With a stacked list of superstar clients including Ryan Reynolds, Rami Malek, Bradley Cooper and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, stylist Ilaria Urbinati is a true maestro of men’s fashion.
“When I started out, there were a lot more rules to menswear. People were not paying attention to men’s clothes; they didn’t care or notice,” Urbinati, who got her start as a fashion consultant on Showtime’s “The L Word,” told Page Six Style.
“But these days, there are no rules. The game has changed so much.”
For proof, look no further than Chris Evans’ Prince Charming-inspired look at the 2019 Oscars, or Donald Glover’s brown velvet Gucci suit at the 2017 Golden Globes. Both Urbinati-styled outfits turned heads — and made headlines.
“With menswear, there are more parameters. Trying to work my way out of the box is fun for me,” the wardrobe whiz said, adding that one of her favorite parts of the job is breaking clients out of their comfort zones “just enough that they’re evolving their style.”
“Men are really surprised when they try on something new that they didn’t think would work — and then it does!” she added.
Of course, the fashion pro knows that most guys don’t spend their days posing on red carpets, nor are they able to keep a personal dresser on their payroll. That’s partly what inspired her to launch Leo, her men’s lifestyle website, which celebrated its first anniversary this month.
“I felt that the men’s space was lacking a one-stop shop,” she explained of the site, a passion project she started early in the pandemic.
“You can come here and read about style, but also read about football, a new book or film or podcast, get a cooking recipe or a cocktail recipe, or read about cigars or cars,” she continued. “The rule with Leo is: If it’s something that would appeal to men, it goes.”
Urbinati’s star clients make frequent cameos on Leo, too; The Rock reveals his favorite tequila recipe, for instance, while Joel Kinnaman discusses his love of jiu jitsu and Casey Affleck shares his guide to Boston.
Of course, there’s also a hefty helping of fashion and shopping advice, straight from the stylist herself — who often spotlights trends she’s “geeking out” about, from sweater vests to chunky-soled derby shoes to vintage Missoni cardigans.
But for those not yet ready to invest in the “slightly bohemian old man aesthetic” this season (her words), why not start with the basics? Below, get the scoop on — and shop! — the five easy sartorial staples every man should own, according to Urbinati.
1. A knit polo
“Ideally one with long sleeves, because you can wear by itself and it looks super professional, but it also looks great under a suit or a leather bomber.
“I think that button-ups are something that kind of went away during the pandemic; they’re very uncomfortable for most guys. But a knit polo will be the hardest-working item in their closet.”
2. A slim belt
“A good, slim belt with a slim buckle is really hard to find. Even for me, when I go to stores, it’s almost always big buckles, big wide belts. But I think if you put a slim belt — especially if you can get one in a cool color, like a blue or green — on with a trouser and a sweater, you’re dressed.”
“Burn your skinny jeans! I prefer a pleated, slightly slouchy trouser — and it can still be tapered. Even if it’s a chino, if it’s got trouser pockets on it, it’s automatically a more elevated look than a five-pocket chino, which just looks like a jean.”
4. White low-top sneakers
“I love a simple, clean white sneaker. You can wear it with a peacoat in the winter and that looks awesome; you can wear it in the summer with shorts and it looks awesome. You can even wear it with a suit to a beach wedding.”
“A leather sandal on a guy makes me want to jump out a window. Nobody wants to see your toes!”
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