Italian lifestyle and fashion: The Italian Gentleman’s Wardrobe. A guide by Sartoria Carfora. Part 2, Summer
- WTI Magazine #162 Apr 15, 2023
After the spring solstice, the sun's rays in our hemisphere increase at an accelerating rate. This acceleration awakens the energy that was dormant during the long winter. In the streets, not only the green of the trees but also the gray of the buildings no longer look the same. Everyone can, somehow, feel it.
Regarding summer, it is fascinating to notice the great change in attitude towards the heat. The classic style has fought it by lightning fabrics and justifying less strict style rules. In today’s age of impatience, however, summer represents the most obvious case of suspension or abrogation of formal conventions, as it is considered legitimate to wear any garment or behave in any way that combats the temperature. Nothing wrong with that of course, but a gentleman shall not surrender to the heat at the expense of his style and elegance.
Below is a practical guide that we hope readers will find helpful.
Loose trousers (i.e. trousers that do not belong to a suit) to consider include nautical red canvas, chinos, at least one blue in linen, drill, and an ivory white in linen or hemp. For beautiful and relaxed days when you might want some color and a touch of flamboyant, nothing beats an outgoing boat-club blazer, with vertical stripes in fanciful contrasts. Much more wearable are blazers in shantung or Fresco 3ply or 2ply, with white or gold buttons. The tone of traditional blazers depends a lot on the buttons. If they are silver, they go well with both beige and gray, and in this case, tend towards informal. White ones require bright pants, so the jacket is more sporty and morning wear. Gold buttons give an air of escape, leisure time, and tend towards sporty with any combination. Among the sport jackets, keep in mind the linen one with colonial details, such as bellows pockets, central vent, and martingale, or the simplest in white cotton. These are items that are worn more often than you might think, and with the pleasure of pleasing.
The white linen suit requires a double-breasted chest if pure white and a single if ivory. Hemp, on the other hand, is advisable in three pieces. Its dirty, matte, and irregular white, with the neckline of the vest, gives an appearance between the dandy and the intellectual. Something fabulous, perhaps admittedly for a few.
At least a couple of shorts are essential for the beach or on a boat. The right length is that of Bermuda shorts, with a high waist and a good width at the bottom. The most versatile colors are crisp white to khaki to military green. The best material is drill, a top interpreter of martial fashions, but canvas also does an excellent job.
Recommended trousers are those in shades of gray, made of fine combed cotton or canvas, to be worn with either a blazer or just a shirt. As for the blazers, tropical plaid or plain hopsack ones are suitable choices. Seersucker suits or blazers are also an option. Single or double-breasted blazers in twisted three-ply ten-ounce fabric, respectively with silver or gold buttons, are stylish choices.
For travel, tropical suits in blue, gray, or dark brown with micro patterns are recommended. For a lighter and brighter look, a mohair suit in brown or bold blue is a good option. Linen suits in sand or tobacco colors, or even sky blue, are also a popular choice. Blue linen can be worn in many formal occasions and is a good investment, as it lasts long and becomes even more beautiful and fresher after a few years. Finally, white linen reminds of an aristocratic magnificence, being also relatively easy to wear.
Summer is notoriously a wedding season. Young people, especially at less formal ceremonies in the evening or in pleasant places, look fabulous in blue, and they can show off single or double-breasted mohair or fine combed suits in this solid color. For older individuals, gray is more suitable.
For work occasions, pinstriped suits in the same materials or fine combed suits with a gray or blue background, even with stripes in a different color than white, are appropriate. For the evening, the classic choice is a dark blue solid suit, perhaps enlivened by subtle motifs or barely visible stripes in the weave. However, a black suit in high-quality fine combed material is also an admired piece. Mohair suits work well, while linen and other cellulose fibers are better reserved for cocktail hour. A 2ply is a smart choice, as it works very well both at the office and at the dining table, if practicality is of essence. For black-tie events, a midnight blue or black mohair tuxedo is suitable.
Those with an international flair will appreciate a warm-weather white dinner jacket, which even if not much common anymore, looks more fantastic than ever. Go for white barathea or other ivory granular wool jackets with silk lapels or shantung jackets with unlined shawl collars. Fans of evening jackets can also indulge in the burma jacket, which first appeared in the 1930s. It is a beige colonial dinner jacket with lapels in the same fabric, in gabardine or sometimes in silk.