Take a look at the great elegant people, from the Duke of Windsor to Gianni Agnelli: none of them ever wore anything extremely shiny! Nor would you have imagined seeing Winston Churchill in a men’s wedding suit of the extra shiny kind, with perhaps glitter.
Reason? Elegant and aesthetic culture, among its codes handed down through the centuries, never includes shiny, except for shoes; and again without exaggeration; the reason? Trivially anything that is too shiny is not elegant and refined; and if worn suddenly it lowers social status.
As I am writing this I am thinking of law firms, international chancelleries, men of finance or successful entrepreneurs: again no polish in sight!
Of course, wearing something more or less opaque is not only about formal wear, but also about casual and informal wear! Here I am reminded of the sailing outings of Kennedy or Aristotle Onassis himself. Zero polish for an outfit in itself very simple, almost minimalist and anonymous.
And I am convinced that the world remembers them yes for their power or popularity but also for their timeless aesthetics, still an example for many in all parts of the world.
The only exceptions, more or less polished? Lapels and the tuxedo cummerbund!
Surely today, 90% wear striped ties and not true Regimental Ties; only 10% are membership ties, concerning more specifically British schools, clubs and military corps.
Since after 1940-1950 designers and silk manufacturers have been inspired by those English striped ties of membership but to create collections that would appeal to their customers
What has remained true over the centuries is certainly the use of the striped tie; the same goes for the garments with which to wear it. In what sense?
The striped tie, is a 90% non-formal tie, with a few rare exceptions suitable for even the most formal occasions.
Why do I say this? Because the birth of the striped tie, strictly in England, did not occur in the formal business world of the City but in the sporting world, such as the cricket world in 1845, or the nautical world, see the regatta clubs of the various English colleges in the 1880s-1890s; which in fact created real school ties.
And then? And then came His Majesty’s Army; this is still in the late 1800s when the then British Secretary of War Childers decided to reform the British infantry. To make a long story short, his reform included the abolition of the recognition colors belonging to the various departments, which were present on their uniforms. So they took their cue precisely from the already present school striped ties. There the true Regimental tie that we all know was born. And all Regimental Ties contain the color of the uniform, the color of the buttons, and references to the tradition, not to mention the exhibits, of that specific regiment.
So in summary the Regimental Ties is belonging and aesthetic recognition in its purest state.
But what is the perfect jacket with which practically the striped tie was born? Certainly the balzer in any form or color. But also suits or sport jackets.
Then whether it is a true military Regimental Tie or a striped tie deriving from some designer’s genius matters little: the important thing is that you like it and like it!
I’m sorry I can’t host you in our tailor’s shop, just because you’re reading me from the other side of the world. But if you happen to be in Italy, know that the doors of our tailor’s shop are always open; we are only an hour away from Milan.
So here I am trying to explain in this email how long it takes us to make one of our ties.
The first step is to place the wooden model on the fabric, to center it first and then mark it with chalk.
After this phase there is the cut. If you make a mistake in marking the fabric, the design of the tie will be off-center, so it will have a flaw!
For these three stages of processing takes about fifteen minutes.
Then the cut tie passes into the hands of my wife who hems it all by hand; and if it is an antique 7-folds tie there are almost two meters of handmade hem to be done.
This is the longest phase of processing because it takes about 50 minutes. Then it also depends on the fabric, because there are fabrics that slip more and others less
After this phase of hemming we continue with the union of the three pieces of fabric, the length required by the customer. Then we create the interlining, strictly natural wool, always as long as the tie.
And then my wife begins the folding, ironing and sewing along the entire length of the tie
The last two steps are the back colored joist, the back loop label and the labeling.
Time frame for all these other processing steps? Another half hour!
What if you want hand embroidered initials? Add an hour and a half for two letters.
Of course, we can be much faster; we could make a tie in 10 minutes, but I would never wear a low-quality tie, so I could never make any of my clients wear it.
I like quality, and you can only achieve quality by being slow. In fact, we are happy to only be able to make a few pieces a day.
I have always talked to you about the news, leaving out the difference between the two models of ties that my wife and I produce; today the time has come to explain to you better what the differences are between them.
Passaggio Cravatte produces two models of ties, the 3 folds and the ancient seven folds. These are the two historical models that were born in the early 1900s. All the other models that go up to 12 or 16 folds are modern models, which is why we do not make them. On this we are perfectly adherent and consistent with Italian traction.
But what is the difference between these two models?
The difference is all, or almost all, contained in the back of the tie.
The 3-folds tie – which I also call the classic tie because it is more common – has 3 folds in the back and has almost a metre of handmade hem. And having fewer pleats, it is slightly lighter at the neck.
The ancient seven folds tie is a bit like the Rolls Royce of ties: a real status symbol; in short, a true masterpiece of craftsmanship; certainly more difficult to make and to find in shops. In the back of the tie are enclosed the famous 7 folds, all always hand hemmed for a total of almost two meters of handmade hem.
Compared to the 3 folds it weighs a little more, although not by much.
On both models we always use an interlining made of the highest quality natural materials, such as wool and cotton. This allows the tie to last longer, stay in shape, and a necktie of a normal size.
In addition, wearing our tie in the morning and you don’t have to touch it again until the evening, when you it take off. And by wearing them you will realise one thing: your neck will no longer have the famous necktie stress. Yes, because the weight will never be too much. You will never have that bad feeling of being a prisoner of collar and tie.
In the end, when it comes to choice, it’s like going to a supercar dealership: do I prefer to choose a Bentley or a Rolls Royce? I’m happy with either. Because I know that I am giving you a product that is handmade and always by the same hands, that is, mine and my wife Marta’s, using the best materials for interlining and with vintage fabrics that are practically extinct and therefore unique.
The world of coats is founded on three fundamental pillars, all three solid colors, or some small melange or herringbone.
The first pillar is midnight blue, perhaps double-breasted with classic peaked lapels, buttons on the sleeves and a central back vent. In short, the classic Chesterfield model. This is the only one that should never be missing and is the first to be made by the tailor or always the first to be purchased. Perfect for the evening as well as for all business or ceremonial occasions. Here the noblest fabrics are obviously Cashmere or, even better, Vicuna.
The second pillar is the grey coat, perhaps a mélange like the one in the photo; if it is dark grey it can replace blue on many occasions, but not all! And if it’s dark grey, I always recommend the Chesterfield model, perhaps with hand guards and velvet collar. Or even with the back of the collar in astrakhan. A valid alternative, if it’s herringbone like the one in the photo, could be a single-breasted one with raglan sleeves. Certainly comfortable but equally classic and elegant
And finally, the third pillar: the camel or camel-coloured coat. Here the perfect model can only be the Polo Coat, double-breasted, with patch pockets and a pleat and martingale at the back. This is my favourite model. For me, it’s better if it’s not too light, like the one in the photo. But this is just my personal taste. I used to love it lighter, but now, as I get older, I prefer it darker because I find it more elegant. Certainly this model is less formal and more casual; in fact it was created in the early 1900s for English polo players. I love to wear it with pinstripe and Prince of Wales in different colours but also with sports jackets and flannel or velvet trousers.
So, in conclusion, the blue Chesterfield coat and the camel-coloured polo coat are essential, strictly double-breasted with a pleat and martingale; then I would go on to have the grey coat made! Then I would start the real fun with more sporty coats in checks, Prince of Wales or unusual colours; well, that will be the next episode!
The paisley is one of the designs that have made the history of classic men’s clothing, including ties and scarves. To get to our days, it has crossed the centuries, starting from Mesopotamia and Persia; in fact, it first appeared there as a furnishing fabric and then became a clothing fabric in India, more precisely in the Kashmir region. And how did it arrive in the West? It arrived thanks to the British Empire and the East India Company.
At the beginning, in 1800, it was only imported from the British colony, but later Scotland became the production capital of the European continent; where? Right in a village called Paisley.
Obviously, Italy, with its silk capital, Como, did not stand by and watch; even in Italy the paisley pattern began to be printed on high quality silk for ties and scarves, but also for clothing. In fact, paisley became, in the early 1900s, one of the fabrics preferred by the famous dandy Gabriele D’Annunzio, so much so that he had a kimono made for his stay at the Vittoriale.
Its shape, inspired by plants, has remained virtually unchanged over time. And today we just wanted to show you the new paisley, strictly vintage, that Gianni has recently found. We hope you like them!
Our ties worn by our customers all over the world are even more beautiful. Seeing them knotted is very satisfying; it is as if they come to life in a perfect, often sartorial environment. In fact, if someone else sends us photos of our ties being worn, we are happy to receive them and publish them. It could be a good starting point for new ideas and new outfits.
I made several mistakes early on in my journey down the road to elegance. But what are the mistakes I wouldn’t make again?
1) trouser width: I will no longer make them too tight; the pants must be well proportioned with the length of the shoe.
2) trouser length: I won’t make them too short anymore; otherwise in Italy they say you have water in the house like in Venice! Never show ankle and shoe 100% in its entirety. The pants must reach the shoe. It can arrive in a traditional way until it almost touches the heel or stay between the ankle and the shoe, without showing too much of the sock.
3) The colors worn: too many are excessive. Maximum three. And possibly not too garish. In fact I have some pants that I don’t dare to wear anymore. They disgust me! And remember: the lightest colors should be worn in the morning, and then darken with the passing of the hours; until you get to the night where you give space only to solid colors such as midnight blue and or, in some exceptions, even the darkest gray. The dark gray should be worn even at funerals, with black shoes and white shirt and tie solid color, obviously never light.
5) the size and proportions of lapels: never lapels that end almost behind the back, so high they are. And never too wide. They must be proportionate to the person. Maximum 12 cm. And even on this point I made some youthful mistakes. Result? I no longer wear those exaggerated clothes I had.
6) Shirts: also in this case I have some shirts that now I use only on weekends. My advice is not to exaggerate with stripes and checks; play with weaves, checks and stripes but always staying in the small or medium size. White for ceremonies, and formal appointments and strictly without button-downs; the button-down collar is used more on informal occasions. Initials on the shirt, never on the cuff or collar. Buttons always and only in natural mother-of-pearl. And the cuffs of shirts must come out of the jacket a couple of cm. Same thing for the neck. Never short-sleeved shirt with the jacket!
7) Ties: never too big designs especially if the jacket is single-breasted. The double-breasted allows a little more because being closed often tends to bring you towards sobriety even if you wear something strong. But do not abuse it. Also in this case the ties I wore 12 years ago are in the drawer of memories. And I don’t even offer them to my clients anymore. Solid color or faux solid color on formal occasions.
8) Pocket-square: similar but never the same as a tie. White for the ceremony or for maximum elegance and formality. Fantasy for everything else. But it must not be a traffic light visible even at night. And of what size? It depends on the pocket and the thickness of the silk. 10 years ago I wore them nice and big, even 42×42; then I saw that they made my pocket too puffy. My advice is to stay between 36 and 38 cm.
9) Socks: I prefer solid colors or small patterns. The only eccentric concession I allow myself is the solid color red sock, maybe on a suede shoe. I would never wear socks with big patterns. Classic pants classic socks and never short. Pants “sporty” informal socks.
10) Shoes: here my friend Freccia Bestetti always told me that the darker shades always win and at any time. In fact he granted me only one pair of dark brown and whiskey two-tone shoes. But nothing more. Maybe it goes without saying but never use light shoes in the evening, even if they are bespoke and beautiful. It goes without saying that shoe and belt must speak the same language and thus have consistency in materials and colors.
11) Don’t care what you wear: this is the only way to be naturally elegant. The dress must be your submissive victim. Yes, because if it prevails over you, making you feel like a prisoner on the inside, it’s over for you on the outside. The risk of being plastered in public is just around the corner. And that can curb your elegance and your perceived poise to the outside eye.
12) If you’re a dandy, you can afford anything. Your great personality will lead you to uniqueness.
Harmony. It is on this word that much of men’s classic elegance is founded.
Let’s start with the origins. The word harmony comes from the Greek and means union, tune, proportion. So in classical elegance harmony is the ability to combine, to unite several elements without one prevailing in a violent way on the others. Consequently we speak of chromatic harmony when a good perceptual and visual balance is achieved on a scale of several different colors and fabrics.
Forgetting or not putting harmony into practice in the field of elegance often leads to mistakes that are more noticed by others than by ourselves. I speak from personal experience. In my wardrobe I have garments made more than 10 years ago that today I don’t dare wear even under torture. But you know, elegance is a journey; and the best thing is to learn from your mistakes, which allow you to understand the boundaries within which you can range or arrive, while maintaining your own idea and thus going to forge, as a result of unconscious, your own identity noticed pleasantly by those around you that will lead you to a noble goal: your harmony. A harmony that is only yours and is not the result of sudden copying!
Below you will find harmonious proposals between our vintage clothing fabrics and our vintage ties. All this does not come about at random; it is simply the result of years of continuous experimentation in the world of classic elegance.
The cold weather is coming and the coat becomes the true protagonist of classic elegance. But what defects must never have a coat?
Let’s see them together
When the coat is laced the jacket must never be seen; if you see it as in the picture we are faced with a coat with a flaw. The coat must cover 1.5-2 cm of the jacket, with or without hands in the pocket.
The coat should never be tight. In the photo below the buttons should be placed near the buttonhole, thus respecting the fold and the natural width. Fastening the coat in the photo you find yourself in a straitjacket
When the coat does not cover the jacket totally and when the buttoning is too tight, it opens on the lapels and this is not beautiful and technically correct. The perfect coat is when the coat itself always stays put, and closed, in its place despite the normal movements of the body.
Here an example:
Finally, the coat should never move away from the collar and even less from the jacket. Also in this case must always cover the jacket on the neck.