Skip to Main Content
Style January 22nd, 2024

Introducing: Rome In Black & White

Style January 22nd, 2024

An Editorial Series Highlighting Our Black & White Shop

I must admit that this post — and the accompanying series we’ll be rolling out over the next few weeks — is very exciting for me. It represents a renaissance for He Spoke Style and a return to telling the types of stories we want to tell in the way we want to tell them. Getting back to this sort of editorial has been a goal of ours for a number of years and now, with both Rob and I retired from the Army and the exceptional new website we launched in September, it feels really good to finally have it become a reality.

So what is this, exactly?

As you know, the HSS Shop is one of the things we are most excited about and proud of as we enter this new era. But the manner in which I go about choosing what we offer in the Shop is quite different than any made to measure program you are likely familiar with.

Rather than offering everything under the sun, I take a very design-based approach to our offerings. As a Libra, I always found it incredibly difficult in any MTM situation because of the number of options I’d be presented with. Here’s a book of 50 different gray fabrics, choose one! It’s something that I’ve heard over and over again from other guys as well. Give me a menu and let me pick from that.

So that’s what we do.

(I mean, we’ll make whatever you want, but isn’t this much easier?)

Each of our collections — S/S and A/W — are designed with an overarching theme in mind. And sometimes there are micro collections within the entire range, such as the Black & White shop, which is what we’ll be featuring over the next few weeks.

Each of the five editorials in this series was shot in Rome. It’s a city that is the embodiment of the ethos that underpins everything we do at HSS — classic with a modern sensibility. And in the case of Rome, we’re talking very classic! I wanted to portray timeless elegance and all of the adventure, possibility, and intrigue one imagines a well-dressed and well-traveled modern man may experience on his journey.

We begin with a martini at the Anita Lounge & Bar in my favorite Rome hotel, the chic and luxurious InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace. It was the perfect setting for a relaxed and sophisticated cocktail attire outfit, featuring our black and white houndstooth sport coat.

The Look

If I was to choose a mantra for 2024, it would be to embrace a certain type of casual elegance and to not wait for opportunities to dress in that manner, but to make more situations the occasions I want them to be. It’s something my wife and I fully embrace for our annual New Year’s Eve dinner reservation — formalwear all the way — but in the past, I’ve often been a victim of wearing what I think I should wear rather than what I necessarily wanted to wear.

I love the idea of “casual elegance” as a dress code because it provides a bridge of sorts between business casual attire and formalwear. So when you might feel like making something more of an occasion than business casual attire would allow and a tuxedo or dinner jacket feels like you’d be going a little overboard, that’s when you activate casual elegance mode.

How would I define it?

Like a martini, it’s all about simplicity. The simplest looks are always the most elegant, especially when you’re dealing with black and white. A black cashmere turtleneck paired with black flannel trousers and black Oxfords provides an extremely solid foundation. In these types of scenarios, I’ve taken to always tucking my sweater into my trousers. I find it to be neat, clean, and very chic.

Channeling my inner Cary Grant

When you start with a blank canvas like that, you afford yourself endless opportunity when considering how to complete the look. You could certainly opt to keep things simple — nothing wrong with that — but in this particular situation, which involves a classic cocktail at an incredibly stylish bar, I feel like going in a more playful, yet still elegant, direction is apropos.

And that’s where our new black and white houndstooth sport coat comes in.

The Black & White Houndstooth Sport Coat

I designed our black and white houndstooth sport coat with a cocktail attire moment — or any other casually elegant situation, for that matter — in mind. It’s a bold pattern, but somehow classically understated at the same time. It’s the jacket I’ll reach for when I want something with a little more panache than a “standard” sport coat but not something as formal as a dinner jacket, for example.

The cloth is from the Gladson New York Snowflake collection. It’s a wool and cashmere blend in a twill weave, which feels soft and luxurious. And with a weight of 340 grams, it’s also substantial enough to keep you warm during the winter months.

I’ve styled it with a notch lapel and patch pockets with an eye towards versatility and also to retain a sense of casual playfulness. Were you to envision this as more of a “formal” piece, you might consider going with a peaked lapel and jetted pockets. However, for me and how I would generally wear it, keeping the jacket styling more casual makes sense as I feel the black and white houndstooth pattern provides more than enough “formal” counterbalance.

Thanks for coming along on our first of five posts in the Rome In Black & White series, highlighting our Black & White Shop. And thanks, as always, for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa

Brian Sacawa is the Founder of He Spoke Style and one of the original men’s style influencers. Since 2013, his goal has remained the same: to provide men the advice and inspiration they need to dress well, develop their personal style, and gain more confidence. Brian’s interest and passion for men’s style and luxury watches has led to his writing for The Robb Report, The Rake, and Sotheby’s and he has been quoted on menswear in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Brides Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He lives in the woods north of Baltimore with his wife, Robin, kitties Nick and Nora, and German Shepherd/Collie mix Charlie.

All Posts

Edited by Rachel Butler

Photography & Videography by Rob McIver

Video Color Grading by Ian Johnston

Location by InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace


I think it apt to begin this post with a Negroni analogy.

For those who’ve often wondered from afar just what exactly Pitti Uomo is all about, well, it’s pretty much an equal parts cocktail.