Interest in menswear has possibly never been as great as today with new blogs, magazines and shops flourishing on all continents. Tailors from Asia and Europe are touring the world to offer their own vision of craftsmanship and elegance to savvy gents who prefer the handmade over the industrial.
Motivated by this trend, even graduates and young managers are resigning from well-paid banking and consulting jobs to embrace the less flattering life of a menswear salesmen. As an unfortunate side effect, made-to-measure “tailoring” shops are popping up like mushrooms in every European capital month after month, selling the “bespoke” experience despite having no knowledge of the meaning of the word, much less the know-how it takes to deliver on their promises.
While I salute the courage of the enterprise, I laugh without empathy at the opportunistic behavior and the lack of appropriate training of many so-called “menswear experts” that rarely know how alterations should be done, and who blindly venture into unknown territories, dragging avid customers into a spiral of despair and disappointment.
Other entrepreneurs take a safer approach (than described above) and create online stores specializing mostly in accessories, with varying degrees of success. I’ll readily admit that two of such online retailers are very convincing in their endeavors: Viola Milano and Exquisite Trimmings (with the latter to be introduced and reviewed in a future article).
Viola Milano began as a men’s bracelet retailer, mainly marketing stone beads. While I used to steer clear of men’s jewelry, apart from timepieces, I must confess my affinity for Viola Milano’s bracelets, which go particularly well with sport watches like the Rolex Explorer, the Daytona or the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet.
This great idea of “pairing” watches with bracelets by the Viola Milano team is one of the keys to their success—with a strong Tumblr account showing luxury watches worn with their bracelets. Even if this particular style does not appeal to all gentlemen, Viola Milano thankfully also offers a fantastically well-curated selection of cashmere repp and printed silk ties with muted paisleys and discreet florals.
The manufacturing quality of these Italian-made ties rival that of Drake’s of London, though unfortunately at a similar price tag. Viola Milano’s ties come in different constructions: namely in three, six or seven folds, and the finishing is excellent, as one would expect for their price range.
The fact that such established names as Michael Jondral in Hamburg or The Finery Company in Sydney endorse the brand is a clear indication of the quality of their products. While browsing in a physical shop may be a nicer experience, ordering online remains easier for those of us who do not live near such great retailers.
Quality alone, however, does not guarantee success (just ask Sulka…), but Viola Milano has smartly factored this fact into their strategy by insisting on both quality and variety — the brand’s tie-fabric selection is one of the very best that exists on the market today.
Upon receiving my order, I was hit by a strong realization : dark green may well be an awfully underrated color ! And so, the model I purchased quickly became my preferred tie for Spring and Summer.
Granted, Viola Milano’s products don’t come cheap, but the brand remains a solid and safe option. So don’t forget to tell Santa about it, he might slip a tie or two in your holiday stocking…
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Viola Milano Website