In the world of menswear, the famed Italian designer Giorgio Armani owned the 1990s. The stylish silhouette he gave to men’s suits set the tone for menswear design for the 1980s into the mid-90s. For those of us office cubicle plebians who could never afford Armani ‘back in the day,’ there was Gianfranco Ruffini Italy. This modestly priced New York based menswear line may have had Italy on its label, but the suits and sport coats were actually made in Columbia and Indonesia. Nevertheless, Gianfranco Ruffini had that distinct ventless low gorge, broad-shouldered suit/sport coat design that was our entry-level access to Italian style.
Of course, there is no mistaking a low-cost Gianfranco Ruffini sport coat for a much more expensive Italian made Armani or Canali of similar vintage. My Gianfranco Ruffini sport coat shown above appears to be lightweight silk & wool blend (there is no label identifying the fabric) with a rayon lining. The open weave of the fabric makes it suitable for spring/summer. The lining is acetate, and it has fused interlining construction typical of mass-market machine made sport coats. Nevertheless, the jacket has held up well given its age. Made in Indonesia, the pattern has a good fit (in the style of the 90s of course).
By the way, ‘back in the day,’ before hoodie-wearing Facebook CEO’s existed, this is how we ‘creatives’ dressed for work. The executives wore dark suits with regimental ties, the creatives (designers, graphic artists, etc) wore bright floral ties and more colorful sport coats to signal that we were visual idea people…
The second Gianfranco Ruffini jacket I purchased is a wool nailhead tweed (shown below) that uses similar fused construction to the one shown above. This is a heavier weight fabric better suited for the fall/winter. This jacket is new old stock (unworn) and was purchased on eBay for $12.00. It has the low-gorge ventless style as well.
These sport coats are what I like to refer to as ‘daily drivers.’ They would not be my first choice for special occasions but are perfect for day to day dress casual. They fit well, and the quality is good enough. The 90s silhouette is a bit dated but I have no problem with that. Match both jackets with well-chosen slacks, shirts, and ties and they look sharp. A slightly wider tie looks better with sport coats from this era.
You won’t be wearing the cutting edge of fashion when you wear second-hand Gianfranco Ruffini jackets. Nevertheless, these remain stylish sport coats and are low-cost ways to fill out your well-curated second-hand wardrobe. Finally, I would not recommend paying more than $15.00 for a vintage Gianfranco Ruffini sports coat in good condition. They retailed for about $150.00 when new. These are great sport coats for adding some variety to your wardrobe after you have purchased all the basics.