Sprezzatura

They do it in New York. They do it in London and Berlin. And they do it in Italy. Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples: this Fall men are wearing quilted vests over their suit jackets.

Although quilting is an old style of clothing making, the modern quilted vest was an innovation of the 1960s, invented by an American expat living in England. An item which quickly gained popularity among the genteel English country set, it was picked up by the Italians.

It took a man of true style--sprezzatura, or casual elegance, as the Italians say--to begin wearing his quilted vest not under, but over, his suit jacket. Gianni Agnelli, the CEO of Fiat from 1966 to 1996, who introduced us to so many hallmarks of Italian style--the unbuttoned button-down collar, the loafer or boot with a suit, the unbuttoned surgeons’ cuffs on a jacket--was that man.

Agnelli’s style was based on expedience--he famously wore his watch OVER his shirt cuff so he did not waste time pulling his shirtsleeve up. The quilted vest was the perfect insulation for his visits to the shop floor, layering against the chill while keeping his arms unconstricted. The casual mix of sporty and sophisticated shocked his compatriots at first, but soon they were following his example.

Our vests come from Waterville, a small Italian company in Sequals, a little town between Venice and the Alps. Layered over a Southwick jacket or Samuelsohn suit, they are the perfect thing for keeping out this late Autumn chill, with a touch of sophistication.

 

See you soon,

 

DW