It's always great to attend Pitti Uomo.
Whether it is to catch up with other classic menswear enthusiast friends or to see what my favorite brands are going to launch next year, this biannual event has so far never failed to disappoint me.
Then, of course, it is also the perfect occasion to wear something more expressive and experimental than my everyday navy suits.
So in this first blog entry of the event, I'll be sharing with you all the outfits I've worn during my stay in Florence. Let me know what you think about them.
My first outfit for this Pitti takes a twist on the trend of safari jackets.
While a conventional safari jacket could be quite versatile in terms of being the appropriate outerwear for a Friday/ Weekend attire or a relaxed office dress code, it is still rather casual in essence. So this is what I wanted to change here.
By having the jacket cut in an English way with sturdier canvas and a strong (shoulder) roping, as well as choosing a more military-like olive shade fabric, the formality of the jacket instantly increases.
That doesn't mean it couldn't be dressed down, however, as exemplified in the picture above.
While the cream cotton/ linen trouser showcased in the picture brings back some summer vibes to the outfit, the mechanical owl lapel pin works to add a touch of playfulness to the whole ensemble.
Elsewhere, I should also emphasize that this pink shirt works particularly well here. Not only does it serve as a high contrast color to the olive green, but also it compliments my skin undertone.
Definitely seeing myself wearing this ensemble many more times.
Jacket by Whitcomb and Shaftesbury, Tie by Gentlemenclover, Lapel pin by Deakin and Francis, Hat by Lock & Co
Fast forward to the second day. Day 2 is about redemption.
This red jacket from Tai Pan Row (TPR), as shown in the picture above, has got so little love from me for quite a long time, especially considering I tend not to dress very 'peacock-y' anymore these days.
But it is a wonderful jacket regardless, since TPR’s level of craftsmanship is undoubtedly one of the finest in Hong Kong.
So given its lightweight nature (a 130s fabric from Reda in 260gsm), I decided to give this piece a second chance by pairing it with a pair of trousers that has a rather muted shade; namely this Natalino linen trouser which I have previously reviewed.
With extreme caution, I was able to avoid myself from looking like a Christmas decoration (say, if I pair the jacket with a darker olive like the previous one) or like one of those very 'colorful' gents wandering around the Pitti Plaza.
On top of that, I also tried to keep it as simple as possible by not wearing pocket squares. After all, you don't want to have too many colors when there's already one predominant vibrant color.
While the most elementary white linen hank might work in this scenario, I feel that its associated formality would be too much to pair with the Baudoin & Lange Sagans featured in the photo; especially since I went for a sockless attire.
But I know some of you may think it would be too empty when there's nothing accessorizing the area around the chest.
So as a matter fact, I decided to wear some silver jewelry that could counter the warmth of the jacket. A little bit unusual, but it works!
All in all, the end result was pretty satisfactory. It's not for everyone, but at least it's an example of 'how to wear bright color without looking too much like a peacock'.
Jacket by Tai Pan Row, Jewelry by Paolo Penko, Trouser by Natalino, Shoes by Baudoin & Lange, Hat by Lock & Co
Day 3 picks up the trail of the first day with more of that cream and olive colonial colors.
In case if you think the olive trousers share a similar shade with the safari jacket which I've worn for Day 1, that's because it is a part of the suit that Whitcomb & Shaftesbury had made for me. (Check out the article on the fitting process here)
The reason why I was wearing the trousers separately, nonetheless, was because they are a pair of ghurkas which works better by itself as a statement piece.
In any case, I'll be featuring more pictures on the safari suit itself in another piece. For now, let's move onto the outfit itself.
Elsewhere, with the choice of accessories, I decided to go for something more patterned than Day 1 while remaining subtle.
The tie showcased in the picture above is one that I picked up from Shibumi the day before.
Made out of a chocolate checked wool/silk/linen cloth from Lora Piana, this tie looks rather muted from a distance, but has a vibrant orange shade as well as a blue undertone if you look closely.
So while the main body of the tie resonates nicely with the rest of the outfit, the orange hues also provide a great supplementing color to the olive shade of the jacket.
Finally, I topped it up with a tan kimono silk pocket square that is also from Shibumi. It has a slight orange hue as well, so it does a great job in bringing out the tint of orange from the tie.
In any case, I suppose I managed to take the 'compliment your hank with the tie' from mensstyle guidebooks to another level.
Jacket from Suitsupply, Trouser by Whitcomb and Shaftesbury, Accessories by Shibumi, Shirt by Boggi Milano, Hat by Lock & Co
Finally, Day 4. The final day of my stay in Florence is also the hottest day of the week.
Sunny and reaching as high up as 38°C, there is certainly no better outfit than a full cream suit that could allow you to deflect all that UV rays from head to toe.
But instead of wearing the cotton/linen double-breasted suit that you have already seen, I chose to give this Suitsupply MTM suit I've made a while ago a second chance.
Despite having a rather imperfect silhouette (something I have previously addressed in the reflection article), the jacket is now more wearable especially after I have my wonderful tailors at Whitcomb & Shaftesbury to redo the buttonholes.
Needless to say, this undoubtedly made the suit more versatile, like what I originally intended.
With regards to the outfit itself, it is a twist to what you would usually wear with this iconic shade.
The truth is, even though cream can't go wrong with blues and browns, it gets repetitive and boring after a while if you go for that combination frequently. So in this case, I decided to challenge myself by incorporating more advanced colors.
By taking inspiration from the aesthetic of a British summer garden party (lilacs blossoming at Kew Gardens is what I have in mind), I added a pop of purple accessories to the ensemble.
Unusual yet still elegant, this outfit may perhaps serve as an example of 'how to wear a cream suit in a less colonial way'.
Suit by Suitsupply MTM, Shirt by Turnbull & Asser, Tie by Drake's, PS by Shibumi, Lapel chain by Paolo Penko, Shoes by Baudoin & Lange, Hat by Lock & Co
Overall, I hope what I wore during Pitti could inspire you all on how to wear classic menswear in more unusual colors, without crossing the boundary to become a peacock.
In any case, there will be other articles on the event coming up soon. Please look forward.
Photography by The Suitstainable Man Team, Nico Kim, and Christian Vierig of The Styleograph