'For starters, the Über-Euro male (UE) would never be seen carrying a man bag. He's a car keys, wallet and Marlboro Light carrier. Here's the subtext: "I drive an Audi/Aston/BMW/vintage Merc; my wallet (ancient Gucci, or more recent Bottega Veneta or Valextra) is full of platinum credit cards that, given my credit rating, I could never max out; and yes, I smoke, particularly in places I'm not meant to, during dinner, after a squash match and long before I remove my jacket or anything else on intimate or formal occasions."
The UE favors hair that is a little too long at the back. He likes the way the slight unruliness hints at youth and active endeavors (and he figures you will want to run your hands through it). His hair never looks freshly washed, neither does it look dirty. He uses a gentleman's pomade—likely the Blue Pomade hair wax from Geo. F. Trumper (£18)—to get that tousled look, and he has a barber in every city, who gets scissor-happy at his peril. His aftershaves are Creed (from £143 for 75mL), Aqua di Parma (from £47 for 50mL) and, more recently, Tom Ford, who is adept at creating great-smelling "old man/old school" fragrances (from £45 for 50mL).
Doriani in Milan is the store of choice for the Euro male. This old-school Italian tailor supplies him with his cashmere sweaters in vaguely feminine shades and his outré sport coats and ties. Blazers are the universal uniform of the UE (and his South American counterparts). But these are not finely fitted Gieves & Hawkes or even Dunhill models, complete with shiny gold buttons; they are deconstructed numbers from places like Brunello Cucinelli (linen, wool and silk, from £1,495), Boglioli (from £495) and Canali (water-resistant "Travel" blazer, £695). This type of blazer suggests confidence and a great physique, for only a man in good shape can wear deconstructed jackets without looking like a rumpled university professor.
My fashion friend describes the other part of the universal uniform of the UE thus: "This sort of superior Euro never wears socks in his suede driving shoes [Tod's, £235, or Car Shoe, £240]. He never gets a blister and his feet never smell. It's miraculous, really, but not quite as miraculous as the fact that Über-Euros never seem to put on weight and they are often kitted out in suits left to them by their father." Apparently, the UE is not an underwear man. "Commando," my friend says, decisively. "I think there's a special talcum powder that they wear to smooth the creases, from Santa Maria Novella."
A slightly baggy bottom in one's trousers and jeans is another sure Über-Euro indicator. UEs don't show off their physiques (they like to think women are attracted to their magnetic personalities and, anyway, they leave the "cute butt" stuff to the regular Euros). As a result, their jeans tend to be rather old-fashioned in cut (high) and make (Armani, or Acne if they are really pushing the envelope). If it's not jeans, then it's chinos, and here's where they will fly the American flag, with Ralph Lauren Black Label (£235).
UEs wear white to offset their omnipresent tans—but shirts only, and these are strictly from Charvet (cotton Oxford, £285), which they team, top button open, with everything from jeans to suiting. Incidentally, the UE does not sunbathe, he multitasks with an activity and a BlackBerry in hand—skiing, sailing and big-game hunting are all UE pursuits—and he eschews the gym for a game of squash (at Mayfair's Bath & Racquets club) or a run along the Seine, the Thames or the Hudson in his age-old Nikes, his Sunspel shirt and his baggy Fila tennis shorts.
While contemplating the suiting of the UE at Savile Row tailor Spencer Hart, which certainly has its fair share of UEs (one of whom, when he last visited, bought 15 suits in one go), I bump into man-about-town and stylist Tom Stubbs. "Stubbs," as he is affectionately known, has the air of a Dickensian dandy and a razor-sharp insight into the buying habits of his clientele. He knows what I'm talking about immediately.
"There are two types of Euro—the trendy and the classic. You're talking about the classic—the man with very expensive tastes and lifestyle, and enormously successful to boot," he says. Well, yes, but what do they do about their tailoring? "Spencer Hart, Cucinelli (the 1½-breasted suits), Rubinacci, Zegna or an old family tailor in Milan. Jackets from Piombo and Kitsuné, ties from Alexander Olch or Charvet (knitted silk)." Stubbs has definite views on the accessories of the UE, too. "Persol sunglasses, vintage Rolex 'Daytonas' on their wrist. If they wear a belt, it's the Hermès 'H,' and they always have lots of friendship bracelets to show they are spiritual, carefree types." I'm congratulating Stubbs on his insights when he stops me mid-conversation. "And, of course," he says, "they have a new poster boy." I'm guessing Lapo Elkann or Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann. Stubbs has other ideas. "Roberto Mancini," he says of the cashmere-scarf-wearing Manchester City manager. "It's gotta be him."'
"The Universal Uniform of Über-Euro Males: How to Perfect the Tanned, Sockless, White Shirt, Cashmere Sweater Look of This Billionaire Subclass," Wall Street Journal, 18 May 2012
Copyright 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc