Italian men are well-known and respected for their tailored menswear and colourful suit separates, and their seemingly effortless ability to incorporate stylish dress shirts into these ensembles is no fluke. The art of pairing tailored shirt separates with existing garments requires creativity, fashion knowledge and deliberate intent that only appear impressively passive.
The Art of Dart Placement
Italian male fashion is synonymous with tailoring and is never sloppy. In order to achieve a timeless slim silhouette, back darts are often used in dress shirts. Darts are folds of fabric that are flattened and sewn down along the back of the shirt to improve the shirt's fit.
Italian men are known for mixing rich colours together for a bold impression, and this holds true for their dress shirts as well. Wearing a complementary shade under a bright blazer is a common method of adding vibrancy to an overall look, but colour-blocking trends let dress shirts stand on their own. Colour-dipped hems and geometric prints give extra dimension and visual interest.
A brightly coloured pocket square or lining is a traditional Italian staple in menswear, and it serves as a well-placed accessory for many jackets and blazers. These colourful squares are gaining placement on regular dress shirts, thus adding another layer that lets the shirt either stand-alone visually or complement contrasting ties and accessories.
A closet full of fitted T-shirts and dress shirts in classic colours such as cream, warm grey, navy, cobalt and black are essential for versatility in outfits. These are easily and stylishly placed under brightly coloured suits and blazers, and they balance printed suit pants or trousers in primary and offbeat shades.
Modern premium fabrics like chambray, silk and cotton make ideal textiles for dress shirts, which should provide both comfort and versatility. Italian clothing is structured, but that doesn't imply it is uncomfortable to wear. Ease of wear is a hallmark in achieving luxurious style.
Small details like rolled-up sleeves or buttons left casually undone can greatly affect the mood of an outfit, and this is used to the Italian man's advantage. By layering dress shirts over T-shirts and under blazers or jumpers, the shirt is given multiple opportunities to showcase different styles.
While excellent fabrics, seam placements and colours can make a man's shirt, it's up to the man who wears it to wear it with style. As Scott Schuman, the mastermind behind The Sartorialist, explains, "Why people react to Italian style is the grace with which these gentlemen inhabit their clothes.” Fashion is far more than a finely made garment, and therein lies the meaning of authentic Italian style.