Are you already thinking of planning a future trip in Italy and wanting to mix with the locals or are you just simply curious about the (correct) Italian way of dressing? In terms of fashion, although each region in Italy has its own handicraft as well as climatic peculiarities, even if globalisation has led to some trends spread worldwide, it is still possible to trace the preferences that Italians generally express when they open a wardrobe or when making a choice in a fashion store. As a native Italian myself, let's go over the basics.
It is important that your closet doesn't miss a neutral palette that includes colours like black, white, brown, and camel mainly for the autumn/winter season and pastel colours for autumn/summer, although beige, grey, cream, and white can work all year round depending how you have coordinated your outfit.
Neutrals can be used as a background for brighter colours or detailed fabrics .
In general however, don’t make large use of very bright and showy colours.
General rule of thumb: Do not insert more than one bold color or print in your outfit, unless they really go and are in harmony together.
As for the fabrics, we much prefer those made of natural fibers such as cotton, wool, silk. In this way, you will avoid discomfort caused by materials that can possibly stick to the skin or cause small electric shocks, plus the environment will also benefit from these nature-friendly choices. Natural fibers also help the skin breathe better than synthetic materials and ladies, this also include underwear and undergarments. So whether you have sensitive skin or are just interested in ensuring you give your body the best care it deserves, try switching to natural materials for better body hygiene.
Top Tip: Avoid those materials that are excessively rigid, tight or uncomfortable such as paddings or underwires. Instead, opt for comfortable materials that do not squeeze your figure too tight and that give you a relaxed but chic look. This gives you the effortless look and doesn't make you look like you are trying too hard.
By now, it should be clear to you that Italians favour the less is more approach to styling and dressing appropriately. Although we see a lot of women as well as men walking around morning, day, and evening garbed in sportswear, I highly advise avoiding dressing in too sporty clothing made of technical material with a lot of patterns, unless you are actually engaging and taking some form of a sporty trip outside the city. There is a time and place for being dressed in head to toe in sportswear but when you are not engaging in any form of sports or fitness, change your outfit to something more appropriate and fitting. Top tip: Stay away from clothes with too elaborate or twisted cuts or decorations that would end up being decidedly too much, making you looking like a chandelier.
Instead of accessories made of plastic, opt for little bags, belts or shoes in either natural or coloured leather. In summer, choose canvas and straw for hats. To add an even better touch of spring to your outfit, you can add to your straw hat or bag flowery, feminine clips. An ethnic touch with accessories are on trend.
Hot tip: I highly recommend to choose accessories that are not only functional, but also combine a pleasant aesthetic touch and that matches what you wear. For example, choose leather sandals over plastic flip flops to visit the city and a simple, cute backpack in canvas or leather instead of the classic backpacks in bulky material.
In terms of shoes, I recommend reserving stilettos for the evening and for important occasions or you will look out of place, plus many of the floors in Italy or Europe in general would put you to the test! You've been warned.
Finally, complete the look with a scarf carefully knotted around the neck, a hat or a fedora, sunglasses, if the weather requires it, light makeup (almost as if you are not wearing it) and a touch of your favourite perfume and you are good to go.
In the end, you should achieve a look where people think that you have made no effort at all to look elegant and classy. In some cases, people in Italy as well as those around the world are gifted almost with a strong aesthetic sense of style where they don't have to make much effort to prepare the perfect “Italian” outfit! One final word of warning - despite what we see on reality TV these days and on social media, showing too much skin is frowned upon by Italians and many Europeans in general, so walking around the city as if you were at the beach is a big no-no. If too much skin is on display, you will not be able to access many religious art treasures that you plan to visit in Italy, so please be respectful of local rules and customs in Italy.
About Valentina Gioia
Contributor from Italy with a passion for writing and a soft spot for the UK, I like ranging on the topics this blog deals with, being interested in fashion, lifestyle, drawing, music, travel and everything that is beautiful and makes the imagination fly.