31 July 2013

Italo-American Style

I like what many consider to be traditional American (particularly East Coast American) clothing. I find it flattering and easy to wear, and having grown up in Boston, I know it well. I also appreciate the kind of  roguish style worn by well dressed Italians. Being an American, and somewhat larger than thin, this style is a bit less forgiving on me. However, being of Italian descent and having seen enough old Italian movies, its attraction is not altogether lost on me. Good thing the two need not be mutually exclusive. i.e.:
At the beginning of Summer, I picked up a great pair of linen trousers. Never a big fan of solid navy trousers, these have changed my mind. They are replete with English and European details. The forward pleats are tres British, and the complicated but extremely well made system of closures and buckle tabs can only be Italian.  
Incotex, doesn't get much more Italian than that. Sold originally by Louis, Boston. The linen is thick and heavy, but breathes like gauze. The legs are cut full and comfortable. It's one thing to be all skinny and fashionable and wear clothes that are too tight, but it's kind of totally stupid to wear tight clothes in the heat. "Preppy" or "trad" as you may think I am,I have nothing but good things to say about clothes with a little room in them in Summertime.
The crazy orange jacket, as difficult as I once found it to wear, has become a regular player this Summer, more so even than the plaid madras. I never thought I'd see an orange jacket as an understated option, but somehow this one is. Seen here with a vintage 1980s Sero button down (as American as it gets) worn with two buttons open, no undershirt (pretty Italian, maybe even a pinch, dare we say, gauche?)
Made by Hickey Freeman for long gone F.R. Tripler in the early 1960s. Vintage American, "Ivy" even.
Vintage and modern, Italian and American. No good reason why they can't all play together. In fact, I think it's because the separate items don't really "belong" together that I enjoy an outfit like this so much. Men's clothing can be easy, because good stuff tends to go with other good stuff. Save the period dress up for Halloween parties, and remember, pigeon holes are for pigeons.

p.s. Many thanks to everyone who dropped by the soft opening last Saturday. I think I can safely put that one down in the success column. I look forward to seeing you all again when the Shop open full steam sometime within the coming weeks.

p.p.s. while there will inevitably Shop news and business talk here on the blog, I will try to keep to a minimum. It is my sincere intention to keep this blog focused on its original mission: offering advice to men of modest means as to how to dress well, and indeed live well, on a tight penny. Penury is not now, nor ever has been, and excuse.


Sal said...

You're repping University of Illinois, hard, with this Orange & Blue combo. I-L-L! I-N-I!

Boston Bean said...

I like to think that my solid navy ties (repp and knit) add a bit of Italian flair to my otherwise pure Ivy outfits.

Marc said...

There seems to be a general American opinion that American clothes are loose and European clothes are slim, but it's simply untrue. In Italy (and in old Italian films) predating the mid 60s, it's clear to see that clothes were fuller-cut, like almost everywhere else clothes were being cut at that time. English clothes aside from fashion trends and drawings, were also cut fuller and you can still get that cut.

I also read statements along the lines of "we Americans, being a bit bigger in the chest/ shoulders..". This is also a myth spread by the likes of Alan Flusser. It makes no sense anyway, since the genetic origins of all white Americans is European there can't possibly be a typified structural difference other than that caused by food intake. America has its fair share of 9 stone weaklings and short-arses. Europe has its share of well-built types.

Here in Benelux the three most commonly sold jacket sizes are 52, 54, 56, (equated to 42,44 and 46 U.S. sizes). It's true also for places like Germany and 50/52 are also widely sold in Italy. So please let us stop this business of 'small/slim European clothes'. The absence of a balloon seat and 60 inch waist on trousers does not make them 'slim'.

JMC said...

hogwash! we're all a part of this story and your advice isn't all that ground-breaking anyway. we read the blog as fellow travelers, and we have an interest in things you have an interest in. didn't blog readers invest in this store anyway? you better keep us updated. and please, stop apologizing when you post about it - we're interested, ok? we need more stories and less advice from the internet men.

if you want to give advice, have some workshops! (i emailed about that a while back).

Mason said...

I'm with JMC.

As a Midwesterner who isn't likely to make it Bostonward anytime soon, I say go ahead and pepper us with shop-talk. I would rather hear of your successes than guess at them.

Thanks again for the penny loafers.

Seth said...

Just a general comment... I've been following your blog for a year and always find your advice worth reading. I live in a small tourist town on the west coast where the only men who wear jackets or suits are the lawyers at the county courthouse. Around town and where I work, most men my age (mid-50s) wear baggy jeans and T-shirts, so my button down shirts and chinos are almost formal. Maybe the west coast is a little more casual than the rest of the country. Even when I go into the city, I aim for Tom Ripley on a good day or Dickie Greenleaf on a bad day. Smart, but not too smart.

Unknown said...

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