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La Dolce Vita: The Best of Spring Tailoring 

Inspired by one of old Hollywood’s finest, we delve into the new rules of suiting. 

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When the curtain rose on La Dolce Vita in 1960, Marcello Mastroianni’s star was immediately cemented, as was his reputation for closely cut suits and immaculate tuxedos (for which the film’s costumer designer Piero Gherardi won an Academy Award).

Today, Mastroianni represents for many a long-gone era of men dressing properly (see also: John F Kennedy, Steve McQueen and their ilk). It’s an erudite air which has, over the decades, given way to an altogether more relaxed dress code. A jacket and tie are now surplus to requirements in many offices, with legions of men owning just a solitary black suit for weddings, funerals and little in between.

In part this is a democratisation. Tailoring – especially that of the Savile Row variety – can be elitist, not to mention restrictive. Given the choice, a pair of drawstring trousers and a sweatshirt represent a much more enticing choice for the daily nine-to-five.

And yet, as with all things sartorial, the wheel has begun to turn full circle. Tailoring is returning to the zeitgeist, albeit with a new relaxed air. Much in the spirit of Mastroianni, this new suiting is all about exacting cuts and superlative construction, but with new concessions to comfort. At the forefront of this movement are a few extremely talented Italian designers, from whom we’ve chosen three key pieces.
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1. Loosen Up

The classic Italian cut favoured by Mastroianni was slim and neat, but Ricardo Tisci (of Puglia and latterly Burberry) errs towards the voluminous. Taken from the designer’s first collection for the British powerhouse, these wool-mohair trousers can be paired with a similarly relaxed jacket, or worn with a white T-shirt neatly tucked in. 

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2. Double Down

The double-breasted can be the most austere of suits, unless of course it’s been infused with Gucci’s signature playfulness. This slim-fitting jacket is infinitely wearable precisely because of its bold flannel check, not despite of it. This is especially true if the wearer decides to forgo his shirt in favour of a T-shirt or – if he dares –nothing at all. 

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3. Nylon Out

Reminiscent of her signature nylon bags, Miuccia Prada’s technical suit jackets are pure utility. Machine washable, with toggle-detail pockets and a streamlined silhouette, they’re a prime example of the crossover between workwear and tailoring. A rare practical jacket that can even be worn with jeans. 

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