Is This Casual or Formal? Let’s say “Formual.” Posted on 14 Dec 18:18

tombolini, jacket, ascot, tie, paisley, pocket-square, ascot-tie, style, casual, formal


Somewhere in between. Remember our Roman motto? In medio stat virtus. The first chapter of the book which deals with the concept of “causal”, or sportswear – if you wish – represents some sort of a rite of passage.  This makes sense because the more you venture into the windy road of casual style, the harder it is to establish borders, the fewer rules you will encounter. Let me introduce you to the fantasy world of casual style.

I’ve spent the last chapters on formal style dispensing rules and commandments. Now I’m telling you: forget everything I said. Casual is casual is causal. It means that you don’t have to carefully match colors and textures and calibrate outfits to events and venues. The key word is “relax”. When you dress casual, supposedly, you are not working and – even if you are – your job is probably some sort of creative job.

You might be tempted to ask: “Am I supposed to just grab what comes out of my closet and put it on?” I’d say yes, in a certain sense. Like the skilled guitarist picks the strings on the right spot of the fretboard at the right time, with the proper intensity, gusto and intention, and it always looks as if he is able to play effortlessly, you should be able to pick and choose each and every single item of your outfit with the same ease. Although, one might be fooled into thinking that the guitarist is merely exhibiting talent, while in reality the exciting music your ear is the result of years and years of boredom and exercises. Much in the same way, the experienced dresser can actually pull out the perfect item from the wardrobe only because he has carefully trained his eyes and his mind to mix and match colors and texture for years and years.

Just to give you an idea: I bumped into one of the thousands upon thousands of articles written by a self-proclaimed style guru on one of the most important Italian newspapers the other day, and the title caught my attention because it had to do with neckties. It was entitled “Knots, length, color: the rules of the necktie”. I started reading and soon realized that I was faced with another one of the many “10 style tips” articles that are coming out these days. The article was superficial, but at least correct. The only problem I had with the piece was the excerpt and the conclusion. The major piece of advice went something like this: “the most important thing to remember when it comes to choosing your necktie is, let your feeling of the moment and your intuition be the leading factor in your decision”. I couldn’t disagree more, in fact, I have even commented the article with something that went, more or less, like this: “if you know nothing about colours, textures, bon ton and dress codes and you follow your intuition, it will most probably lead you to wear the wrong necktie in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The path to hell of style is paved with good intentions.” This being a communist, Godless country, they didn’t publish the comment, of course.

Now, when it comes to casual style: you understand what I mean when I say that, in a certain way, you can actually grab whatever comes out of the closet, provided you know what you are doing? It makes sense, doesn’t it?

The combo you see in here is composed of an off-the-rack Tombolini, two-buttons sporty jacket made in wool with notch lapels and flap pockets, the color of Gunmetal Grey, which was tailored to fit my measure by my Tailor/friend Marian Vitel, a pair of wonderful five pockets in cotton, the color of Cocoa Brown, finished with a windowpane pattern by Teleria Zed, a pair of Guess sneakers in charcoal grey, a dark grey driving cap by OVS, a white button-down cotton shirt by MOSCA ’54, an ascot tie made in silk in Nantor green with a pink&blue paisley pattern by the Tie Shop Rome (don’t bother searching for it, it’s a limited edition) as well as an off-white satin silk pocket square, also by the Tie Shop Rome. Looking closely, the earnest among you, might even notice I’m wearing a vintage  Rolex Oyster (datejust).

The most important thing that must be said about this outfit is: it isn’t properly formal, and it isn’t properly casual. I’d say, however: it’s more casual than formal, for sure. Maybe we could call it “formual?” To put it in terms of wearability, I don’t think it’s formal enough for a Friday at the office, but it would be perfect for the nine o’clock cocktail party, the same day.

This is your first step in the fantasy world of sportswear, ladies & gentlemen, in medio stat. formual…