Walking down the street, it is easy to identify who is Italian and who is not simply by looking at what they wear. What is it that makes everyone else stand out so noticeably from the casually chic Italians? In search of the answer to this question, I paid a visit to a few of the top fashion houses in Italy and asked them their opinions on the differences between Italian and American fashion. Here is a list of what it takes, in their opinion, to dress like a true Italian:
1. Wear neutrals.
The first thing pointed out by every single fashion expert I talked to was color schemes; Italians can always be spotted wearing neutrals, black being their basic go-to. This means getting rid of your bright, floral dresses and opting for beige, white, or black pieces instead. If you want to add a hint of color, choose to have instead only one accent piece, such as a red bag or colorful pair of jeans.
2. Exchange comfort for class.
Americans are classified as having a sporty and casual style, choosing outfits based upon their level of comfort. Italians, on the other hand, choose their outfits to accentuate their bodies, wearing tighter, more form-fitting pieces. For you men out there, this means switching out those t-shirts and cargo shorts for a nice pair of jeans, tailored shirt, and suit jacket; women, this means getting rid of those loose cotton tank tops, dresses, and jean shorts and choosing instead a nice skirt, form-fitting top, and a pair of heels. And the number one piece of advice—get rid of those flip-flops.
3. For your basics, invest in luxury pieces.
You do not need to worry about having to purchase an entirely new designer wardrobe in order to achieve that coveted Italian style. Instead, focus on investing in the basics. The top two recommended pieces to splurge on? Shoes and bags, hands-down. Take a stroll down Via Tournabuoni to find stores that carry amazing leather pieces to fill your closet—and perhaps empty your bank account—with.
4. Mix casual with formal.
Americans can be seen in one of two extremes—either all-out in a suit and tie, or bumming-out in jeans and a t-shirt. However, Italians are known to mix these two together in order to give their style a unique flair. Try by starting off with a more casual outfit and then mixing in a few formal pieces, such as adding a blazer to your regular shirt and jeans. Your look will instantly become casually chic.
By following these helpful hints, you will be able to blend in with the Italians instead of sticking out as simply yet another tourist. Let it be noted, however, that even if you follow these tips, the large camera dangling around your neck and the giant map you are carrying may still give your true identity away, anyway.
Written by Sarah Vizachero
Fashion Intern at The Florence Newspaper