The Art of Effortlessness - Part II


The Art of Effortlessness - Part II

Pawan and Ashish of Knights & Lords on how you can weave sprezzatura into your dressing

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Fri 14 Jun 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 18 Jun 2019, 2:21 PM

In this edition, let's explore the intricate details of practising effortlessness or sprezzatura as a way of expressing oneself through dressing etiquette. People like to be comfortable in their own skin whilst showcasing their sartorial maturity and ingenuity in the way they dress, interact and conduct themselves.
So, what is the yardstick that measures effortlessness whereby, on one end, there is extreme sartorial maturity and, on the other, sartorial vulgarity?
Button up or button undone: Formal dressing etiquette requires one to fasten the front button of the jacket while standing and only leave it undone when sitting, so that one can be relaxed while sitting and conversing. However, with the advent of relaxed bespoke blazers and bespoke suit jackets, it is common now to leave the jacket button undone to give the attire an overtly effortless look.
The challenge comes with bespoke double-breasted suits or double-breasted blazers. Since bespoke outfits are handcrafted for an optimum fit, they fling apart once the buttons are undone. But it is the mastery of looking elegant while doing this which is the ultimate test of sartorial maturity. The trick here is to accessorise in a manner that distracts the observer from focusing too much on the open buttons, such as using a colourful handmade pocket square and bespoke tie or even a very different and intricate tie knot. The observer then feels that this gentleman is looking elegant even with the buttons undone, but can't really make out why that is the case, as you have done it and taken focus away from it at the same time.
Tie or no tie: As Oscar Wilde famously said, "A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life." However, most sprezzaturians in today's time will strongly disagree since the tie and the tie knot can be a way of showcasing sprezzatura. Sprezzaturians will always use a simple asymmetrical knot, such as the four-in-hand, or the Victorian knot, as more elaborate and perfect knots show that you are conscious of your dressing. Sprezzatura is much the opposite. These relaxed knots can also be done with the blade showing from the side to exude more nonchalance.
The ultimate test of being a master sprezzaturian, of course, is to look elegant with no tie, also known as the "air tie" look. While this can make or break your effortless look, the trick here is to play with collars of your customised shirt with soft relaxed bespoke tailoring that doesn't allow it to stand as proudly on your neck as one with a tie. A slightly smaller collar on custom shirts with an unassuming spread takes away attention from your collar and neck area, letting you flaunt the effortless look of having no tie.
Casual, formal or mix: Definitely a mix. Mixing casual and formal with tailoring in the right way is perhaps the easiest way to master the art of effortless dressing with bespoke tailored clothing. One thing you can't go wrong with is pairing a nice jacket or sport coat with chinos or jeans and then topping this ensemble with slightly formal, perhaps custom-made shoes, such as a monk strap or a derby. Also quite convenient is to wear handmade shoes that are comfortable but slip-ons, whereby one can subscribe to the sockless movement popularised by the Italians, showing a bit of ankle on the feet. This is easiest way to showcase thoughtless dressing and elegance at the same time.
The question is whether you can take this a step further by wearing sports shoes. The answer is yes and no. Wearing shoes that look sporty is very different from wearing sport shoes that are meant for aggressive sporting activities. Understanding this fine balance will definitely take you to another level of sartorial maturity. To start off, stick to smart canvas shoes or shoes with a rubber sole but a leather upper. This will ensure that your shoes don't dress up or dress down the entire outfit, keeping you well within the effortless zone.

Pawan and Ashish are bespoke tailors at Knights & Lords, a bespoke tailoring house in Dubai. They are inspired by the alchemy of craftsmanship and bespoke tradition aimed at re-designing the wearer's inner architecture. They have learnt the traditional craft of bespoke tailoring from Savile Row, London - considered to be the spiritual home of bespoke tailors even today.

More news from