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If Stanley Tucci’s new show Searching for Italy, which concluded its first season on CNN in March, is a love letter to the country’s food, his clothing throughout the season is a love letter to Italian style.
All season, Tucci’s wardrobe suited the landscape he traversed. He spent much of his time in Italy marveling over how a few unpretentious ingredients can come together to make something divine, and so it’s fitting that he would likewise explore Italy dressed in a way that is both simple and—sorry, I’ve got to say it—a feast for the eyes.
Throughout the season, Tucci explores Italy from the tip to the toe of the boot, eating his way through the country, and absorbing Italian culture through the eyes of the people who know and love it most. And he does it all in enviable style. In his wardrobe of luxurious staple items in rich cool tones, Tucci doesn't look like an American tourist; instead, he looked like a sharp Italian local, with a classic continental uniform.
All of Tucci’s outfits have one throughline: impeccable tailoring and fabrics. As he strolls through cobblestones streets or pulls up a chair in the kitchen of a family home, his clothing appears molded to his frame. Granted, Tucci is not exactly a hard man to dress – some light googling indicates he’s around 5’8", and it’s not unnoticeable that the man works out. And he’s presumably got the benefit of a costumer and tailor to work with as well. Still, his style on the show is definitively Tucci; if you follow him on Instagram, you know that the man can dress.
Perhaps most importantly, he nails the details. His trousers are midrise, true to more traditional tailoring; they flatter both his height and his trim frame. They are usually navy or tan, and never worn without a belt. His shirts are tucked in, almost without exception. And this is key because it’s that combination of a midrise slack with a perfectly tailored and tucked shirt that creates a delicate balance of proportion and line. Those shirts themselves are simple, solid button downs or refined knits; some of my favorite looks include white linen shirts tucked into simple blue slacks, or a close-fitting navy polo worn tucked into a light tan slack. In cooler temperatures he layers luxurious knits with soft sport coats; he’ll pair turtlenecks and half-zip sweaters with a classic oil cloth jacket or a simple navy peacoat. The effect is less TV host than dapper, relaxed vineyard owner.
Crucially, everything he wears exudes an easy sex appeal and comfort. He’s like the hot dad that you might stand next to at the hotel bar on holiday. He looks like he smells great, but not overly cologned; he’s youthful and modern without trying too hard and you can’t help but notice he’s sporting quite the physique, made all the more alluring by the fact that his clothing is not designed to show that off but rather to complement it.
But Tucci’s style also stands out among his fellow travel show hosts, who often lean into the, well, travel element of their job—dressing in soft and packable clothing that looks like it was just pulled from a suitcase. Tucci, however, looks like the kind of man who hangs all his clothing neatly in his hotel room when he arrives, and who no doubt steams, and perhaps even irons, everything before wearing it. But he never looks stiff or overly formal; simply neat and clean in a way that communicates that he cares about how he looks. Fashion, presentation, and attention to detail are pillars of Italian culture; even when he visits people’s homes for casual dinners, the table linens are always crisp, the dishware always beautiful. And so Tucci’s rather styled approach to the travel host aesthetic is a nod both to the Italian way of life, and an expression of his own lineage.
At the same time, Tucci’s travels around Italy are largely marked by a lack of pretense. Sure, he visited wealthy families and prestigious restaurants, but he was met with warmth and ease everywhere. The show's core is an embrace of the simple things—good food, good company. And in some ways, Tucci’s wardrobe of refined but unostentatious staples reflects this simplicity as well. You could imagine his pieces hanging in one big closet. This, of course, is the beauty of uniformed dressing: the knowledge that on any given day, you can pair a trouser and shirt and jacket without fuss or anxiety and still know that the world will see you as well-dressed. It’s the Italian understanding that clothes—like ingredients in a good dish—are not meant to overpower, but to work together in pleasureful harmony.
Originally Appeared on GQ