Style Icon: how to dress like Gianni Agnelli

Take your style tips from one of the most stylish men in history...

A lover of art, cars and women, Gianni Agnelli was the quintessential Italian play boy. He had quick wit, a devilish charm and the natural style prowess inherent in only the most debonair of gentlemen.

Agnelli was the oldest son of the Italian industrialist Edoardo Agnelli and Princess Virginia Bourbon del Monte. Named after his grandfather Giovanni Agnelli, the founder of the Italian car manufacturer Fiat, he moved in jet-set circles of yesteryear, leading a glamorous life of parties, yachts, fast cars, and luxurious villas.

Beloved as much throughout Italy as he was the world over, upon his death over 100,000 people (including the president and Prime Minister) made their way to the Fiat headquarters to pay their respects to one of Italy’s most successful businessmen. If the true testament of a man is the number of people at his funeral, then Agnelli beat them all. But his lasting legacy is not just that of a businessman, gentleman or Jet Setter, but for his impeccable and often eccentric sense of style, which continues to influence men today.

Agnelli’s enviable style was a winnin combination of beautifully cut classic suits, combined with nonchalant personal touches. Here are 6 ways to emulate this distinguished gentleman’s style…

How to dress like Agnelli

The double-breasted suit

Agnelli’s signature brand of choice was the iconic Caraceni, with the typically wide lapels of Italian tailoring, a dapper slim-fit and more often than not, a double  breasted jacket. His accessories were always impeccable – with coordinated pocket squares, ties and shirts.

The off-set tie

So much of Agnelli’s style came from the effortless way in which he wore it. One quirk of his was the way his tie was always slightly off-centre, a personal touch that added just the right amount of devil may care attitude to an otherwise elegant ensemble.

Western-style shirt

Agnelli’s off-duty look was as enviable as his formalwear. One key piece in particular was his collection of western shirts – worn with a subtle attitude and often denim jeans, he was an early adopter of the double-denim look.

The perfect jeans

Whilst he was by all accounts the perfect Italian style icon, much of his international influence can be seen in the way he paired his American jeans with sharply cut shirts and blazers, or for a more laid back look would pair with his Western shirt.

Watch over the cuff

Another perfectly personal quirk was the way Agnelli wore his watch – always over his cuff – as he always claimed he didn’t have time to pull back his skirt or jacket cuff to look at a watch beneath it.


An early style maverick, Agnelli never shied away from breaking the “rules” of dressing. As at home in smart leather loafers as he was in rough boots, he was often seen pairing them with his famous grey suits.



Holly Macnaghten is the Fashion Director at The Gentleman's Journal

Further Reading