The appeal of soft Italian tailoring has set style trends in men’s clothing for at least a few decades now. Although the technique is commonly attributed to Giorgio Armani (particularly in the business press), it really goes back to the Rubinacci and Caraceni families in Naples and Rome, respectively. They’re the ones who took the “stuffing out of suits” by using thinner and lighter shoulder pads, reducing the weight of the canvassing and haircloth inside, and striping away the lining.
In popular writing, this technique often gets reduced to a simple description about a “soft shoulder,” but when I think of what makes this style appealing to me, it’s about much more than a shoulder line. Instead, I think of style icons such as Gianni Agnelli (who often wore Caraceni) and Vittorio de Sica (who often wore Rubinacci), as well as the many men who represent Neapolitan style today (Rubinacci, Solito, Ciardi, Panico, etc). The styles worn and created by these men isn’t just about their softer shoulder, but rather the overall “roundness” of their silhouettes.