The Italian sartorial aesthetic is not easy to find on this side of the pond. The media usually portrays us as sloppy, overweight mobster heathens with a penchant for black shirts with long, pointed collars and sharkskin suits. Tony Soprano and the image below from Analyze That are two fairly solid examples of this.
While this caricature is obviously ridiculous, it is still a challenge to get an accurate portrayal of stile d’Italiano in America. Most of the men’s stores in the US that carry world-renowned Italian brands like Kiton, Isaia, and Borrelli sell a much different product than what is available overseas. While the fabric and impeccable make are always constant, the cut varies dramatically. Fortunately, Luigi Borrelli’s small UES boutique is the exception to the rule. Their fit is distinctly different from the brand’s other offerings throughout the city. This is always perfectly demonstrated by their knowledgeable and helpful staff. Yesterday, as I was walking to catch the subway I noticed David, pictured above and one of the aforementioned members of the LB team, standing in the shop’s entryway with a contrapposto that was as reminiscent to a 15th century Florentine marble sculpture as it was to the Italian shopkeepers that are standing in front of their store’s lining the stradas of Rome, Milan and Naples as I type this. David nails it all with this look. The color palate is perfect for the climate – it was sunny but windy with the temperature floating somewhere around 60. The tie and pants are short enough to whisper a statement but not so short to punch you in the face with it. The tie knot compliments the spread of the collar and width of the lapel flawlessly. Then there’s that cuff. It looks to be about 1 ¾.” I’ll never forget my father telling me that a 1 ¾” cuff and a four point handkerchief were two of the defining hallmarks of a Ciongoli man. He, like David and all those Italian shopkeepers I previously mentioned, knew the value of la bella figura. It’s high time the American men began to embrace it as well.