The Italian fashion terms we need to know

Every time someone mentions Italy or Italian men, a stylish image is formed in everyone’s mind. Certainly, the roots of Italian fashion go way back, the great detail to men’s fashion of Italian celebrities was represented in Hollywood that fully propelled Italian style onto the global stage.

The movie industry was drawn to Italian sunny climate, blue sea and relatively low costs of filming, and Cinecittà studios in Rome became an international hub, the city itself acting as an open-air movie set, with beautiful cars, red Vespas and gentlemen wearing tailored Italian suits everywhere.

Films like Roman Holiday and Cleopatra proved huge hits. The whole world started to see Italy for more than just the beautiful landscapes, it was admired as the fashion, style and how Italian men beautifully carry themselves.

Quality textile and sartorial expert has always been in thrall to Italian fashion. Italy has given some very interesting fashion elements to the menswear, some of the names of the elements have the Italian name all over the world. So, it’s worth mastering a few choice phrases to navigate the dapper men’s sartorial landscape.

Spezzato

Spezzato: broken suit with black jacket and gray pants

Directly translated as “broken” and means “separates” when talking about fashion. Spezzato (often translated as “broken suit“) is two or more clothing items worn together despite not matching, like a double-breasted jacket from a suit paired with jeans.

The word is spiritually related to sprezzatura. Mix and match, basically, but with a little more attention given to how the looks are playing off each other to create a single exciting look, but of course without seeming carefully studied.

Sprezzatura

Sprezzatura

Sprezzatura, a kind of “studied carelessness”, “careful negligence” or “effortless ease”. The particularly Italian mode of fashion nonchalance or artful dishevelment. It is a way to describe the art of looking like you don’t care.

Generally, the term is used for men with impeccable taste in fashion and carry themselves with ease. Putting together a look more semi-formal – unstructured jackets, tailored trousers, textured fabrics, knitted rather than silk ties – or maybe no tie, easy layering – and the whole ensemble usually looks almost distressed.

Su misura

Taking measurements for a "su misura" suit

Directly translated as “made-to-measure” or “custom-made”. This word is important to know if you love the Italian style (you should also know the difference between ready-to-wear, made-to-measure and bespoke men’s clothing as well). Anything that is custom made for you will be built specifically to your measurements – it’s about individuality.

Getting your garments according to your specific measurements and customising different elements. We have always wondered why Italians look so dashing, now we have the answer – su misura.

Sartoriale

A tailor is sewing a waistcoat "sartoriale"

The word means tailor or tailoring house. It evokes a tradition, skill, and elegance: these elements are the essence of all Italian handmade tailored menswear. Italians are known for their attention to detail and Sartoriale menswear garments are the highest form of quality.

You shouldn’t have to go through life wondering what it’s like to have clothes that fit you perfectly or own clothes that give you an identity – that is why the word Sartoriale should be in your everyday fashion dictionary.

Spalla a camicia

Jacket detail: "spalla a camicia"

If your suit jackets to look like a pure luxury this word is surely for you. The Spalla Camicia, when done right, is sown by hand, which creates a dimpled effect in the shoulder and allows the fabric to flex. It features a distinct bunching within the shoulder seams of the jacket.

This bunching is created by inserting a larger sleeve head into a smaller chest piece. This allows the wearer a great range of arm motion. In the tailoring world, it is considered a status symbol. It features a distinct bunching within the shoulder seams of the jacket.

Barchetta pocket

Barchetta pocket

“Barchetta” means “small boat” in Italian. Patch pockets “a Barchetta”, they are a small boat like patch pockets on the chest of your jacket, one of those features on an Italian tailored jacket which makes it very special. This kind of pocket takes longer to sew and requires maximum care in executing the finishing detail, the end result is very charming.

Tasca a pignatta

Tasca a pignata

The Tasca a pignatta Pocket is considered to be a tailoring detail exclusively from Italy. The lower pockets are usually patched pockets called ‘tasca a pignatta’ and have a very distinctive shape. Tapered sides with a rounded bottom similar to a brandy glass (roughly the word tasca a pignatta is translated as the pocket of a cooking pot). These pockets add a personality to your jackets and blazers.

Solaro suit

A Solaro suit

Let’s keep aside the fact that the Solaro fabric has British origins, but in the present world the Solaro fabric has stuck its identity more as an Italian style classic in men’s cloth Italians are particularly fond of Solaro suits, as they embody perfectly the Italian sprezzatura with the relaxed, casual, and slightly impudent look provided by the semi-iridescent cloth.

It’s not uncommon to spot distinguished, elderly Italians wearing Solaro suits, whether they are businessmen riding a bicycle in Milan, or classy gentlemen from Italy savoring espresso at a café while reading a newspaper.

Sfumatura

It means gradations of color shifting from one end of a fabric to another, as from pink to orange or red to blue. The word derives itself from an old Italian extraction technique of the same name, using sponges to pull essential oils from citrus peels. In fashion, it has progressed similarly, ever so gradually, shade by shade, until you’ve arrived at an entirely different color at the other end of the attire. It should be subtle and effortless.

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