You might not have heard of Pitti Uomo, the biannual Florentine trade fair that showcases the best in Italian and international men’s style, but chances are it’s had an effect on your wardrobe. What began in the 1970s as a low-key affair for fabric suppliers and textile specialists has turned into a grand cavalcade of dandyish style, demonstrated by a curious new breed that could fascinate even David Attenborough in terms of habits; the Pitti Peacock.
Traversing the thoroughfares and sipping an espresso macchiato just so, he is turned out in clothes designed to make a show; a suit in an impactful pattern, a coat worn on the shoulders (heaven forbid one puts it on) and accessories that pick up the attention of the awaiting photographers. The Pitti Peacock maintains sustenance from the whir of the lenses.
And while their style of attire is tricky to parlay into real life, there are some tips to take away for a touch of Florentine flair even if your daily life is more focused on Fulham.
Us Brits tend to rely on a traditional coat for winter, but Italian brands such as Corneliani prove that it’s worth towing a more relaxed line; costs come in a soft silhouette with rolled shoulders, relaxed fabric belts and loose raglan sleeves for a more modern stance.
Men traditionally pair a classic suit with a ‘smart’ coat, but lesson number 1 at Pitti Uomo mixes it up, marrying performance outerwear with traditional tailoring; a puffa jacket and swamping hood atop a suit, for example. And on the subject of suits, while the vivid checks and impactful stripes of Pitti might be a stretch for your average man, it’s worth experimenting with patterns beyond the standard pinstripe; a bold windowpane check or plaid will add a fun element. Pair with trainers too which will add a modern touch and look less ‘heritage’.
No Pitti Peacock is complete without the final shake on his tail feathers, his accessories. If Italians do one thing very well, it’s handsome accoutrements that despite their vivid tones and intricate patterns still manage to look masculine. A scarf in a shot of bright colour or even socks in rainbow hues will elevate matters.
I’m wary of venturing into the world of men’s jewellery - all too often it brings connotations of ageing Italian playboys - but a signet ring, particularly ones passed down through generations, as well as a discreet lapel pin, will shift a navy or black blazer up a gear with that Aperol Spritz at aperitivo time - preferably sipped from a rooftop bar as you drink in the Firenze skyline. Salute.