The Sprezzatuck


You probably heard the news yesterday that Ralph Lauren is stepping down as CEO from the company he founded (fear not, he will remain creative director). His successor comes from — are you ready for this? — Old Navy, so we’ll see if things start veering in a new direction.

Speaking of the world of RL, the new fall magalog is out in print and online, and I noticed that a couple of the guys are wearing their shirts half-tucked. Naturally I had to coin a neologism (my second of the day), in this case, “sprezzatuck.”


Surely you’re familiar with (and possibly sick of) the term “sprezzatura,” but for all you freshman out there, it’s an Italian term that means deliberate nonchalance. Appearing to be unaware that your shirt is only partially tucked in — even though you did it on purpose, which is the whole point —is a perfect example.

This is clearly a millennial thing, but that’s not to say Gen Xers during the preppy ’80s didn’t have their own equivalent. Remember this post from a few years back on the disheveled back collar?


And a couple of generations before that there was the crewneck pulled up straight across the front:


Each generation has its own sprezz. Just imagine what the future holds. — CC

23 Comments on "The Sprezzatuck"

  1. I read the article about the succession plan in NY Times. It was surprising that David didn’t take the helm, or at least someone else from the inside. At any rate, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Considering that Ralph still maintains control of the company through the shares that he holds, I imagine that if this new guy tacks too far off of the tried and true path, he probably won’t be sticking around.

  2. There’s a chasm between studied nonchalance and studied dishevelment. But you have to admit, a half-tucked dicky dirt is funny. And I love the guy inspecting his lady’s teeth. I’ve a sneaking suspicion there’s a tie lurking beneath that “pulled” crewneck, to avoid that ignominious accusation of dressing too casual.

  3. Couldn’t care less about the shirts or sweatpants, that camel coat is beautiful.

  4. I suppose it’s a “liberating” gesture, perhaps signifying the wearer has just had an assignation in a men’s room.

  5. This is potentially interesting territory.

    Men who are really into clothes–and perhaps especially men who write books about clothes–are so neat. Not just them, of course. Neatness seems to prevail among both princes and pawns–the venture capital guy and the manager at the mattress store. Looking at the Caid and Armoury posts–those gents are so, so incredibly neat. Nothing is out of place. And even when it seems they’re engaging in a bit of sloppiness (sweatpants with a blazer), a second glance reveals that it’s so studied–so obsessed over–that the rendered effect is even worse: a well-researched, highly calculated sloppiness. Disheveled, but perfectly so.

    Enter the academics. A study in contrast (of sorts). The Sewanee faculty yearbook pictures. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, complete with wrinkled Brooks button-down collar, rumpled tweeds, uncreased flannel pants, and long hair flowing over the ears. It’s hard to imagine the Senator from New York obsessing in the mirror for hours. Which, of course, makes the “sprezz” all the more appealing. Genuine. Authentic.

    There’s “sprezz,” and then there’s sprezz.

  6. The new boy is from H&M and later from Old Navy (Gap’s downmarket label)…….

    …and, as to some men dressing “neater” than others, men who have valets, like the Prince Of Wales, are also usually “neat”. If one is “neat”, some might think that one has a valet rather than think that one writes books about clothes or works in a clothing shop.

  7. How desperate the need.

  8. a fine example of fad and fashion vs. style

  9. Since your username is “old school,” I assume the fad and fashion is the current RL catalog and the style is the screenshot from the ’80s movie and the real-life guy in the late ’60s?

    So is it the gesture itself or the context?

  10. Do any of these slobs ever go backpacking? Fad is one thing, an expression, mainly. Being obviated by one’s obsession is just…unfortunate. In San Francisco, we’d probably toss them a dollar like all the other street roamers, nice coat not withstanding.

  11. The half-tuck is as least as bad as the untuck-under-sweater (also a favorite of suburban housewives), and one hopes as short-lived.

    As to the new CEO, I have no knowledge of the fellow, but it’s possible he is in to run the busine$$ and not the creative side.

  12. These half-tucked shirts remind me of all these guys who wear the un-done monk-strap shoes: a pathetic contrivance, begging for someone to. Price and comment. Having said that, I’ve also been disappointed to learn that no man west of the Mississippi apparently ever tucks their shirt in at all: in California and Nevada it’s the law or something. As for me, I’m here on the East Coast trying to moderate my chicken-wing intake, seasonally, to accommodate for the fit of my khakis when I tuck in pinpoints versus OCBDs.

  13. “begging for someone to notice and comment.”

  14. Didn’t Old Navy just feature Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a series of advertisements slamming the Ivy Look? Interesting pick by Ralph.

  15. How ELSE can a crew neck Shetland sweater look when worn over a OCBD with tie?

    Yes, I thought it a bit odd that the tie was invisible when I often wore that combination circa 1965-67, but I did it because… well because everyone else wore it the same way. Besides teenagers express their individuality by dressing like everyone ‘s else. And class signaling attire DOES appear odd to those who don’t wear them, but that’s the point of class signaling attire, isn’t it?

    And maybe the tie under the Shetland is like finishing and polishing the UNDERSIDE of a piece of furniture that nobody ever sees, but the craftsman who made it knows its there and takes quite pride in that knowledge.

  16. It’s damn shame that they’re trying to pass off a polo coat with sweatpants.

  17. Paul-i live in Louisiana and always tuck in my shirt. But… as I type this a fellow walked past my window with his shirt untucked. I suppose you’re on to something.

  18. Any thing is bad thing.
    Other than that anything should go, if you can carry it off.
    Otherwise you’re back in the realm of bad things.
    As is trying to carry off too much of a thing.
    It’s a minefield out there.

    Valets – do me a favour. In that world it was your fathers tailor who set the groundwork.

  19. Wait, this explains why millennials don’t tuck their shirts: they haven’t read the how-to book yet:

  20. Did anyone notice anything odd about the navy blazer in the first picture (other than the gaudy crest)?

    It has brass buttons on the body, but horn buttons on the sleeves. Could this be how they are actually selling them?

  21. Perhaps Ivy style vs. Ivy-inspired style would be a
    less controversial way of putting it.

  22. EVAN EVERHART | August 29, 2018 at 2:38 pm |

    While I occasionally (very rarely actually) might leave my shirt un-tucked or go sockless, if kicking around at my house, or running to the corner to pick up an omelet (to eat at home), I would not perpetrate one of those travesties as a contrived attempt at looking like I calculatedly do not care, that’s absolutely gauche and tasteless, ditto not wearing socks with a business suit, or in cold weather, or excessively humid weather when wearing any shoe made of leather (espadrilles and other canvas shoes are a different matter entirely).

    As to that blazer with mixed buttons, it looks like the wearer is too poor or ignorant to properly repair an old jacket – not a look to be emulated by anyone with even the tiniest measure of self respect.

    The cut of the 2nd camel hair polo coat is beautiful and looks much like my vintage one, but the finish of the camel hair leaves much to be desired; it has a fleecey finish and simply was not woven with enough pile to it. A good camel hair in top-coat weight should have a similar hand to melton top coat wool (think a WWII officer’s top coat), or a similarity in pile density, if not finish or hand, to actual heavy silk velvet.

    Sweatpants are for rubes, at least when worn outside of purely athletic pursuits. Pants that have elastic ankles and waist-bands are on a par with shoes which fasten with Velcro, or which have rubber nubbins on their soles. Seriously.

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