Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The New Sprezzatura?

It seems the Italians are dying to find new Agnelli-isms.

Apparently leaving the strap of your monkstrap shoes undone is all the rage. Usually I only see it done with double monkstraps, but this brave Italian was throwing caution (and safety) to the wind and had the straps on both shoes undone.

I’m not condoning, just reporting.


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  1. lintmag

    November 19, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Is he trying to set a new trend, or maybe he just forgot? One time I was very tired going to work and didn’t realize until halfway there I had on two different shoes….
    I would love to hear a comment from some of these people on their outfits.

  2. Anonymous

    November 19, 2008 at 9:52 am

    It reminds me of the things kids do at school to show they’re in or not. At my daughter’s school, the kids all criss-cross the velcro straps on their shoes in an X.

  3. tilthecopscome

    November 19, 2008 at 10:05 am

    hmmm… i’ll try it and report back. seems a tad too affected, though…

  4. Anonymous

    November 19, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I live in Milano and have not noted this yet. The trend may be contained therefore to the fashion set, but then again, if I am looking at shoes, they are almost always on women, especially now since the weather has all these fabulous stivali out of the shoe closets of our many beautiful women!

  5. j'taimee

    November 19, 2008 at 10:13 am

    ha. thanks for the afternoon giggle..

  6. The Man Who Knew Too Much

    November 19, 2008 at 10:15 am

    LOVE IT. The shoes are perfection, I want the trousers to be slimmer all-over.

  7. Duncan

    November 19, 2008 at 10:24 am

    The definition of affectation.
    Poor show.

  8. sandman_gr

    November 19, 2008 at 10:45 am

    This reminds me of an architect I met recently who kept his shoe laces undone. I thought he had forgotten and pointed them to him, to which he replied: “No, it’s ok. I like living dangerously”. Pffff… If this is the idea of danger in someone’s life, something’s wrong with him.

  9. maria from sofia

    November 19, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I bet the pic was taken in Verona?! You do not sound judgemental at all, love the color of the pant with light brown, sooo Italian.

  10. Allen - East Hampton

    November 19, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Sart: thanks for saying you’re not condoning it. if this is really a trend it’s reminding me of junior high silliness, certainly not alta moda.

  11. Diana

    November 19, 2008 at 11:08 am

    if I see this picture, i see a rather big man, who´s foot arch is surely little higher than usual. And after a couple of hours in a tight shoe, your foot will be even bigger. The only thing you can think of is to undo the straps to make your feet easy in the shoe.

    this version is surely very far from the new Agnelli-ism….anyway.

  12. eric

    November 19, 2008 at 11:14 am

    great style.
    I do the same but only with my double monks
    thumbs up for that brave guy

  13. Jorge from W Palm Beach

    November 19, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Not cutting it for me. I mean, the straps on a monk strap have a purpose, unlike let’s say, the cinch belt on a trench coat (seldom used) or the waist belt on a biker leather jacket (even more rarely used). There are wonderful loafers out there that have no need for straps. Perhaps, as you say, shoes with 2 straps, you can get away with leaving the top strap off. From conversations with my cobbler, these types of things tend to cause unusual wear of a fine shoe. A high price to pay for one-season affectation. Jorge from W Palm Beach

  14. Drew

    November 19, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I don’t think it counts as starting a new trend when I see kids walking around with their sneaker tongues out. Seems like it’s just moving on to classier footwear.

  15. Anonymous

    November 19, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I do something similar with shoes or boots that lace up. Could be this person has left his straps undone for the same reason: high arch and high instep, and it just hurts to have the straps or laces “done”.

  16. Menco Nieuwenhuis

    November 19, 2008 at 11:44 am

    That could have been me!

    Great look!

  17. Tiffany

    November 19, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I am at a loss with this whole “affectation” rant. I think the word is overused.

    If I had been strapping my monks
    for ten years and then one day decide to leave one undone. Just because, or to be different, aka not wanting to look like everyone else, why is that bad?

    There HAS to be a difference between bucking a trend/the norm and affectation. Especially if it works.

  18. Dominica

    November 19, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    don’t like it !
    It looks messy and bad mannered…
    Would you girls accept a date invitation from a man wearing his shoes like this ?…On sneakers, yeah but not on classic ‘scarpe’ …

  19. tilthecopscome

    November 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    tiffany, personally i think that men’s fashion has deeper roots in pragmatism than women’s fashion. i use the word affected because it was the first one that came to mind when i saw it but pretentious would have worked just as well.

  20. southerngentinL.A.

    November 19, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    amazing shoes! can’t do the loose buckle thing. it’s kinda like guys leaving the label on their coat sleeve……

  21. Jack Daniel

    November 19, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    yay folded pants!

  22. Anonymous

    November 19, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    what’s the italian word for “trying too hard”?

  23. Isobel Saoirse Dylan

    November 19, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    It’s a extremely cool picture, so simple but yet I feel it so much! I like the shoes:)

  24. Anonymous

    November 19, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    southerngentinl.a.: Do you actually see men leaving the label on their coat sleeve?!?! That just seems so comical…

    As for the “rage” of leaving your monkstrap shoe undone– sloppy, sloppy, sloppy and childish. Such affectation should not even be noticed.


  25. Sara Lua

    November 19, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I like the blue slacks + brown shoes. Shows it can be done if the wearer is stylish!

  26. kiwibella

    November 19, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    By leaving his shoes unbuckled, this gentleman looks like he is putting strain on the leather – they may be creased when he takes them off. Where is the strap? Just hanging loose at his instep, being damaged on the street surface?

    Also, it doesn’t do any favours for his trouser cuffs which can’t decide whether to be inside or outside the shoe!

    I think this photo was taken at the end of a hard day when he was wearing his new shoes and his feet were sore. Also his hands in his trouser pockets are giving an unfortunate shape to the top of his trousers. It doesn’t look deliberate to me.

  27. Anonymous

    November 19, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Its also the rage to sag your pants with this look. Match the boxers with the tie. let the heal of the shoe scuff losely as you walk down the sidewalk, yo

  28. kiwibella

    November 19, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    I have the answer! He has just had lunch at a Japanese restaurant!

    Take a look at the creases on the back of his knees. He had to take his shoes off and kneel on the floor. Then when he stood up he slipped his shoes on and was too stiff to bend and do them up.

    Just call me Sherlock ;)

  29. Anonymous

    November 19, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I am hoping he had to leave in a hurry as his lover’s husband came home – he fleeing left while the cuckhold walks in without noticing from the right.

    That would be reason enough for walking around with your shoes open – otherwise I am not sure the point, I think it misses on the style front. I have a hard time getting it at all unless he has a disorder that prevents him from bending over and fastening his shoes and/or is just plain lazy to a degree beyond what most couch potatoes here in the US even aspire to

    Lovely pant length

  30. the quarter rat

    November 19, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Ummm… NO!

  31. UES boy

    November 19, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Remember Run DMC in the 80′s with their unlaced Addidas? I think we can draw some parallels here…..hilarious!

  32. Anonymous

    November 19, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Desperate! Besides, the point of monk-strap shoes is to showcase the buckle and flap; they have to be done up.

  33. Dan in Richmond

    November 19, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    I believe in doing what you like, fashion-wise; But this could easily look affected depending on how you wear it. Here, to me, it looks affected. What could you hope to achieve by this other than looking eccentric? Thanks for the report, though.

  34. Jason

    November 19, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    The shoes . . . Bontoni or Gravati? Can’t tell for sure, but the toe box looks Bontoni to me. Either way, love the depth to that cognac calf. Italians are more expressive in their dress than any other.

  35. Meg

    November 19, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    The best part of this post is just the fact that you said “sprezzatura”.

  36. Austin.Garnett

    November 19, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    I dig it. Your point about safety is a good one – I suppose that depending on the shoe, a guy could walk right out of this style.

  37. bomb.ass.ting

    November 19, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    enough with the ‘affected’ already everyone, it’s cool get over it :P

  38. Anonymous

    November 19, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Che brutta figura!
    The back of these buckles are not nicely finished. Would be best to pull the strap though.
    Silly man.

  39. Anonymous

    November 20, 2008 at 12:26 am

    wow do people know what sprezzatura is? I didn’t know it was ever used in a modern context and only know it from my art history days.

  40. 6-J

    November 20, 2008 at 5:35 am

    The Agnelli “watch over shirt cuff” style was indeed rooted in pragmatism and had an element of convenience. Here the convenience of not strapping the buckle is offset by the loose shoe.

    The previous poster finds it cool. I remain deeply skeptical. The same logic of cool could just as well reason that it is cool to walk around with one’s fly open. While it could litteraly be “cool”, esp. in winter, it would not strike me as cool style wise.

  41. Anders

    November 20, 2008 at 7:19 am

    isn´t F1-mogul Bernie Ecclestone famous for wearing his monkstraps undone?

  42. Anonymous

    November 20, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    This is different. Different is interesting. Stephanie

  43. Luiz Guilherme

    November 20, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    hahahah Scott you know your readers, very funny of to remind us that you are just informing!

  44. Resplendato

    November 21, 2008 at 11:10 am

    What about the un-laced Converse All Stars that are so popular now?

  45. palbi

    November 23, 2008 at 12:00 am

    as a proud Italian, I’m not digging it

  46. Stoner Lines

    November 23, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Ugly “trend” that’ll never become a trend. You can’t be a formal and try to wear your formal shoes like you’re hip and trendy, it just doesn’t go hand in hand. You wanna be trendy? wear some trendy shoes and THEN unbuckle them.

  47. Anonymous

    December 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    It is a bit affected but you have to appreciate the effort. We should all attempt to subvert our own fashion sensibilities with a dash of creative adjustment. The awkward and the odd are what push the trend conscious to be trend setters. Don’t be afraid to mismatch, unbutton, and let go. Plus, I love monk-straps however you wear them.

  48. holla

    January 5, 2009 at 7:10 am

    sprezzatura… i love it

  49. James Cardinell

    January 6, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Sometimes I don’t buckle my monks, just because it’s easier to get out of the house- if they fit well, they slide on just a little easier than loafers, and should stay snug.

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  52. louis

    August 5, 2010 at 5:53 am

    I think its a pretty good idea not that there aren't other sites out there that already do something similar but I think it might catch on here pretty well.

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    August 7, 2010 at 7:00 am

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    December 18, 2010 at 6:49 am

    haha seems like a great way to trip over rather then a fashion statement.
    Very nice blog BTW

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