Pitti Uomo, the world's largest menswear trade show and the first big event on the fashion calendar, was held in Italy last week. More than 30,000 visitors from about 50 countries headed to an ancient fortress in Florence to trawl more than 1,200 stalls offering the trendiest and finest in men's clothing and accessories. But beyond the exhibition halls is a street-style extravaganza where visitors strut and designers showcase their respective vision for men's fashion this year.
Guys, take your cues from surprising silhouettes, delightful kicks of pattern or any of these dozen looks, as seen on guests at Pitti Uomo, as well as three backstage snapshots from the Jil Sander, Doppiaa, and Rolf Ekroth and Terinit's standout runway shows.
Look 1: Softness meets severity
The overstated neck looks almost sculptural in this exquisite wool piece designed by Jil Sander, the German fashion house known for its sharply cut garments and exuberant take on minimalist staples. Trust the brand when it comes to underpinning classic tailoring with clever tweaking. Expect such voluminous neck detailing to trickle down to your favourite high-street labels in due course. The label's Pitti Uomo showcase was a homecoming for its creative directors, husband-and-wife duo Lucie and Luke Meier, given that the couple first met in Florence as young fashion students.
Look 2: Hat trick
It really is all in the details – like the sudden glimpses of pattern offered by the scarf and trousers. The accessories, such as the big rings and the hat's dapper brim, certainly catch the eye. A monochromatic head-to-toe black outfit would not have looked as good as this, so don't be afraid to mix in a pattern every now and then.
Look 3: Fine print
Certainly nobody wears their jacket in this awkward (yet curiously cool) manner, but you get the idea. The juxtaposition of a bold print against denim, leather and velvet took us aback at first glance, but leave it to Italian label Doppiaa to make it all seem effortless – as in the Italian word sprezzatura –, referring to a characteristic sense of studied nonchalance. The double As in the brand's name come from the first names of its founders – long-time friends and collaborators Alain Fracassi and Albert Carreras.
Look 4: Paint the town red
Ignore quips that you'd look like Wally – a bright red beanie is smart, particularly when paired with blue, black or white-dominated ensembles. That floral tie, however, is the true scene-stealer here. It frames the entire look and brings all the hues together. This look would also pair well with light-coloured khakis and dark loafers.
Look 5: Classic act
If Cary Grant were alive today he would probably dress like this. The silhouette is timeless, but refreshed by small details, such as the suit jacket's overemphasised lapels, the pop of green delivered by that trench coat and even the unexpected top frame of the sunnies. The floral tie, matched harmoniously with a different floral print on the pocket square, is an inspired choice, too.
Look 6: Orange is the new black
Here's a look to emulate on your next trip to cooler climes. The mix of corduroy, wool, fleece and cotton is remarkable – and there's something hypnotic about the coat's orange shade set against the jumper's olive green. This ensemble offers a lesson in layering – tone down vivid colours by pairing them with more muted monochromes and silhouettes. Another tip: when shopping for a coat, always buy one size bigger than you would normally wear. Watch the length, too, as you'd never want your outerwear to be too short. Looser, relaxed fits are the way to go, not fiascos of swelling sweaters under body-hugging jackets.
Look 7: Vested interest
The texture play here is strong. Is that vest made of leather, pleather, polyester or corduroy? Who cares when it looks this good, particularly when placed in contrast with a crisp white shirt, an elegantly knotted tie and a flowing cardigan that seems to be intentionally one size too big. The sunglasses look like they were made just to complement the rest of the outfit. It is an unexpected combination that stands out without calling too much attention to yourself – a hushed but striking get-up.
Look 8: Let it sheen
Our top pick from the week's shows comes from a collaboration between Finnish-Swedish designer Rolf Ekroth and classic Finnish sporting label, Terinit. There's a playfulness to this metallic sheen that will make you smile. The solid black buttons stand out against the shiny fabric, while the outer layer's oversized fit seals the deal. Wear this with a simple white tee, a pair of black denim jeans and trainers.
Look 9: Tied in a knot
This is the most handsome nightgown around – and we mean that as a compliment. It emanates ease and cosiness while remaining appropriate for the outdoors. The speckled grey pattern is stellar as well. On more casual days, keep the robe open and tuck in your tee or shirt into some light-coloured trousers. A word of caution: wear with trainers at your own risk. Instead, turn to classic black leather shoes, which will elevate the robe's appeal.
Look 10: Denim in the details
Wool over denim – well, who knew? There is a casual sophistication to this pairing that any man of any age and build can pull off nicely. The massive chequered pattern on the coat is sensational, playing on the appeal of heritage and the novelty of abstraction. Plus, the gentleman's animal-print sunglasses and well-groomed facial hair make for fine finishing touches. This coat would match particularly well with loafers, trainers or boots.
Look 11: Layer effect
More is more, especially when pulled off in a way that makes dressing up so exciting. This was our favourite street-style moment at Pitti Uomo. There are touches of heritage, the strictness of suiting and the whimsy of contemporary clothing. The manner in which the lines of the garments link and intersect is artful. This snapshot could easily pass as an advertising campaign for a luxury label such as Prada.
Look 12: Goody two-shoes
Suits worn with leather shoes (preferably made in Italy) are the norm for many Pitti Uomo veterans, but younger visitors have been showing up in rubber trainers and bulky basketball shoes to match their vibrant suiting and outerwear. They're practical, too, given Florence's cobblestone sidewalks. The peeking polka dot and neon socks do seem gratuitous; we suggest sticking to solid grey and midnight blue pairs.