Fresco & Flannel Combination

Fresco & Flannel Summer Outfit

In the past, we have written about Fresco fabric – the ideal summer cloth with built in ventilation, and flannel  – a soft, brushed fabric that is typically associated with the colder times of the year. However, today there are a number of relatively light fabrics available that are worsteds but feel very similar to flannel – and they look great in combination with fresco.

Fresco Flannel Outfit 1930's as seen on the island Brioni

Fresco Flannel Outfit 1930’s as seen on the island Brioni

Fresco & Flannel

Most people would probably never think about combining a coat made of porous and coarse fresco fabric with a smooth looking pair of slacks, especially not during summertime. However, this look was supposedly invented on the island of Brioni in the Italian Adria. Apparently, elegant polo spectators were the first to adapt the outfit of a fitted, double breasted navy coat with a pair of gray and white chalk stripe or rope stripe pants. Unlike a blazer, it was tailored like a regular suit jacket with the exception of the 6×1 button configuration, which would later become popular as the Kent Fasson – meaning that just the lowest button is buttoned. Since the closing button is placed under the natural waistline, it creates the optical illusion of a longer torso.

Flannel & Fresco Fashion Illustration

As you can see in our illustration from 1938 on the right, this gentleman has the typically wide shoulders for the time period as well as the famous spalla camicia – the so-called “shirt shoulder” because both seams on the shoulder are folded towards the shoulder, creating the look of a natural sleevehead. Apart from that, the gorge sits a little lower than on many jackets today but that was very normal in the 1930’s. Also, the lapels are wide, with a little bit of belly to them. Most importantly, this gentleman wears a traditional white carnation boutonniere flower, which heightens the seasonality of his ensemble. Paired with a light blue shirt, white tie, pocket square, Panama hat, full cut gray flannel slacks and black / white spectator shoes, this outfit was meant to be worn during the day in the summer, either at sea or on the weekends. Note, the besom pockets line up perfectly with the lowest button row, the cuffs fit the coat sleeves perfectly and despite the warm temperature, he has unlined gloves with him. What do you think of an outfit like this?

9 replies
  1. Ahmed Sajeel says:

    Elegant … but the weight and thus practicality of such fabrics in warmer weathers can now come into question.

  2. Manuel Carvalho says:

    Fantastic, definitely one of my favourite decades for sartorial culture. And congratulations for your insightful detailed observations. Is it possible to learn a bit more about “spalla camicia”, a concept I was unaware of?

  3. Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken says:

    The only thing I don’t like about this outifit is the idea of wearing a black coat in summer.

  4. nik ismail almurtadza says:

    You speaks of lightweight flannels.I have several trousers in 280/300grms from the Zegna Premium Flannel book.It wears and drapes very well.A bit warm though(still wearable in summer) even in that weight.I guess flannel is a warm type cloth.
    The color of your fresco is unique,can it also be called a French Blue?As for illustration,an elegant way to dressed casually.


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