5 ways to channel your inner Italian in the Middle East
Have you ever noticed how even the most casually dressed men strolling around Milan look like they're fresh off the runway? Sure, they may have good looks and everlasting hair, but we'd put money on the fact that the unparalleled suave of the Italian man has at least something to do with their heritage.
Let's face it, we've all experienced the occasional pang of jealousy when taking note of the effortless charm, confidence and style of our continental counterparts. Who hasn't imagined himself having an Italian makeover, a la Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley? Hell, the Italians even have a word for that air of considered nonchalance they all do so well: sprezzatura.
If you really want to be more Italian, we'd recommend taking up residency in the country for a decade or two (we've heard Positano is quite nice). But just in case you're scared of commitment – or you know, have a job or a partner – there are a few ways to take a subtler approach.
Read on for five ways we can all be more Italian.
Italy is famous for designer fashion for a reason. The culture champions quality - you're not going to find sloppy tailoring or poor-quality fabrics in a country that prides itself on being the birthplace of the dapper, debonaire gent.
That Italian way is very much reflected in the Tod's range of expertly handcrafted, unmistakably Italian shoes and accessories. Quality, tradition, seamless functionality and passion, all come together to make the Winter Gommino Boot or Gommino Driving Shoe an essential daily staple - something that Esquire saw in action when we visited Tod's factory in Le Marche.
Just like the area itself, with its storied history and beautiful landscape, Tod's marry classics and modernity with a firmly Mediterranean touch. That's not to say the Italians leave it at the basics: all of Tod's' signature accessories have an unmistakable flair.
The Italian man simply doesn't understand shy and retiring. Effortlessly charming, brimming with charisma and bold (but never overbearing), you won't catch an Italian blustering and apologising for someone else stepping on his foot.
Carry yourself with that air of confidence, make - and crucially, maintain - eye contact, and don't be afraid to make an impression. The key to striking the balance is that Italian men, contrary to stereotypes, often listen more than they talk. It's not about shouting the loudest; it's about saying what you mean and meaning what you say, unapologetically.
Enjoy the experience
Italians aren't ones to do anything quickly. You won't see many men strolling the streets of Turin with a paper cup of coffee. No, an Italian man takes his espresso a presto, leaning against the counter, sipping while discussing the news with the barista. Likewise, wine is savoured, each sip enjoyed, chosen to complement the flavours of the meal, and never scrimped on. And - just ask any uomo da Milano - there is no such thing as a quick meal.
If you're really in a rush, you might not linger over your food, but you'll still choose the boldest, best flavour. A little bread, olive oil, tomato, mozzarella and basil - simple, clean and classic.
Learn to relax
There's a reason men on the Med lead such fantastically long lives - most of them are very mellow. Stress doesn't really exist in the Italian language, and if tempers are raised, it's in the passionate sense, rather than in the huffing and puffing way. Holidays are paramount, with many Italians taking all of August off. While we can't promise your HR team will swing for that, taking a whole uninterrupted week off is a good place to start - and keep your emails off.
Also, take your lunch hour. The Italians generally eat al fresco, not al desko. There's nothing relaxing about gulping down mouthfuls of soggy sandwich in front of the blue light of your computer - take the time, relax, go stroll - and be gone 60 minutes.
Channel your passion
Relationships, whether those are platonic, familial or romantic, are of utmost importance to Italian men. Unafraid to speak their minds or say how they feel (see point two), Italians always wear their heart on their sleeve and make the special people in their lives feel, well, special.
Take time out to make sure the people closest to you know how important they are - a simple 'thinking of you' text can work wonders to strengthen a romantic relationship, or remind your mum that even though you don't visit so much, she is on your mind.