Sprezzatura vs trying too hard.

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Tiki Tom, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

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    To take things the other direction from the affected tie knots, pocket square fluffs, etc, here is a look that I think could benefit from a little less precision, along with a less dramatic collar cutaway. To me this ensemble telegraphs far too much forethought and painstaking effort in color coordination.

    tumblr_o5v2gix8ml1s0yp7zo1_540.jpg
     
  2. tropicalbob

    tropicalbob My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I think this photo gets to the heart of the problem: the ensemble is very, very nice, but it looks like some designer got paid to come up with it. What it lacks is the element of delightful surprise, which is the best thing in life. Also, I wonder if the whole difficulty of defining "sprezzatura" is that it has to do with an inborn talent, and real talent is always a surprise and difficult to define. Unfortunately, the best I can come up with is that "I know it when I see it."
     
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  3. LuvMyMan

    LuvMyMan I’ll Lock Up.

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    There is an opposite view on the picture shown above. If you look at the fact, the pocket square is fairly neutral, not matching anything I can see, and yes, the collar is a cutaway collar, but it has a clean look to it. The pocket square is a simple fold over, nothing too dramatic or over done, and the tie is humble, a simple dolka dot on blue. I tend to think if the jacket were a tweed instead of a check, maybe everything would look a bit more to a style the majority likes. Just my opinion, but I think everything looks fine with what the person is wearing, of course, maybe am opinion that does not qualify within the term of sprezzatura as defined by some here?
     
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  4. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    A month or so ago I was watching a TV program about a millionaire classic car dealer, one Richard Biddulph. Some of those cars fetched hundreds of thousands, millions even, but for me, it was Richard who was priceless. He wore fedoras, bow ties, spectator shoes. He was always just so. Some of what he wore is not something I would want to emulate, but his wardrobe reflected his assertive confidence. In the photo he's wearing a pink bow tie, it was only after looking at it a few times that I realised, the boating blazer that he's wearing, has a very subtle hue of pink in the stripes, hence the matching tie. I can't remember why he's wearing a polka dot sash, but I think there's a security tag hanging from it, to give him freedom of movement at whatever show he was at. Of course it can be argued that his whole ensemble is that of showman, probably true, but what a showman.
    richard biddulph.jpg
     
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  5. Rudie

    Rudie Call Me a Cab

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    The pocket square picks up the red from the polka dots and from the lapel button hole.
     
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  6. LuvMyMan

    LuvMyMan I’ll Lock Up.

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    Yes I see that now, but even with that, is it a really bad thing or not?
     
  7. drcube01

    drcube01 New in Town

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    Not a bad thing. It just isn't "sprezzatura", which I think implies a little more lightness and spontaneity than all the thought that went into matching one of two polka dots on your tie to the buttonhole thread on your lapel to the hem of your pocket square. It's a nice look, it just doesn't have whatever quality this thread is trying to capture.
     
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  8. LuvMyMan

    LuvMyMan I’ll Lock Up.

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    Yes I understand that now. Thanks so much.
     
  9. Rodney

    Rodney Familiar Face

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    100% showman but it looks to me like he's doing it well.
    Rodney
     
  10. tropicalbob

    tropicalbob My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Good point. Does anyone know the literal translation of the word? I've always assumed it was related to "spritzy," or something effervescent and of the moment, but I could be dead wrong.
     
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  11. LuvMyMan

    LuvMyMan I’ll Lock Up.

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    I would think it the world of clothing and attire, it is to toss together things that work because they just have a look when all worn together, without being uniformed in any pattern or color. You can read the actual literal definition if you merely google it.
     
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  12. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    "Sprezzatura" in Italian has a common root with the word "sprezzo", which is now a poetic form of "disprezzo". It means literally "disdain"; there is an interesting adjective in Italian, "sprezzante", which means literally "sniffy" and is used to mean a person having a non-caring behaviour for something.
     
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  13. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Thinking a little more about this thread, I've almost come to the belief that if you know about "sprezzatura -" as it relates to dressing, then you are probably incapable of acting in a "sprezzatura" manner. Once you are actively thinking about it, you have defeated your ability to do it.

    The first guy who took his sweater off, had no where to put it and, without much thought or how it would look, threw it over his back and tied the arms in a knot in front so that it wouldn't fall off practiced "sprezzatura," everyone after that was just trying to be cool (and, today, would be a cliche).

    If you were really busy one morning and ran out of the house without buttoning your button down collar, but your natural style accommodated a bit of dishevelment, then, presto, a "sprezzatura" moment. But all the rest who do so are trying to give the impression of "sprezzatura" - and some probably succeed - but the true serendipity of "sprezzatura" can't be thought out.

    I will never achieve "sprezzatura" because I do think too much about all this stuff; however, I can - if I have a Steve McQueen moment (a guy who looked all "sprezzatura," but, in reality, was very methodical in all the details of his attire) - look nonchalant, but it will never be true Zen-like "spezz."
     
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  14. Benproof

    Benproof A-List Customer

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    That's the view that seems to encroach on me too about sprezzies. There are exceptional moments in history: like when Wallace Simpson, Prince Edward VIII's future bride was to accidentally leave a second blouse button undone. This has nothing in common with Marilyn Monroe's skirt blooming phenomenon which was more contrived.





    [​IMG]


    Oh grief. This photo is giving me spooky nightmares!!! Too shoccked to comment.

    Yay! Do show :)
     
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  15. tropicalbob

    tropicalbob My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Thank you.
     
  16. -30-

    -30- A-List Customer

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    "Oh grief. This photo is giving me spooky nightmares!!! Too shoccked to comment."
    Benproof.

    Beyond Sloppy and with Utter Distain.

    Regards,
    J T
     
  17. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    I've heard it referred to as: "Fugly Fashion.
    Warning. Gazing upon the images in that link may require the need for eye bleach.
     
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  18. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

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    Actually, I think this is the first step towards achieving it. Remember, the original context for the concept is the art of etiquette. The point wasn't to exert no effort, but to persuasively appear as though you weren't. Painstaking practice was required, first to learn whatever art you were focused on. And then MORE painstaking practice was required, to persuasively make the very difficult art look easy and effortless. Perhaps the best analogy I can think of is a classical form of dance, like ballet. First position looks easy to an onlooker. But actually, there are a million small invisible details that have to be practiced and learned to master the art of standing at rest.
     
  19. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom One Too Many

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    Quote from Fading Fast: "Thinking a little more about this thread, I've almost come to the belief that if you know about "sprezzatura -" as it relates to dressing, then you are probably incapable of acting in a "sprezzatura" manner. Once you are actively thinking about it, you have defeated your ability to do it."

    NOW I think we are finally getting to the heart of the matter. To further my quest for understanding and enlightenment on this subject, I have sought out some classic quotes from Zen Buddhism. Then I inserted the word "sprezzatura" as necessary in the Zen quote:
    • “When an ordinary man attains sprezzatura, he is a sage; when a sage attains sprezzatura, he is an ordinary man.”
    • “To study sprezzatura is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to attain spezzatura.”
    • “Have good trust in your sprezzatura … not in the sprezzatura that you think you should be, but in the spezzatura that you are.”
    • “Sprezzatura never exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else.”
    • “When you are present, you can allow sprezzatura to be as it is without getting entangled in it.”
    Now, Grasshopper, try to snatch the sprezzatura from my hand!
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  20. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    i disagree; i'm of the "much effort to achieve the appearance of effortlessness" school.

    think of a painter such as John Singer Sargent who would scrub out a whole face if it looked too laboured and re-do it until it looked as if it had been done quickly and effortlessly. think of classical musicians who spend hours of their lives practising so that a live performance can appear effortless. discipline and hard work are usually necessary so that something can be achieved easily at a later stage; so that 'in the moment' you don't have to think about it because the ground work has already been done.

    i think the same can apply to learning how to dress well. it can take a long time, and many failed attempts, before a man understands what clothes suit his physique and what colours go together and work for him etc. the more experience a man has with the basics of dressing well, the more he'll exude an effortless confidence in what he wears.

    (edit: sorry Patrick, i didn't see your last reply and you've pretty much said the same thing)
     

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