If you keep your interest in style trends under wraps because you don’t want to be seen as a peacock, adopting the Sprezzatura way of life is a solution you’ll embrace.
Sprezzatura, this effortless dress and lifestyle movement won’t require you to liquidate your stocks to invest in accessories, suits and grooming aids.
Instead, you’ll adapt your behaviours and dress code to effortlessly fall into an elegant, casual way of dressing and our guide can show you how to get there!
So, what is Sprezzatura?
In our opinion, it’s a state of mind, but if you’re parochial about the meaning of words, allow us to take you back to a time and place that not only prioritized civility but applauded taste and sophistication. The word was coined by author Baldassare Castiglione whose most famous work, “The Book of the Courtier,” became a prime example of Italian Renaissance literature around 1500 AD.
Castiglione’s thesis was uncomplicated and focused: Use proper manners and comport yourself in ways that give you an air of gentility, and society will label you a player. Adopting behaviours associated with becoming a Sprezzatura must become so internalized, he won’t give it a thought once it’s ingrained in your sensibilities.
Sprezzatura is the art of nonchalance. Whether it’s the way you dance, dress, speak or behave, the style you develop must reflect the effortlessness with which you’ve revised your dress code and manner. Adoptees of this philosophy turn into the guy everyone wants in their company because you’re relaxed, stylish and quintessentially cool.
Is perfection required to join the Sprezzatura movement?
Hardly! It’s imperfection you must strive for because if you pursue perfection, that’s the antithesis of Sprezzatura. Striving to be perfect thwarts any chance you may have of achieving this state of mind and lifestyle, and if you need specific examples to help you adopt this mindset, we’ve got you covered.
- Achieve Sprezzatura by cultivating styles of dress that make you look rakish and powerful.
- Wear your quirky stylistic leanings like badges of honour, showing the world that you’re neither self-absorbed nor self-conscious.
- Re-define the meaning of fastidious dress in your circle by pairing unlikely statements: a suit matched with hiking boots can tell your story.
- Find creative ways to dress to the nines while rejecting elitist dress codes that appeal to lemmings.
- Never let age be a barrier when the Sprezzatura spirit moves you. Own your look; don’t allow it to own you!
Rules of the Sprezzatura Road
Will you go out on a limb if you adopt this way of dressing and acting? That’s your goal. Sprezzatura can present risks, but your talent for absorbing risks is going to be enhanced thanks to your new style and outlook.
- Prepare to suffer the occasional dress faux pas as you earn your Sprezzatura wings.
- Train yourself to self-edit. Stick with the tried and true when society requires it and let your individuality shine once you’re free of social or work obligations.
- Be discreet. Over-the-top colours, accessories and looks are counter-intuitive. You’ve got a reputation to uphold.
- It’s okay to put your own spin on things – as long as your attempts are tastefully original.
- Don’t be surprised if you find yourself being copied. Wear that flattery as a badge of pride, too. Then, change your look to keep up with new trends!
10 Tips for becoming Sprezzatura royalty
Acknowledge the fact that Sprezzatura is anything but static. Fashion, attitude and looks can change with the wind, so staying alert for breaking trends is essential to your wardrobe and your success. Make this phrase your mantra: Never try too hard nor seek attention while acting the innocent. Keep reading to complete your Sprezzatura orientation.
1. Always implement Plan B
We’re referring to buttons and buckles, of course, and while we don’t want you to get rid of either, there’s a way to wear both while sticking with your personal dress code. Suit and jacket coats? Unless you’re in court, keep them unbuttoned so you can show off whatever happens to be hiding beneath. We’re talking ties and shirts. This isn’t your invitation to become an exhibitionist.
2. Flaunt your stuff
You know the look women get when they see guys who have it together? Do everything you can to earn that look based on the way you accessorize. Rings, sunglasses, fashion-forward wristbands and undone cuffs show the world that you’re so cool by nature, even Mother Nature would applaud.
3. Make your footwear a shoe-in
As long as you’re not leaving your high-priced shoes in your wake because you’ve left straps unfastened, adopting this look will improve your image. Just don’t jingle when you stroll because you’ve left buckles flapping in the wind. Leaving shoelaces untied? Until the day it’s fashionable to do so, tie those laces to avoid tripping.
4. Tie one on
If Sprezzatura adopted one international symbol that required no translation at all, it would be the necktie. To knot or not to knot? That question is yours to answer. Which knot tying style represents your version of Sprezzatura? Make it the most creative one in your repertoire and if you must undertake a tie tutorial, so be it.
5. Size matters
We’re still on neckties, so get your brain out of the gutter. Standard tie protocol requires the tie to fall just above the waist, but to qualify as a Sprezzatura, that tie needs to be longer. If you make a mistake and purchase a tie that’s so long, it points to your family jewels, better tuck it in for the sake of propriety.
6. Become a black belt
Or a brown belt if that’s your colour palette. Guys styling the Sprezzatura look wear belts that are about a size larger, so the tip of the accessory hangs down a bit. You understand “a bit,” right? If you’re hot to point out your crotch by using your tie as a guidepost, you risk cancelling any Sprezzatura cred you have earned.
7. Jeans and a suit coat? Yes, please
Admit it: the first time the woman in your life spotted a dude wearing jeans, a dress shirt, tie, jacket and fashion-forward accessories at a formal event, you vowed to adopt the guy’s style. Elevate the mixing of casual and formal to an art form–and let her help you achieve your goal.
8. It’s okay to be a fabric fan
You already know your way around designer labels, but fabric? Not so much, you say. Take a page from the Sprezzatura playbook: Learn by instinct which materials are right for casual looks (silk; cotton; linen) and high-end textiles (wool; cashmere; alpaca). Forget you ever heard the word polyester.
9….and a pickpocket
Translation: pick that pocket square out of your jacket pocket or you’d be branded as a traitor to the Sprezzatura movement. Must you throw your collection of pocket squares out? Of course not. But turning a pocket square into art is verboten. Make it look like you shoved it into your pocket as an afterthought because that’s how you roll.
10. Turn your grooming habits upside down
Are you perpetually late? Time to celebrate. Being an official Sprezzatura stud requires you to be equally nonchalant about your grooming. Wait until you see how much time you save by growing sexy stubble and/or adopting a carefree or long hairstyle. While you’re at it, develop a swagger. You’ve earned it.
This is a guest post by Kelsey Davis, Editor at The Lux Authority – an online portal bringing readers stories about fine products or extravagant getaways.
Related reading: How to Avoid Falling Prey to Fast Fashion.