How to dress for your date: The True Art of Sprezzatura

    The art of sprezzatura, is commonly defined as “a certain nonchalance, to conceal all art and make what one does or say appear to be without effort”. The term perfectly encapsulates the Italian man’s way of dressing through careful attention to detail and effortless execution.

    At the beginning of the 16th century, Baldassare Castiglione wrote “The Book of the Courtier”, a guide for gentlemen like himself on the art of understated sophistication. The popularity of this guide initiated a progression of etiquette and style. Castiglione stated that dressing effortlessly was just as important as looking good.

    We understand this style is easier said than done, so we have put together the key steps on how to master this look. Remember to keep things simple and try to let one article of clothing take the lead.

    Start with the right fit

    When it comes to style, the right fit is everything. The Italians pride themselves in wearing clothes that fit. If there is a gathering of fabric or if there is excess material hanging loosely, you will probably need to go a size down. Tailored jackets must fit almost like gloves, avoid looking ‘owned’ by clothes as this will make you feel awkward and will fake the Sprezzatura look.

    A slim fit should not be skin-tight, the fabric should just touch your body, giving a tailored look and leaving sufficient room for movement.

    Italian Shades

    Learn how to embrace colour. Perhaps the swagger of a Milanese in red trousers may not be your look, but try and introduce a few key colours that are right for you.

    Pairing colours that are slightly bold in shade with a traditional colour can look graceful and give instant personality to your outfit. However, do remember you don’t want to attract too much attention, so subtle clashes are always wise for a first date.

    Know the rules & bend them

    In the name of style, Italians bend, or even break, traditional fashion rules in favour of the outfit. Adapting the rules in the name of style is a craft in itself, and it involves being one step ahead of the trends.

    Take a look in the mirror, Does that blazer need a collared shirt? Maybe you need to half untuck the shirt? Should you wear shades only when it’s sunny? Think about how to eloquently manipulate these key details and add individuality to your look.

    Texture & Layering

    First impressions are crucial, fine details such as texture and layering in your outfit are subtly stylish and won’t go unnoticed.

    Instead of wearing an ordinary matt poplin shirt opt for a cotton piqué shirt that has an irresistible cushioned touch with its highly soft and breathable properties. Or, create a sense of depth to your total look by adding a luxurious cable knit zip-up in cashmere that is sensually soft and will add a tasteful lux appeal to your overall look.

    Accessorise like an Italian

    Integrate your look with expressive accessories such as leather gloves, woven belts and contrast scarves. Don’t go overboard but instead keep patterns and colours simple.

    Scarves are a great way to complete your look, as an outer layer you can be more adventurous with colour and contrast textures. Their use is advised not only during winter but also in warmer seasons, using linen or silk variants.

    Embrace your inner confidence

    When looking at street style in Florence or Milan, you’ll notice that the Italian man wear the clothes, the clothes don’t wear the Italian.

    The key to impressions is to exude confidence, remove your ego and be willing to make mistakes. A display of natural charm will carry your outfit even further.

    Where to take your date

    When it comes to creating a memorable evening, it is important to choose the right location for your date. The venue should have the right atmosphere and be sophisticated yet not obvious.

    For example, one restaurant we love in London is Luca, not only because of their familiar name. It has become one of the most talked about places, renowned for the perfect balance of intimacy, seductive dishes and electric atmosphere.

    Luca Restaurant, Clerkenwell London

    There are two separate areas for booking, depending on the atmosphere you are going for: the bar is vibrant and fun with an aperitivo style menu which will make the date more relaxed. The main restaurant, however, offers a more traditional and formal atmosphere with a full-course Italian menu and top-notch service, the perfect environment to share a romantic meal. The overall style evokes a timeless sense of design that resembles a fashionable restaurant in Milan, acting as a perfect match for your Sprezzatura look.