style + substance // Franco Mazzetti

Mr. Mazzetti has the honor to be the first man featured in style + substance. Another of my Insta-friends at first sight, he has always stroke a chord of the "Borrow from the Boys" chapter of the book. 

I couldn't help but wonder, besides "What would Leopoldo say" how can I infuse some drops of Italian style testosterone? Because Italian men are as opinionated in style as much as we are. I can prove it with my younger brother. 

So here you go and you can indulge in his sprezzatura life style on his Instagram profile and read along: a man with no secrets. 



Style + substance = empowerment. Are you on board?
FM - Totally agree. Two indispensable ingredients although of different nature. Unfortunately style is not out for sale. Style, or class, is something that you either have or not, you can be elegant and dressed up with expensive clothing without having a drop of style. Equally true, one can wear clothing of a small monetary value and look extremely elegant. As per “substance” it is a derivate of knowledge and it’s represented by the easiness with which you create an outfit and consequently your image.

Everybody has a “comfort zone” a certain number of typology of clothing and accessories that make you feel at ease in your own skin. Around these staples is where you create the look that makes you feel confident in any situation. For me, I always try to combine colors harmonically yet without being obnoxiously clashing and, wearing almost every day a blazer I feel at ease with a vest and a pochette. The goal is to create combinations pleasant to the eye yet not flashy.

Your personal style in three words

FM - Style, simplicity and comfort, or like many like calling it, “sprezzatura”


How did you become an image consultant

FM - There’s a fact that people always attributed me  a hefty dose of style and good taste, but also, having to do with clothing for many years has made me, to my friends’ eyes, a valued expert to go to when in need of help. With the passing years, I helped friends and then friends of friends and from pure passion sparkled my profession. Obviously one thing is helping a friend with putting together an outfit and one thing is helping a person whom you don’t know with adapting and manipulating the wardrobe they have into something they like and feel comfortable in.

On shopping with a purpose

FM - The collaboration with the image consultant passes through a series of necessary steps. First you need to be the listener to understand what are the objectives, lifestyle, read the personality, aspirations and how much they are willing to change.

Then you establish the less disruptive necessary solutions to better their image. It’s a balance of knowledge and good taste, but never an imposition of one’s own style. The end of the route is when the client has acquired enough knowledge to make their own educated choices, purchases, and that only happens after the first sessions of personal shopping experiences. One of the advantages of the experience with a personal shopper is to be exposed to the reality that is most tailored to one’s own lifestyle, desires and budget, that is small factories and artisans that make, for example, made to measure shoes.


Do you feel like sharing one secret?

FM - Frankly, there are no secrets, only experience and good taste shared with the only purpose to not impose them, but to blend and filter them to their best use. One consideration though, you don’t better your own image by simply changing and switching clothing, there is an ingredient that can never be forgotten, that is good manners. To say it with the words of American politician Henry Ward Becker "Clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance".

Your relationship with fashion: single, married, it’s complicated or …

FM - As an "attempato gentiliomo" at first impulse I’d say I am separated but living under the same roof. Obviously I follow trends and I keep myself updated, but on a personal basis I keep a classic vein rarely influenced by fashions. It is true we cannot live without being exposed to what fashion proposes. For example until a couple of seasons ago, man clothing were slim (sometimes too slim) and extremely reduced volumes, with short and slim paletot. The new trends have declared a visible increase in volumes and longer coats and trenches. Hence, my wardrobe has grown in length and width gradually and quite unconsciously. This is still following la moda.

What’s the one thing a woman should do to feel powerful?

FM - An extremely difficult question, since iI don’t believe we should generalize, every woman has her own character and personality. The reach of a good dose of confidence in oneself depends on a complex series of factors. There’s something I have noted and,I am sorry it can sound cliche’, but that can transform in a manner of a few seconds the attitude of every woman, a sort of miracle, it’s a 6 inch heel. You assist at a sort of transfiguration, when those few inches of elevation change attitude and walk, give the perception of a confident person that even wants to show off his own confidence.  

When did you find your confidence?

FM - The fact that I have always been able to wear with grace my own clothing gave me enough confidence but always with a certain “unconsciousness” I have found that I have a certain appeal later in life.  This frankly has helped design my profession, however I have always kept a dose of auto-irony, not to take myself too seriously. That people appreciates and notes my way of dressing is a bit agee. In this (ugly) period of puffer and sneakers, a man in jacket and tie creates some awe and I go back to a few decades ago, when my style of dressing was the same but it was normal encountering in the streets of Florence man elegantly dressed that would provoke scandal, because it was all normal.

When women “borrow from the boys”, what’s the look or item you appreciate the most interpreted by a woman?

FM - Personally I love seeing women dressed like women, but it’s true that women borros items from a man’s wardrobe. I am still remembering a woman dressed in jeans, nude stiletto and a double breasted oversized Burberry trench, exaggeratedly cinched at the waist, and the overall effect was fantastic. I don’t have a favorite item that I prefer seeing interpreted by a woman, but that young woman I remember clearly.


Is there anything that you constantly see we do wrong?

FM - I think the worst mistake is to hide one’s flaws in the wrong way. A non lean figure hidden under shapeless dresses, a shorter woman wearing disproportionally high platforms. A dress or suit adequately cut and tailored enhances the best parts of the body and veils the unflattering parts better than a tent-like one.  I have met a young woman, petite, wearing ballerinas with confidence and irony. She was extremely “simpatica” and her manners were cordial and positive that the last thing I would remember about her was her height. The secret to hide our own flaws is not to try to hide them (often done in a goofy way) but to focus on our better parts and elements of our bodies shifting focus from what we think is not flattering.  

Which irritates you more and why: “Sustainable fashion is boring” or “Fashion is frivolous”

FM - I think I am more irritated by the assumption that fashion is frivolous. Putting aside for a moment the fact what fashion and Made in Italy represent for our economy and reputation, I believe that following fashion and trends is a way to show who we are and how we relate to the others. Fashion is a business card for most of us, obviously it must be calibrated with good taste, especially for who is not a teen anymore, you and still be modern and current without decaying into ridiculous.