Sprezzatura is an Italian term often used to describe a man’s style, referring to the ease and confidence he exudes when he is comfortable in his skin, and in his clothes. The true location of style is hard to pinpoint, which is why sprezzatura is as much about simply being yourself as it is about the actual clothing that you wear.
Think of the nonchalant cool of style icons from the 50s and 60s like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, James Dean, or Steve McQueen. Always well put together, but somehow without looking too “by the book,” these guys personify effortless, elegant style.
Sprezzatura has long been synonymous with the elevated, yet playful style of European menswear afficionados. And nowadays, it may be applied to the sartorial style of those athletes, actors and musicians who embrace classic menswear and make their own—Victor Cruz, David Beckham, George Clooney, Benedict Cumberbatch and Pharrell Williams all spring to mind.
But really, it’s not just some rarefied exercise in fashion, and today there is room for the gent on the street to express his own sprezzatura. In fact, it’s easy. All a guy needs to do is choose articles of clothing and accessories that speak to him, and stand apart from the safest and most basic options. Not because those more traditional choices are bad, quite the opposite! The charcoal suit, the oxford shirt, all those wardrobe essentials are the foundation upon which an individual style is assembled and expressed.
Maybe all it takes is a loosening of the tie, or a brightly colored pocket square that’s thrown in the pocket instead of folded just so. Maybe you’ll layer a boldly patterned vest under your solid colored suit, or wear an expressive shirt and tie combo whose colors you find appealing.
There are dozens of ways to discover your own sprezzatura, and you’ll know you have it right when you feel good in your ensemble. When you feel like yourself.