The phrase ‘Italians do it better’ holds a lot of truth, especially when it concerns menswear. Rome and Milan are known for ostentatious flamboyance; sunglasses seem to be standard uniform come rain or shine (the bigger the better) whilst the slicked back look is more in vogue than in vulgar. There’s a certain boldness about Italian style that demands our respect, and these fashion conscious gents have more front than Liberty at Christmas.
However, recent trends are leaving the Roman overindulgence to the mainland as this season looks towards Sicily – the southern island where glamour and subtlety go hand-in-hand. Forget the delightful crassness of the Versace clan, SS13 is all about stylishly sombre Sicilian chic.
Get The Look: Sicilian Style
The Masters: Dolce and Gabbana
Dolce and Gabbana’s advertising campaigns are often the epitome of Sicilian style. In fact, their recent AW12 campaign was based around the whole concept of the Sicilian lifestyle.
Shot in Sicilian village Erice by Mario Testino, the all-Italian cast is captured during typical family-orientated ‘moments’, providing the perfect example of the aesthetic we are looking to take inspiration from today:
The Palette: Monochrome
As proven above, Dolce and Gabbana are the founding fathers of Sicilian style. After successfully leading other labels down the same Mediterranean garden path, Givenchy, Fendi and Prada have all channelled the simple monochrome pattern for this season. Black and white tailoring has never looked so crisp.
Whilst bold prints and fabrics are very much on trend, Sicilian style is based around the Catholic congregation where muted tones and pitch black fabrics reign supreme. Counteract the humble hues with perfect fitting tailoring and accessories that strike the right balance between stylish and statement.
Regardless of your inclination for colour, black and white are the key hues when considering Sicilian style; if you don’t look part of an Italian family portrait from 1939 then you’re missing the mark my friend.
Key Technique: Tonal Outfitting
A slightly bolder, more contemporary take on strict monochrome can be achieved via tonal outfitting. Combining black tailored pieces with black shirts, shoes and accessories – in varying shades – can look incredibly sombre but is a true style statement.
However, the results of success are very much dependent upon the wearer. Paler members of our kind would do well to avoid this move at all costs – we want Don Corleone, not Marilyn Manson. If this is the case, look to incorporate creams, greys and whites in order to break up your look.
On the flip-side, the more Mediterranean in our midst (and the recent holidayers) should be able to pull off the all-black outfit extremely well. Regardless of your excuse for a perfect tan, I envy you and your good genes/spring holiday oh so much.
- Polo Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Oxford Shirt
- Jack & Jones Long-sleeved Rugged Marl Grandad T-shirt
- Topman Black Wool Skinny Suit Jacket
- Topman Black Niven Tux Suit Trousers
- Balenciaga Cotton Shorts
- Blue Harbour Pure Linen Grandad Collar Shirt
- Uniqlo Men Cotton V Neck Sweater
- Reiss Stoney Overcoat Black
- Asos Ribbed Crew Jumper
- Loyal Pleat-front Chino Trousers 147696
- Gucci Long-sleeved Wool Polo Shirt
- Margaret Howell Cotton And Linen-blend Twill Shorts
In Sicilian style, there’s no room for denim or canvas. The suit is just as integral to this look as monochrome, and the guidelines really are simple: adjust to your personal taste.
A genuine Sicilian outfit focuses on traditional tailoring paired with European workwear. For example, granddad collars and cotton button-down shirts work perfectly with slacks and a blazer. The result? A look that is classic, effortless and incredibly masculine.
A more formal approach would include a quality white shirt (a staple for any modern gent) and a heightened sense of smartness – think three-piece suits complete with a white pocket square, and don’t worry about going tie-less with the top button fastened. It’s a very traditional Sicilian move.
Such style editing is considered a little too conservative by many of our kind, so feel free to update the look with contemporary features: silk lapels, double-breasted buttons and cropped trousers are all excellent ways to inject a little modernity.
If in doubt, however, classic usually works best: don’t over-think it.
Once again, stick to monochrome. Brogues, Derbies and Oxfords are the perfect silhouettes, complete with minimal detailing and constructed of good quality leather or suede (for a modern, textured twist).
The sparse sunshine we’ve recently been gifted is a good indication that spring/summer is on its way, although unlike our Sicilian cousins, we’re not used to clumpy footwear in warmer climates. Bearing this in mind, feel free to experiment going sockless in loafers or looser driving shoes to maximise on comfort without compromising your style.
Converse (or any other type of casual footwear) is out of bounds I’m afraid – informal styles will immediately cheapen an otherwise impeccable outfit.
- Jetson Kg Kurt Geiger
- Rudkin Brogue Kurt Geiger London
- H By Hudson Tyska Tassel Loafers In Black
- Bass Weejun Larson Black Loafers
- American Apparel Mens Suede Buck
- Allsaints Merit Shoe
- Reiss 1971 Wolf Grey Tonal Lace Brogues Grey
- Grenson Ellery Grey Suede Monk Shoes
- Reiss Deck Slip On Summer Shoes Grey
- Grenson Dylan Suede Wingtip Brogues
- Oliver Spencer Officers Leather Derby Shoes
- He By Mango Leather Derby Shoes
The devil is always in the detail, and well selected accessories can really place your own stamp upon an understated look. Spruce up your monochrome with glimmers of gold (we’ve got to retain some sprezzatura, right?) in the form of cuff links, simple jewellery and collar pins.
If you’re capable of pulling it off, feel free to dabble in the bowler hat or that Dolce and Gabbana staple – the baker boy. Whilst some may see them as the sole reserve of Made In Chelsea defects, baker boy hats are incredibly classic. Aim for a more traditional black or grey format; anything with a remotely ‘modern twist’ should be condemned to the bargain bin. The slightest error when taking a risk can cheapen even the most expensive (both superficially and literally) look.
For those looking to take another big stylistic step, channel Steve McQueen and Hedi Slimane with some Dalston-friendly religious iconography. Donning crucifixes may not be for everyone, but it’s Sicilian through and through.
- Lanvin Silk Pocket Square
- American Apparel Mtp-1096q-1acasio Analog Leather Strap Watch Circa 1998
- Lovebullets Jasper Signet Ring
- Lovebullets Eagle Brass Head Ring
- Alice Made This Edward Brass Cufflinks
- Lanvin Solid Knot Cufflinks 142956
- Gold Barbell Collar Pin With Chain
- Silver Collar Pin Bar
- Luis Morais Ebony And Gold Cross Bracelet
- Grey Herringbone Bakerboy Cap
- Austin Reed Black Bowler Hat
- Topman Black Bowler Hat
So, do Italians do it better? Perhaps not on the mainland, but the subtle Sicilians are giving us Brits a real run for our money. Put down the prints and manage your monochrome ASAP for an impeccable spring/summer style.