What is Sprezzatura?
Today, March 20, 2017, marked the end of Winter. The axial precession of this ball we call “home” floating in the abyss we call “The Universe” has completed yet another chapter of its book. It has shifted its perspective while continuing to ink the story of time. And much like the plot line of my favorite reality TV show, Black Ink Crew, it will raise the heat for this go around. So, let's look at some style elements that we can incorporate while clinging onto the dwindling colder days.
Living in Florida there is a frenzy that ensues over me when the number of the cold days we have remaining before summer dips below single digit. So, this past week, when we very likely got the last cold front we will see for months, I went all out. Like a crew member of a sinking ship, downing all of the whiskey in sight before breathing his last sweet breath, I lived it up. My closet was raided for the pieces I haven’t yet worn and pieces I could layer up. This outfit is one result of it.
For those readers who have not had the opportunity to live in the swamp the U.S. government calls Florida, here is a bit of insight. Many Floridians revel in those little sprinkles of “cold” we get eight days a year. “Cold” is in quotations because frankly our cold fronts are pathetic in the grand scheme of things. But hey, it’s all we got.
When it gets “cold” down here there is a buzz in the air. Strangers will go up and talk to each other about the upcoming cold front. Some chat about the cold front with disdain while others chat about it with glee. Guess which camp I fall into? It is definitely an occasion because a cold front means you can wear a three-piece suit without dying. It means you can actually layer and leave the house.
Well with this look, I layered and I left the god-damn house. I stepped out, not to immediately begin sweating and regretting every decision I have made in my life, but I stepped out to thoroughly enjoy life, sweat-free.
- Suitsupply Washington Fit Blue Wool/Silk/Linen Suit
- StyleBrewery Black and White Houndstooth Vest
- Trashness Burgundy Wool Knit Tie
- Trashness White Extreme Cutaway Collar Shirt
- Silver Horse-fly Lapel Pin
- Daniel Wellington Classic 40MM Bristol Watch
- Allen Edmonds Mora 2.0 Double Monks
Let’s cover the high-level details of this look before deep diving into the intricacies and why I made the choices that I made. Personally, Suit Supply offers a suit off the rack the fits me perfectly with absolutely no tailoring. Because of that, and their full lapels, I typically opt for them when going traditional. The shoes are from another favorite, Allen Edmonds. It is their Mora 2.0 double monk strap shoe which look perfect but have a pestering squeak to them. Hard being stealth in a quiet office when your shoes won’t shut up.
Now note the houndstooth vest, from StyleBrewery.com, which compliments the wool silk linen suit perfectly. This micro-pattern offers a nice balance to an otherwise heavily solid colored outfit. It is important to blend those fabrics and patterns to avoid looking too bland. If you’re uncertain about a pattern, it is always safe to experiment with a smaller sized pattern. The tie is a very heavy wool tie from Trashness. It is basically a mini scarf as the tie alone can provide a good amount of warmth.
Yes, that’s a horsefly as a lapel pin. With that said, I will use it as an abrupt segue into the concept of sprezzatura. Sprezzatura is defined many different ways, but basically it is studied carelessness. In this sartorial landscape, it is an ability to add undefined, non-traditional flair to an otherwise strict and to the book outfit. Sprezzatura is a mostly unwritten language, spoken among the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable of the men’s style community. The most important thing is to master the rules before you bend and break them. Pay attention to the details. Leaving the bottom button unbuttoned, adding a statement piece lapel pin or cuff links, or buttoning only a few of your functional sleeve buttons are just a few basic ways to show a bit of sprezzatura.
Mother Nature has left winter behind and as a result, I have to leave behind the heavier items from my spring/summer wardrobe. But this was a good look at some elements that can be incorporated during the cooler times of the year. So to my friends South of the equator in places like South Africa, Argentina, or Australia enjoy the beginning of your fall and winter for me. I’ll be living vicariously through your layered style photos as I sweat through what little clothes that I’ll be wearing for the next few months.