To you, my dear British and Yankees inferiors, the Italian “Spezzato” means “unmatched jacket and trousers”. Some call it “the broken suit”. To be honest, if you really must translate this word, you should go for the “The Split”, because this is what spezzato really means in the context of style and fashion for men.
Google and you’ll discover the usual plethora of blog posts and articles covering this topic. Go ahead, help yourself: they will tell you that we, Italians, are artists of the spezzato style, they will give you 4-5-6 or even 7 little spezzato rules, they will talk about “being able to mix and match”, etc. etc. Verily I say unto you, however, that there isn’t any fashion rule when it comes to wearing “The Split”, really. The point being, the reason why, we – Italiani brava gente, have a word for it and you, yankees and Brits, don’t is because: una faccia una razza, pizza, pasta, mandolino. No seriously, we are just better at putting together colours, textures and patterns, that’s it. Why? Well, the answer lies well-hidden in plane view among the most recess corners of time, space, history and God’s will. So, don’t even bother looking for it, ye men of little faith. Just trust me on this.
There are no rules to the spezzato, but I’ll give you some guidance so you can use your own gusto and common sense to put together a good outfit, because remember: style must be personal. What you wear must reflect your personality, not mine. Here’s the deal: 1) don’t be an hero: use just one bright color, adjust the others. 2) Go for neutral colors, but pay attention to your particular skin tone and hair color and don’t complement the color of your outfit with your skin, hair or beard: create contrast instead. 3) The more casual each and every element of the outfit is, the more casual the combo. 4) It follows that you should avoid wearing a spezzato during formal events. 5) Spezzato is good for Fridays. End of the guidelines.
I’ll call it “Friday Split”, even though some say that the only decision you need to make on Friday is between bottle and glass. It seems to me like these sorts of people have it quite easy in their life, but also that their lives are extremely boring, to the point that they need to get boozed in order to forget about their week. I just drink to remember that I need to drink to forget. I work on Friday and even on Saturday and therefore I don’t have to make that difficult decision.
However, I do think that Friday is special and I dress especially for this day. You can’t always cut against the grain, after all. To me, a mixture between formal and informal works great during the Week-end because this is a transitional period of time and therefore it makes sense to infuse some syncretism in your outfit. That’s why I think that Friday is the ideal day for sporting a spezzato.
Let’s start form the center piece: the jacket. This is a Tombolini made in wool, with two-buttons, flap pockets and notch lapels, the color of Payne’s-Grey. Sporty, ain’t it? Notice the unstructured shoulders. I can pull them off because I’m broad shouldered, but if you aren’t, go for padded shoulders otherwise you’d look a tad ridiculous. Even though we are dealing with an off-the-rack jacket, it was tailored to better suit my measures by my friend Marian Vitel.
The five-pockets are a pair of Tolopea-Blue Wranglers made in 98% cotton, the rest is elastane. If you use a pair of unmatched suit trousers instead, the same combo would look much more formal than this.
The shirt is a cotton masterpiece in blossom pink by Marian Vitel. This element is very formal indeed: classic Italian collar, mother-of-pearl buttons, no pockets, no buttondown.
The shoes are a pair of semi-squared pointed Derbies by Melluso Calzature in Muddy Waters brown, with classic perforations on the tip and sides, notice they are properly laced with Burgundy shoe laces.
The driver cap, which I bought from Mosca 1954, is also made in wool, the color of El Paso-Grey. It’s getting frisky in Rome.
Now for the necktie: this is obviously an awning Tie by Tie Shop Rome. However, don’t waste your time searching for it online: it’s out of production because they usually sell limited edition neckties. This one is made in silk, the main color being “Resolution-Blue”, the secondary being “Cruise-Blue”. The knot is a four-in-hand, like it should be. Notice how the stripes proceed from the left shoulder and cross the chest towards the right, this means the style is actually American. Curious, I know, but I like it like that. I would have supported the Americans during their war of independence against the English crown, so I think that it is ironic to find myself wearing an Italian regimental necktie that is quintessentially British in its origin but American at heart, that’s why I bought it. Remember: if you buy your clothes for reasons like this one you will always be original.
Let’s go to the pocket-handkerchief now, this is also from the Tieshop in Rome. As you might have already noticed, the main color is Plum and the secondary is Perano-Blue. Also you can see that there are pin dots on one side, but stripes on the opposite side. I combined to two patterns by placing it inside the pocket in a multi-pointed fold. Notice how I picked the pocket-handkerchief wisely (yes, I do wise things from time to time but it’s accidental): its colors go well with the necktie and the shirt, but they are not the same colors.
Ok, devilish details now: the leather belt is also from the Tie Shop and you can see its shade is very close to the color of the shoes, and the leather strap of the watch. Actually, the wristwatch is a vintage Omega from the late Fifties of the last century.
As you should know already, although you are NOT supposed to match the pocket-handkerchief with the necktie, you actually ARE supposed to try and match the color of any leather items you are wearing with one another. If it’s not exactly the same shade, fine, but don’t wear a black belt over brown shoes, or vice-versa.
I feel extremely generous because it’s Friday, but don’t take me for granted! Never take John Cravatta for granted, whatever you do. You will regret it when I’ll come to power…