It’s time for those special occasions, major events to be celebrated and the dress codes that have brought distinction to Italian style the world over throughout its long history. Of course, every haute couture garment has its distinctive elements of handcrafted values rooted in our tradition, but it’s the elegant shirt, preferably white, that is the hallmark defining an impeccable look for formal wear, whether it’s under a morning suit, tailcoat or tuxedo.
The essential details of the shirt are the collar, cuffs, shirt front (or dickey), striped or honeycomb (usually the choice for the bridegroom) and concealed button placket. It’s a good idea to have clear ideas about these things because they are matched to the suit and especially to the occasion. We must not forget the importance of the accessories, however, such as a breast pocket and tie-knots, appropriate for the suit and the features of the wearer. The ones used, for example, with a morning suit – a very popular choice in the British dress code for formal occasions that take place before sunset – hence the name morning dress. It’s also much appreciated in Italy for particularly elegant weddings, if the bridegroom wishes to adopt this look.
A shirt with cufflinks, will be compulsory, making sure that the edge of the cuffs extends below the jacket sleeve by at least 2 centimetres. An important feature is the collar, required by etiquette to be an Italian collar with edge-stitching, and you cannot go wrong if you combine a plain-coloured silk tie. To make the garment stand out even more, choose a fabric such as cotton sateen, which will give a perfect brightness to your outfit. The main quality of these shirts is their highly tailored appearance; they are defined by top-class yarns, such as the fine, textured compact 80 Brezza, created by the prestigious Tessitura Monti factory. Comprising an incredible light texture and shiny finish, this is ideal under an elegant suit in a modern cut, too.
Precious cottons and new details are naturally also to be found in that queen of elegance, the wing collar, known to many because it combines perfectly with evening dress or with a tail coat (used for official dinners or royal ceremonies). A lot of people call it the “penguin collar” because it reminds them of the natural clothing of this lovely animal, who always seems to be wearing a tail coat. The collar is unmistakeable with two small tips, not resting on the shoulders but pointing forwards, leaving room for an elegant bow-tie or short cravat.
Cuffs with cufflinks and covered buttoning are essential for a strictly traditional garment, which comes to life with a tailor-fit wearability, perfectly combining comfort with updated volumes, especially in the revolutionary Travel-Shirt version. This technology exploits the body’s temperature to keep the yarn unaltered and crease-free all day long, so the shirt remains flawless for the whole duration of any major event.
The evening light, however, increases their charm with the ever more persistent trend to match the colours of the night with dark blue and black suits. Worn tone-on-tone, with French collar, concealed placket and ultra-contemporary fit, these shirts emphasise the silhouette and reflect a more essential and international style. This trend has gained enormous popularity on the runways of Paris, New York and Milan, starting with Giorgio Armani, who has taken the appreciation for total blue to make it one of his main, diehard themes.
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