Marika Barbie + Tuscany

The Florence Contribution to Men’s Fashion

Florence is often associated with the rebirth of culture, having become the cradle of the Renaissance. As I read 4,000 pages of Machiavelli in college, I have always held a certain fascination with this city.

Despite all the lessons of medieval diplomacy and Renaissance politics, what I did not learn in college was the Florentine influence on menswear!

Already by the 12th century, the great-grandfather of the 3-piece suit had appeared on the scene in the form of a long doublet—the snug-fitting buttoned jacket. This garment was donned with a mantel and leggings (tight-fitting hose).

By the Renaissance, the doublet had become shorter, exposing the leggings, which made Florentine menswear scandalous to the outsider! Oftentimes, this look was accompanied by long hoods.

In the 14th century, silk made its way to Italy and Florence emerged as the fashion capital of the world. Drawing from the French Gothic influence, the Florentine look was elongated and sumptuous.

By the 15th and 16th centuries, tunics were no longer popular. If worn, however, they were tight and short like a shirt with a belt tied around the waist.

Now, Florence is home to one of the most prestigious menswear trade shows in the world: Pitti Uomo.

Photo Public Domain.

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