effortless style - Korheg
It is one of life’s great paradoxes that ‘effortless style’ requires a fair bit of effort. It is best explained by the Italian term sprezzatura which first originated in Baldesare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier.
A kind of self-help book for the upwardly mobile Italian aristocrat, Castiglione defines sprezzatura as ‘a certain nonchalance so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought.’
That ideal explains why Rennaissance era art and architecture looks so elegant, and why Italian men today are able to be stylish with (apparently) such ease. One need look no further than Italian style icons such as industrialist and former Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli or actor Marcello Mastroianni.
So what does it take to attain sprezzatura? Money alone is not enough. If that were the case, the streets would be full of elegantly dressed men.
Firstly, it requires a ruthless eye, which eliminates all superfluous decoration. Gaudy colours, bling watches, fabrics that shine and glimmer, anything which shouts ‘Me! Me! Me!’ are the antithesis of effortless style.
Secondly our clothes need to fit in such a way so as to make us appear as tall and lean as possible. If you’re having your clothes made, this is relatively straightforward. For everyone else, almost all of the tailored clothing we buy off the peg will need to altered in some way. Shirts that billow at the waist and trousers that hang half way down our derrieres are the most common crimes against style.
To avoid this fate we need to take our clothes to an alterations tailor. Shirts need to be ironed, shoes need to be shined, fingernails need to be clipped and our hair needs to be cut and combed neatly. Most importantly, we need to cultivate good manners – a strong handshake, interest in the conversation of others no matter how boring – these things press home the advantages enjoyed by the stylishly dressed man.
All of this requires great effort. The trick is to make it appear effortless. Over the next few weeks we will explore the detail of how to achieve elegance and style. How to tie your tie, the correct length for trousers, the correct fit for suits and how to mix and match colour and pattern.
It might sound like the fine details, but the details are what will change merely trying to be stylish into the real thing.

1 comment:

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