Loro Piana and Citified Casual

Much of classic men’s style is divided into country and city clothing. Country being things such as Shetland wool sweaters, heavy tweed jackets, and ribbed corduroy trousers. Outerwear includes waxed cotton coats, sometimes with game pockets, and shoes are made from pebble grained leathers and often feature brogueing. Whatever its many expressions, the spirit is always rustic casualness. 

On the other side is city. Here we have everything from the sharp pinstripe suit to the more casual, soft shouldered sport jacket worn with a pair of odd trousers. Coats include cotton trenches and wool Chesterfields, and shoes are often oxfords made from smooth calf (brown or black, depending on your religion). This side of the divide tends to be a bit more formal. 

These are all very lovable things, but sometimes a country look can seem out of place in the city, and even a sport jacket can look too dressed up. What if you need something more casual than unstructured tailored wear?

One alternative is what I’d call citified casual. It’s a look that many Italian companies, particularly Loro Piana, do well. Here we have more use of cotton chinos and slip on shoes such leather loafers or suede driving mocs. Shirts can be made instantly more casual by making them a bit bolder. A regular Bengal stripe shirt, for example, can be made stronger if it uses a darker shade of blue. Or, for light blue, the pattern can be made more striking if the stripes are widened and made thicker (e.g. a butcher’s stripe). 

Perhaps most essentially, casual outerwear pieces take the place of sport coats. In the spring, this can include shirt jackets and cafe racers; in the fall, there are four-pocket field jackets and belted safaris. These can be made from cotton, linen or wool, as well as the tech-fabrics that many Italian companies make use of. 

Loro Piana often features such citified casual styles in their lookbooks. Even if you can’t afford their clothing, they’re nice to flip through for inspiration. Sometimes you need something appropriate to wear to city if you’re meeting a friend for brunch, going to the museum, or doing some other daytime socializing. Dressing like you’re about to go hunt for ducks or close a financial deal isn’t the most appropriate for such situations. 

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