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Malaysian Men Should Steal These 5 Styles From Italian Gentlemen

From stocking up on pocket squares to refining your wardrobe’s colour palette, here’s how to dress like Italian men - the style leader on earth.

By Style Editor

'Sprezzatura’. It’s an interesting word — and one without a direct English translation. But the Italians was born into it, molded by it. From their inimitable eyes for styles, such as Pitti Uomo, to their everyday street style, the Italians know how to dress elegantly.

But how can we export this carefree, nonchalant style in Malaysia? With our typical humid and hot weather, it’s high time we turned to the Italians for some style inspiration. Here are the five fashion tips you should be stealing from Italian gentlemen.


Picture: Ermenegildo Zegna

1. Learn to refine your colour palette

Let’s start broad strokes; your wardrobe should operate within a restrained, refined colour palette. From your jackets to your shoes, you want to ensure that every one of your garments fits into the same family of colours. Greys, blues, beiges and sands are a good bet — ideal for stunning Italian style.

That way, when you slip on your Ermenegildo Zegna sweater over a pair of Boggi Milano chinos, and step into your Tod’s loafers, everything will match — even if you just wildly grabbed garments from your wardrobe in a morning rush. Now that’s sprezzatura.

2. Slip on a pair of loafers this summer

Speaking of loafers, is there any footwear more carefree and Italian than these leather slip-ons? Adding to that air of insouciance, these simple-but-stylish shoes are the perfect way to emulate the Italian way of dressing — especially if you buy a leather pair that will build up a characterful patina over time.

Granted, as staunch Malaysian we don’t wholeheartedly agree with the whole ‘no socks’ approach of the Italians, but we’d still suggest investing in a couple of pairs before summer. Go one lot in leather and one in suede for starters, before experimenting with wider colours.

3. Educate yourself in the art of the pocket square

Italians know how to accessorise. And, whilst we Malaysian pride ourselves on dressing sharp, no-one does it quite like the Italians. And that’s because — as with the rest of their style — they make it look effortless.

Exhibit A? The pocket square. Do away with the stiff, starched accessories of the British gent, and instead start amassing a collection of silky, loudly patterned squares. You want to add a punch of colour, not just a touch — and this is the Italian way. Buy a bold, brash square for every day of the week, and stuff them in your suit jacket with reckless abandon. Capisce?

Picture: Boggi Milano

4.  Relax your suiting 

An Italian suit is about as far from Savile Row as you can get. Unstructured, unbuttoned and frequently unmatched, the Italians take a very informal approach to formalwear. For us, suiting is about dressing up. To get the Italian look, you want to dress your suit down.

That means buying up separates in different colours — but nothing too avant-garde, if you’ll pardon the French. Go for navy or stone, and double-breasted never goes amiss. For trousers, you want pleats, linens and tapered affairs — look to Boggi Milano for inspiration.

Picture: Boggi Milano

5. Invest in more than one pair of sunglasses

As we touched on with pocket squares, the Italians have a real talent for accessorising. In fact, for the most part, their actual clothes seem to come second to these finishing touches. And, just as we advised you to invest in a whole storm of silken pocket squares, the same goes for your sunglasses.

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