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Italian Denim


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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Italian Denim

As Americans we treat our denim shirts almost like jackets or overshirts. We wear them open over swimsuits or big and loose with shorts. Nothing wrong with that, and J. Crew is making a killing on that idea right now. However, the other way of working denim is the Italian way - super slim sexy denim shirts. They are almost always darted or seamed and worn with that Italian flair that reads formal and casual at the same time. I'm not saying which version is better, but just highlighting options.

Comments on "Italian Denim"


Blogger Monika Poppy said ... (5:41 PM) : 

they both look so italian



Blogger JFK Jean said ... (5:43 PM) : 

Very crazy that you mentioned this b/c I'm actually wearing a denim shirt w/ red/navy knit tie, skinny jeans and tan loafers. Its awesome how many different ways and how versatile this item can be for males. Eat your heart out ladies!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:48 PM) : 



Blogger Ghostboy said ... (5:50 PM) : 

Those shirts are pretty amazing-looking! A far stretch from the stiffly bleached ones from the 90s, I truly like them, especially paired with khakis.


Blogger R4TH said ... (5:50 PM) : 

these guys may have been watching too many american movies


Anonymous Style Scanner said ... (5:50 PM) : 

Good God that second look is amazing. There's a whiff of 70's manliness to the shirt which the neckerchief counters beautifully. Perfect.


Anonymous Cassiopeia said ... (5:58 PM) : 

so handsome!


Anonymous Antonio Barros said ... (6:03 PM) : 

They look great!


Blogger andres delgado said ... (6:04 PM) : 

Like almost everything the way to wear depends on the mood, flair, body type etc and all can be done with style. None the less I consider this way a more sleek, tailored way, I have a denim shirt that i just started re-using because i used to feel denim shirts looked too 90's, this makes me think I'm on the right path.


Blogger JadeRose said ... (6:15 PM) : 

ahh the italian man...he can either get it so very right or so very wrong. On this occassion I am going to say it works well :)


Blogger Bookworm said ... (6:21 PM) : 

I love that look! Very elegant!


Blogger Erik Hoff said ... (6:26 PM) : 

Denim and khakis-never thought of that, but it looks like it makes sense.


Blogger hi-d said ... (6:40 PM) : 

With a slender build as his, I think this look works!


Blogger theTrendyDwarf said ... (6:46 PM) : 

I agree with you Sartorialist so much! I actually prefer it the Italian way much more than the layered American way and I think that is just my Italian side kicking in to my sense of style. I love the first picture so much! I love your work and plan to attend your book signing tour because I am buying the book!
check out my trendy blog!


Blogger thatsorad said ... (6:49 PM) : 

Great Gatsby! I like the first shirt with the extra pocket. HMMMMM wonder if I could pull this off too....


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:51 PM) : 

sorry to be anal retentive, scott, but those shirts aren't denim. they are chambray. you can tell because when the sleeves are rolled, the inside of the material is just as dark as the outside, unlike denim which is often darker on the outside. also chambray is much lighter. still a good look though. cheers.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:55 PM) : 

love how the first guy has his pants just short enough so we can all see his killer sneaks. <3


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:56 PM) : 

you're so right about the size of denim shirts, i recently bought a chambray shirt at j. crew and had it altered to be more fitted. It looks a millions times better.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:56 PM) : 

Both of these men have considered outfits however, I don't think that I am on board with the chambray shirt with khaki chinos. nope, I'm afraid it is almost irritating for me. It's like a cowboy and a dock worker had a fight. nope.

That said, the pieces are smartly fitting.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:59 PM) : 

please can you put me in contact with italian boy #2. he would work well as my very own accessory...



Blogger Holly @ Maison James said ... (7:03 PM) : 

I like the small scale of the 2nd one - a fresher take on country & western. Nice male accessorizing too - I always dig turquoise w/ denim.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:05 PM) : 

is that buckle hand-painted? if so


Blogger Yamila said ... (7:28 PM) : 

Perfect!! I feel in love... the 2 pic: He's very handsome! lol.

I loev your blog, you're so talented.
In Argentina (more in Buenos Aires)we used: "re copado" that mean, (or as to said): "so good", or "so cool"... So, i have to said: your blog is RE COPADO!!

I can't wait for have your book. =)

(my english is not so good, sorry!!)


Blogger Baek said ... (7:34 PM) : 

very cool looking


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:47 PM) : 

please someone tell me where i can find that first shirt with the low pocket! the color, the cut, so nice. i'll even accept tips on where to find those khakis!



Blogger hc said ... (7:59 PM) : 

The majority of comeback denim tended to be dark, as if to test its re-debut. It's nice to see lighter denim here, with white denim already following suit.

The khakis are almost too expected, and I'd like to see the denim contrastingly paired with lighter/easier fabrics, particularly shorts.


Blogger demetric said ... (8:23 PM) : 

i have the nicest marc jacobs tux blue jean shirt loves it with the the scarf...have a vintage levi shirt with a tad bit of a sheen think i will wear it tomorrow thanks...


Blogger One Man's Style said ... (8:33 PM) : 

i have been wearing this look all summer... i want credit haha...what can you say but italians do it right!!!!


Anonymous Christine said ... (8:40 PM) : 

they look great! I especially like the bracelets on the second guy.

PS - Most of your pictures speak for themselves but I also love it when we get an explanation to go along with them :-)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:54 PM) : 

Guys shouldn't wear cropped pants.. no matter how good looking or great their style is. Just my opinion.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:03 PM) : 

The thing is that Italians are delicate. I'm a woman and a size 0-2 (but tallish) in North America, and I recently had a huge laugh whilst buying a Giro d'Italia cycling jersey in Italy. My friend, an Italian man and fellow cyclist, stopped me when I pulled the (men's) XS shirt off the shelf. "Italian small is not the same as your small." (Of course I know my own size and the shirt fit). Still, it highlights a point: both the men and women tend to be fine-boned and baggy shirts (clothes, really), often look silly on such people (especially men). And of course there's always the plain fact that...Italian men are yummy beyond belief. :) These pics are making me swoon...


Blogger american dream said ... (9:06 PM) : 

we can not live without jean


Blogger Maverick Malone said ... (9:14 PM) : 

ohh, yummy! love love love.


Blogger Anne said ... (9:16 PM) : 

i like the way the first guy tucked in his belt, not the neat conventional tuck, but a slide it under tuck. I wonder if it was on purpose.


Anonymous The Stylist said ... (9:24 PM) : 



Blogger noelakadjtambour said ... (9:31 PM) : 

the first picture, the guy is a cross between young serge gainsbourg and dustin hoffman but italian


Blogger Jane said ... (9:38 PM) : 

Are you forgetting that most middle and western American's have been wearing button down, tucked in denim since their were cowboys?


Blogger jlt said ... (9:42 PM) : 

I couldn't disagree more about the very american denim shirt. Have we forgotten Cool Hand Luke? The cowboy? Maybe you should visit cities in America besides NYC and you would see a lot of Americans wearing denim shirts in the "Italian way".


Anonymous Carissa said ... (9:49 PM) : 

Very sexy, yet still classy. I'm loving this look for men.


Anonymous anAlbanian said ... (10:24 PM) : 

denim is American.


Blogger The Voguette said ... (10:39 PM) : 

i love love loveeee denim button-ups!

The Voguette


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:13 PM) : 

The first guy is J.Crew, 100% (well, maybe button up one more on his shirt, and we're there). The rolled khakis and sleeves, canvas shoes... The concept of what J.Crew WANTS to do with chambray shirting is exactly what these Italians are doing. In fact, much of their styling with these shirts is combining them with a sportcoat. However, as the above gentleman commented, they've not really gotten the proper sizing down. I'm not sure how people are wearing their chambray from J.Crew, but I can tell you that this is what they're going for. Look no further than the men's shop for proof.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:15 PM) : 

There is nothing sexy about denim shirts


Blogger parisgirl said ... (11:36 PM) : 

yum...i'll take one of each...


Anonymous Philip said ... (12:03 AM) : 

i like the guys cuffed pants in the first pic and that shirt on the second guy looks great


Blogger crush'ed said ... (12:09 AM) : 

Both of them look lovely. Very handsome. But the 2nd man won me over with the turquoise bracelets. I rarely see men with hand accessories other than the obvious watch.


Anonymous robbie said ... (12:18 AM) : 


i don't dig the way they are wearing the denim at all. So mamby pamby and European.

The Italians make bikes look cool, and scooters, and they make a damn good suit... but denim, thats American you can't femme it all up and tuck it in and don a scarf; a bandana maybe if it is some b western or you've stumbled into the 1800's otherwise EWW.

not a fan of either of these looks.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:35 AM) : 

is the barn door open in the first pic?


Blogger echoes25 said ... (12:36 AM) : 

looks good


Blogger Camille said ... (12:45 AM) : 

I think the contrast of slacks and converse make his look.


Blogger JamieDOTBall said ... (1:17 AM) : 

denim shirts are that the same guy or do they just look remarkably similar? its a good look for both of them / him !


Blogger Rob said ... (1:20 AM) : 

i like everything except the shirts x :o)


Anonymous Emma Howard said ... (1:37 AM) : 

Jim Thompson,the Sidney, Australia apparel designer whom you featured is a perfect example of a man wearing classic, looser denim that I find extremely appealing.

"Three over One" looks like a great brand of clothing. I wonder if it is available to Americans?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:05 AM) : 

Looks as though both are wearing Rolex watches


Anonymous Bonnapart said ... (2:06 AM) : 

viva italia!


Blogger Stephanie said ... (2:20 AM) : 

I like these looks a lot. I think I would urge caution to the gents eager to try the look; just as with jean pants the wash and cut of the shirt is the difference between classy and strange. Or heck wing it, often strange and brilliance go hand and hand.


Anonymous Fvad. said ... (2:27 AM) : 

nothing accents your a man's skin color ''specially if you are a brunet'' like a blue denim/chambrey shirt. And nothing intensify this macho look more, but a pair of Aviator shades ..

I like..


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:34 AM) : 

Sexy and hot!


Anonymous The Stylista said ... (3:27 AM) : 

well that's a hairy chest. lol


Blogger CHICMUSE said ... (3:30 AM) : 

Just gorgeous. simple. love it.



Anonymous Noémie K said ... (3:37 AM) : 

I love the style of the second one, simply chic*


Anonymous Elle J said ... (3:39 AM) : 

The second guy is gorgeous! Love the casual look of the denim shirt.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:12 AM) : 

I love your comment about Italian formal/casual. People are always saying they have trouble doing "smart casual" - well, here's the men's solution. These guys look so good, comfortable but presented. I'm actually seeing Steve McQueen in both.


Blogger *~Yvonne~* said ... (4:14 AM) : 

I'm loving the combination!


Anonymous Aimee said ... (4:15 AM) : 

so casual and elegant. who knew a denim shirt could be so classy?


Blogger Pearl Westwood said ... (4:32 AM) : 

The Italians definately do it better, in England that first guy would have been forced by the insane rules of British man-fashion to wear socks with that!


Blogger bérénice said ... (5:00 AM) : 

des photos sublimes comme on aimerait en voir plus souvent!


Blogger Sarah said ... (5:59 AM) : 

i dont know.. but that is reminding me so much of terence hill back in the classy bud spencer-films.


Anonymous Clare said ... (6:29 AM) : 

Congrats on the Vogue UK piece. So they think you look like a member of the Incredibles?! Style-Superhero!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:32 AM) : 

The second man is so handsome!
UM BACIO from Buenos Aires (Argentina)


Blogger FASHIÓN (con acento) said ... (6:45 AM) : 

The first guy remembers me SERGE GAINSBOURG!!!
His face, his casual style...

Besos desde Batcelona.


Anonymous Ruth said ... (7:02 AM) : 

Wow the chambray shirt is so handsome!

Ruth @ Matches


Blogger Ashley said ... (7:43 AM) : 

I like the first version. Its funny that you credit J.Crew with that idea..I bought a men's chambray shirt at J.Crew and I've worn it similarly to how you describe it.


Blogger Autour de toi said ... (7:58 AM) : 

The first man look to Serge Gainsbourg!


Anonymous Bird said ... (8:19 AM) : 

Well said,I think these shirt/pants combos look great on these particular guys. The latter with turquoise bracelet looks more "put together" but perfectly relaxed, all the same. What a perfect fit!, I like the rolled up pants and sneakers on the first one, too..


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:21 AM) : 

Does anyone know where the shirt the first guy is wearing is from, what brand? It looks fantastic


Anonymous Kristin said ... (8:51 AM) : 

I especially like the first one. So effortless and cool, yet stylish. Love the rolled up pants and sneakers, makes me think maybe he took his lunch at the beach and dipped his toes in before heading back to work.


Blogger tree said ... (8:51 AM) : 

The top look = The exact look I've been wearing this summer.

Rolled up light coloured trousers, no socks+ a denim shirt gives the perfect casual look.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:57 AM) : 

I love it! I retired my old oversized early 90s denim shirts years ago. I recently bought a very tailored one that I pair with a crisp pleated white skirt and heels or with my suits. I love the contrast of casual/rugged with the formality of silks and linens. Perfect summa time.


Anonymous Jane (Melbourne) said ... (9:21 AM) : 

Ouch! The worst part about this is that they are in Italy and I am in Australia. I wanna touch! Pic 1 is blessedly gorgeous in an "I want to ruffle up your hair even more kind of way". I'd like to undo Pi2 2's top button and loosen his scarf... ah that's better. Now where were we...


Blogger Fashion&Such said ... (9:34 AM) : 

These look amazing, I looove/


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:40 AM) : 

Yeah, these definitely aren't denim; they are chambray. I have this debate with the BF quite often, until a gentlemen working at the J. Crew Liquor Store in NYC finally settled our debate: they are in fact two distinct fabrics.


Anonymous said ... (9:53 AM) : 

I vote for the Italian way!



Anonymous holly said ... (9:55 AM) : 

I still wear my chambray pieces especially with turquoise jewelry...some are 20yrs. old... and I'm a girl...I'm betting on the fact that it will become a fashion "TREND" once again:) I guess I need to start shopping my closet


Anonymous Mike said ... (10:47 AM) : 

GREAT look but for me these photos show just how overworn Ray-Bans are right now (especially the Wayfarer).

They've suddenly lost all credibility.



Blogger norawoah said ... (11:21 AM) : 

hellloooo gentlemen!


Blogger G10 said ... (12:18 PM) : 

Good ideas on how to wear denim shirts.
Pitty they're too hot for my weather


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:19 PM) : 

I like how in the first picture the guy beside him is wearing the same sun glasses hahah. I agree with you though, denim does look great.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:48 PM) : 

I just love how classy they look. You couldn't have said it any better when you called it "formal and casual at the same time".


Anonymous ROXY MARJ said ... (2:20 PM) : 

Love this style! However I wish the top photo guy would button up two more...too much "sexy" thought was put into that and then doesn't become so sexy anymore.. :/ bummer


Blogger ctstyle said ... (2:32 PM) : 

I love both!


Blogger Amalia said ... (4:47 PM) : 

I love the rolled khakis - I can only hope Australian pick up on this look and dump their ill-fitting, skinny jeans and too-long shorts 'toot suite'.


Blogger Erin said ... (8:27 PM) : 

very true. I love the classic americana feel of a totally casual denim shirt; it just epitomizes complete relaxation and wear-anything confidence. I rock a really oversized one all the time. but this MO is something I NEVER see down in atlanta and it is refreshing and fantastic...and STILL relaxed. classic in the way only an italian man can be.


Blogger Yoli said ... (11:04 PM) : 

I like the shirts, the pants not so much.


Blogger A. Stranger said ... (11:17 PM) : 

WoW. These looks are inspiring. So relaxed but well constructed. I especially love the turquoise bracelet in the second photo.


Blogger Christina Dee said ... (12:17 AM) : 

yummy yummy yummy.
style, attitude, hair.



Anonymous Arm Candy on the Avenue said ... (2:48 AM) : 

love this look... american guys could take a lesson. sorry guys.


Anonymous Mens designer clothing said ... (4:11 AM) : 

Love the glasses


Anonymous Baloneyandco said ... (6:07 AM) : 

I dont know if someone ever said it, but the first guy looks like Serge Gainsbourg.
Moreover his outfit is awesome!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:23 AM) : 

Does the man in the top picture have his flies undone?


Blogger Jean Floressas des Esseintes said ... (8:30 AM) : 

This is so "old Gainsbourg" chic...


Blogger Hawa said ... (9:51 AM) : 

as you mentioned in the post below...i'm blatantly going to copy these looks come's fashion is sooo much more inspiring at the moment!


Blogger sisters in black frocks said ... (4:07 PM) : 

my god i love this look!


Anonymous Man Over Board said ... (9:25 PM) : 

Been a denim shirt wearer for the last 10 years. Nothing like a broken in pair of jeans, that goes double for the shirts. Love em


Blogger Dr.Kraft said ... (10:14 PM) : 

i love these look and the way italian guys were denim´s so cool and beautiful...


Blogger Hanne said ... (6:28 AM) : 

Holy macaroni! Love the combination of the blue denim, sunkissed skin and great hair.


Blogger toto said ... (9:26 AM) : 

i really like the details like his belt, his "scarf" and his bracelet... i think it's a perfect outfit..


Anonymous An said ... (11:25 AM) : 

The second look is definitely the better. In the first, the shirt is open a couple buttons too many, and the pants are cuffed too high, which conveys almost a mason-ly, I-just-finished-painting-someone's-house attitude.
In the second, the man is not only clean-shaven, but the neckerchief adds a certain class. Also the pants are more structured, and the turquoise bracelets are just plain accessories. Plus, the man is good-looking, which helps infinitely.
Is it just me, or does he look a bit like Robert Downey Jr.?


Blogger travelbug said ... (1:39 PM) : 

Great explanation of the European take on denim shirts. But if Europeans are going to do the fitted look, they need to be less squishy-looking than these guys.

Just sayin'.


Blogger miss a. said ... (3:47 PM) : 

I would love a fitted denim shirt. But I think this look is better on men than women. For femmes, it could either look super chic or just jail cell worthy.


Anonymous holly may said ... (5:13 PM) : 

It's one of those looks that make you wonder whether any outfit in years to come will better it: true style.


Blogger Rafe Totengco said ... (9:16 AM) : 

I love how a denim shirt can be dressed up with an ascot. I personally love doing this and thank God for vintage ascots because nobody makes them anymore.


Blogger Mohammad said ... (11:52 AM) : 

really like the blue shirt on the top photo, it makes good reflection on the tanned skin.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:30 PM) : 

the first man looks like S. Gainsbourg


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:15 PM) : 

damn. this guy is hot.


Blogger Üdo Ümami said ... (10:42 AM) : 

omg. italian güys are *hilarious*


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:29 AM) : 

There are guys who wanna be cool and there are guys who are simply cool! Great job!

Blog it >>


Anonymous Xristopher said ... (1:06 PM) : 

Nice cut. My wife gave me one she bought in Paris years ago. It is almost identical to this one. So unlike the shapeless garbage-bags made in the USA.


Blogger Jeni said ... (11:14 PM) : 

I love how soft this denim looks. Very summery.


Anonymous Philippine said ... (7:30 AM) : 

the first picture looks like serge gainsbourg, it's thrilling!


Blogger Northern Sky said ... (7:06 AM) : 



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:41 AM) : 

love the turquoise bracelet!


Blogger TheWorstKidInBoston said ... (5:47 PM) : 

The whole slim denim shirt/chino thing is very Ralph Lauren...right down to the turqoise beacelet


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:13 AM) : 

You like it or not like it but...I am trying to be a bit objective here, you can't pull it off the so-called "Italian style" if you are even just a little bit not so slender. With the risk of sweeping generalization, the style fits the Italian/European physique much more than that of Americans.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:32 AM) : 

the first guy is uber cool!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:08 AM) : 

Pulled this off during the Spring in NY but the " american " way ... and funny thing is Ive been thinking bout getting the shirt tailored to be more fitted for the fall ..... thanks for the visual


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:25 PM) : 



Anonymous Ljerka-Susanna-Lukic said ... (6:56 PM) : 



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:40 PM) : 



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