The Wide World

The NY Times ...

We hope many of you had the pleasure of reading our article on the front page of the NY Times on August 1. If not, we are attaching a link for you perusal:

And please find the amazing photos of the mill along with the article:

The Wide World ...

Wouldn't it be interesting, even fun, to read what other people have to say about sheep, wool, clothes, even the larger world?  Because yes, we know you have interests beyond superfine 100s! So every so often we're going to ask people we love and respect to jot down a few words for our and your edification. We found this brief history lesson from our friend Will fascinating. It explains 2 things 1) how Italian clothing conquered the marketplace and 2) why Will's website, A Suitable Wardrobe is among the busiest on the web.

Thank the Italians

By Will Boehlke

Most observers agree that the world’s great menswear cities are New York, London, Paris, Vienna, Milan, Rome and Naples. And it is no accident that three of the seven are in Italy for, as the saying goes, the French spend their money on food, the English on gardens, and the Italians on clothes.

The Italian’s propensity to look his best originated in the villages, where the people emerge every evening around six o’clock to stroll around the piazza where they see and are seen. If a man wanted a pretty wife he needed to impress and the result was that the Italian clothing makers spent a lot of time thinking about clothing for social occasions rather than the office. Where the Englishman wanted to be dressed correctly, the Italian’s goal was to look good.

This emphasis on more elegant clothing was complemented by the fact that much of Italy is warmer than the other cities on that menswear list, and the local demand for warm weather wear meant that Italian mills learned how to weave and Italian tailors how to sew lighter cloth years before Savile Row began to consider the stuff. That was fortunate timing indeed as the ubiquity of central heating and the automobile meant that men all over the western world decided that lighter was better, helping Italian style rise to its current prominence.

The combination of lighter cloth and an emphasis on good looks has given the world softer clothing that is more comfortable and pleasant to touch for museum visits, Sunday concerts in the park and al fresco lunches. To my mind, the areas in which the Italians really stand out are the lightweight knitwear and odd jackets with citified but casual looks ranging from tan silk and linen blends to black and white checked cashmere.

Now once they leave school most men do not spend much of their time at daytime socializing. A pair of brown slipons, a few pair of good quality trousers in linen, gabardine or flannel, dress shirts with button cuffs and bolder patterns, a light cashmere sweater to throw over the shoulders and an odd jacket or two were all that were needed for these occasions. But as office clothing formality has declined, well dressed men have expanded the elegant part of their wardrobes in its place. Instead of navy suits and white shirts, there is more clothing that that pleases the eye to see and the fingers to touch. And we are the better for it. Thank the Italians.

Please visit Will's site for advice on classic mens styling and the occasional sneak peak into the world of Luciano Barbera.