Style Diaries


David Coggins goes to Florence and Rome in search of Italy's best men's stores.

Sartoria Rossi: You Have Arrived.

It can be difficult to fully understand the Italian male on his own sartorial turf. On the one hand, you admire his innate ease with suede shoes, expressive scarves, and laid-back formality—to say nothing of shock red corduroys. On the other hand, there is an unwelcome fascination (already known to those who wander in Soho) with the parka. You know the one: puffy, black, shiny parka. They’re perfectly happy to line up outside the Moncler store or binge buy at Barneys. Away from the slopes, it’s not a winning look.

Then there’s the strange affinity towards men’s shops with English names. Tie Your Tie and Black Watch are a couple of perfectly decent establishments whose names you’d expect to find in the duty-free section of Gatwick Airport, not the graceful streets of Florence or Venice.

But there’s no cause for despair. Walk into Sartoria Rossi in Florence and you can’t go wrong in any direction: Green velvet sport coats; a Prince of Wales checked suit in a bracing gray and pink combination; peak lapel overcoats you’d like to wear to La Scala; and every shade of gray flannel trouser (aficionados know there are more than you think).

Liverano & Liverano, on Vie Dei Fossi in Florence, is primarily a custom tailor for those who don’t blush at a suit that checks in well north of 2,500 Euros. They have a terrific selection of tweed that will ensure you’ll stand out in any situation. Their jackets have a smart silhouette—narrow shoulder, cut ever so slightly short, and just one discreet dart along the side of the coat, so the look couldn’t be cleaner. Handmade shirts in a vivid gingham? No problem. Unrivaled counsel from the employees? Of course. Is there a better men’s store in the world? Doubtful.

A store like this, and there are many more, are for men who need no convincing to express themselves. And why should they need instruction? When it comes to natural style, they’re the ones who wrote the book.

Liverano & Liverano: Unrivaled Elegance (and just one dart on each jacket).

Custom shirting at Battistoni in Rome...

...and again at Liverano & Liverano: Anything's possible.

The only way to get around Rome: a 1965 Fiat.

Attention to detail: Handmade shoes at Roberto Ugolini, Florence.

The Gritti Palace in Venice: Accept no Substitute.

St. Mark's Square.

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