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STYLING

HOW TO PERFECT THE PANINARO LOOK

By Libby Banks, 29 September 2017

The style that began in a Milan sandwich bar is back. Inspired by Ivy League schools, but with a definite Italian twist, the Paninaros of the early 80s created a subculture that was brightly coloured and heavily branded. It’s hard to get your head around just how rebellious eating a sandwich could be, but the snack was a controversial symbol of Americanisation that trampled on traditional Italian values. The Paninaros’ fast food lifestyle and bold aesthetic served as a rejection of the drabness of urban life and political strife in Italy at the time.

Model wearing an oversized puffer jacket, a half-zip top, cropped trousers and white sneakers | ASOS Style Feed

Essential item

For any self-respecting Paninaro, the ultimate must-have was a brightly coloured puffer jacket. Bold colour-blocking was the backbone of the look. Done right, the puffer was layered over a logo sweatshirt and worn with Timberlands and Burlington socks.

Model wearing an oversized puffer jacket, a half-zip top, cropped trousers and white sneakers | ASOS Style Feed

For a modern take, choose an oversized puffer style, and wear with a half-zip top. Cropped trousers, ideally bringing some pattern to the mix, takes the styling to the next level.

 Model wearing a high-necked T-shirt, stonewashed jeans and an oversized puffer jacket | ASOS Style Feed

Details, details…

Like any subculture, the signifiers of being part of the Paninaro can be imperceptible to outsiders. For the uninitiated, the look could be written off as an iteration of American normcore, but there are subtle markers for those in the know. 

 Model wearing a high-necked T-shirt, stonewashed jeans and an oversized puffer jacket | ASOS Style Feed

T-shirts should be high-necked, loose-cut, tucked in and boldly coloured with even bolder slogans. Jeans are stonewashed and finish above the ankle. To finish? Layer with an oversized puffer, obviously.

Model wearing a FIla windcheater, white chinos, purple socks and white trainers | ASOS Style Feed

Cult of the logo

The Paninari developed their own status symbols, and worshipped at the altar of sportswear labels or bygone cult brands like By American or Best Company. Eventually, the look travelled north, where it was adopted by the Brit football casuals of the late 80s and early 90s.

Model wearing a FIla windcheater, white chinos, purple socks and white trainers | ASOS Style Feed

Pictures: ASOS

Today, we’re seeing a revival of Italian heritage sportswear brands like Diadora, Ellesse and Fila. A logo windcheater is a perfect nod to the look, especially when worn with white chinos, socks and trainers.

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