Hickory Suede Double Monk Strap Oxfords Hickory Suede Double Monk Strap Oxfords

Calzaturificio Chiggio

Hickory Suede Double Monk Strap Oxfords

196 (TaxFree: 160)
Bresciani 1970 Cotton Socks in Purple Moss Bresciani 1970 Cotton Socks in Purple Moss

Bresciani 1970

Bresciani 1970 Cotton Socks in Purple Moss

27 (TaxFree: 22)

And you’re going to need a stylish bag to stow it all away in. I’m a big fan of the classic leather weekender as it can be carried by hand or slung over your shoulder in equal measure and is stylish to boot. Unlike its wheeled carry-on cousin (although these do have a place when you’re flying, but you’ll be doing that much less this year, right?) will not aggravate the locals as you tow it along the cobbled streets disturbing the peace. Don’t scrimp on this detail as a smart investment here will pay dividends ensuring the bag will age as gracefully and stylishly as the late Gianni Agnelli, the playboy of Italian style who sought after every moment as if it were his last – and whose sprezzatura has influenced sartorialists the world over ever since.

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