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What to Wear in Rome?

What to wear in Rome while traveling? Italian men and women certainly have style and love to be fashionable. So while in Italy it would seem appropriate that you should dress the part. In this post I wanted to focus on how tourists can dress while in Rome because I’ve always felt that standing out as a bad dressed foreigner is never a good thing. Italians dress with a certain slickness and ease that rivals their fashion forward neighbors, France. Because much of Italy sits in a great climate, especially Rome, the Italian feel to fashion is more vibrant and colorful with of course sophistication.

This post is meant to help inspire on what to bring for your up-coming trip and get a general idea of the “look.” I want to note that I’m not going to cover every single style there is but rather focus on the average look and my recommendations. Italy is a long country so the south of Italy has a different style compared to the far north in cities like Milan. My focus is on the capital city of Rome and the general feel of today’s look. This will help you plan your style for your up-coming trip.

What to Wear in Rome?

Fitted, Charming, and Playful are the 3 words that come to mind when thinking of the Roman mindset on fashion. Like the rest of Europe, Italians are obsessed with the fit of their clothes, and for good reason since most men and women are pretty fit, at least while they are young. The average Italian actually likes name-brands and spend money towards fashion, probably the most out of any European country. Why do you think there are so many Italian clothing brands?

Women usually wear some sort of high-heels, flats, boots, jeans, dresses, skirts, trench coats, leggings, sunglasses, handbags, fitted thin shirts and scarves. Rome women favor clothes that are tight-fitting but the clothes must fit correctly so it’s essential to know your body type. Accessories are essential and almost every woman has something that sparkles or something that screams femininity.

Italian women don’t like to look frumpy and the look should show just enough skin to keep the look sexy but not over the top. Like the French, the look must not feel overdone with too much color or makeup. In a city like Rome, the ideal is to keep the look feeling modern with just a little touch of sex appeal.

What to Wear in Rome - Womens wear

Men usually wear some sort of boot or shoe, jeans, dress pants, handbags, scarves, jackets, blazers, vests, sweaters, fitted shirts, sunglasses and hats, depending on the season of course. Italian men are perhaps known to be the most comfortable with a variety of accessories, shoes, vests, and yes handbags!

Most Italian men strive to look like what Americans would call the “metrosexual look” while they’re younger and then when they age, men wear more blazers, vests, ties, and jackets. It seems for Italian men shoes are also important and men should never wear workout shoes in public but rather a nice pair of leather boots or flats. The idea is to keep the look masculine but with some sex appeal and charm.

What to Wear in Rome - Mens Summer Vest

Season to Season

The Italian ideal is to keep quality clothes that can easily be interchanged with one another and to always keep the look feeling fresh, modern with of course with some sex appeal.

In the fall and winter most men and women own some type of pea-coat that is usually a shade of gray or black. The younger generation will mostly wear fitted jeans for both men and women or perhaps some type of fitted pant, scarves, boots or high heels.

Hats are also popular in Italy but it’s not as common as the scarf! Almost all Italians own some type of scarf and it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old or male or female. Owning a scarf in Italy is essential to bring in more color, texture or just to add to the outfit. Neutral colors tend to be popular during the fall and winter months so my suggestion is to shades of grey, brown, blacks and greens and then add a pop of color somewhere. I would also invest in some leather boots as they will keep you warm and are more comfortable to walk in during winter.

What to Wear in Rome - Mens winter jacket

In the summer and spring, Italians loosen up a bit and people wear more colors. Rome women seem to prefer pencil skirts, blouses, shorts, dresses and the occasional jeans although it can be very warm! Men prefer light color shirts, fitted t-shirts, jeans, shorts, and flat shoes. You’ll see workers still wearing suits, ties and professional wear and it’s usually not too hot to pull off sleeveless vests or blazers. Some men carry satchels while women carry their brand named purses. There is less accessories in the summer but I would suggest to bring a stylish belt, fitted colorful clothes and perhaps some sunglasses or a hat.

What to Wear in Rome - Jacket with leggings

Italians prefer tight fitting jeans instead of loose fitting jeans and will usually choose a dark pair over a light. However it seems khaki is also very popular, especially in the summer months. The key is finding the right fit and to make sure nothing is draping off your body. Italians prefer clothes that are modern, send a statment, have some sort of sex appeal and obviously look great. What would be the point otherwise!?

What to Wear in Rome - Italy women summer fashion

When traveling to Rome, there should be no sneakers, tennis shoes, frumpy t-shirts, frumpy jeans, etc. Italians like over the top style sometimes but only when it’s well done. If all else fails stick to colors like black and neutrals as almost every Italian has something similar. The fit is everything.

Accessories also play a big role for many Italians. Most Italian men and women have some sort of scarf whether it’s for the winter or summer, some type of handbag, ties and leather shoes! These are really the essentials and you can work your wardrobe around these accessories.

The Look

Italians are known more for their flamboyance and perhaps add a little more color to their wardrobe. In Rome, where it’s mild all year, there is more emphasize on on style rather than functionality. Color is widely used but used in a sophisticated and upscale way. Accessories are essential and jewelry is encouraged no matter what sex you are but it has to be done tastefully or it can be too much. Editing seems to be key in the Rome style.

Women are accessorizing with watches, handbags, sunglasses, scarves, and necklaces. For men it’s usually more simple but Italian men like satchels, men handbags, wallet, scarves and sometimes a necklace or bracelet although this can be too much. Leather is widely used even if it’s faux leather. The Italian way is to buy quality over quantity and keep matching great looks with one another.

What to Wear in Rome - Womens street wear summer

Look Roman?

Italians are probably the biggest buyers of high-end brands but most will buy from brand name stores or department stores. Unlike other Europeans, Italians will splurge on a luxury brand but they will also wear it often. Some famous department stores or clothing stores in Rome include,

  • Diesel
  • Prada
  • Roberto Cavalli
  • Coin
  • Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Tod’s
  • Versace
  • Armani
  • Benetton
  • La Rinascente
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Brioni

Not everybody in Italy can afford expensive brands but Italians are more likely than the average European counterpart to invest in a brand.

What to Wear in Rome - Mens casual outfit

If the clothing doesn’t fit right on the body then don’t wear it. Also think about when you will wear the piece of clothing and if you can combine it to work with other pieces of clothes? Functionality is important and your whole wardrobe should fit with your entire style.

In Basic

Fitted, charming and playful is the key for Rome type of style. You want a style that is noticeable while walking on the street but that exudes sophistication with an edge of sex appeal. After all you’re in the city of sex so it’s okay to let a little more skin let loose. Find some great accessories and work your warddrobe off of them. Fitted t-shirts are a good idea and always bring along a scarf during the winter months. Don’t take anything that doesn’t push your style forward or feel is holding you back.

What to Wear in Rome - Two men in suits

Roman women and men like to wear a exciting, colorful, modern look that is form-fitting and flows naturally together. In Italy you can be over the top but make sure your confidence matches what you can pull of. The best looks are the ones that bring in style but are refined enough to look fresh, modern, tasteful and expensive. Really that’s what any Italian wants. Neutral colors are great in the winter and more colorful playful colors are great in the summer. Remember to only buy something that goes great with your other pieces in your collection and buy quality over quantity.

 

 

 

images on: pinterest and google images

14 comments

  1. Like so many sugar-addicted Americans, I am overweight and tight-fitting clothes emphasize this feature. Any way for someone who is not fit to avoid standing out as a tourist (besides the obvious solution of getting in shape)? Are there overweight Italians? How do they dress?

    • By and large no. Most European men are not overweight but stick with clothes that flow with your body and you’ll be fine. Go with what works for you at home and fits your body properly but no sloppy wear. I think a big advantage would be wearing something like a collared shirt, collared t-shirt, a blazer, a nice pair of dark jeans, and a sweater depending on what time of year and where you are going. Or a cardigan. In the summer it’s okay to wear some nice shorts, jeans, slacks. Italian men like their leather boots but they also wear shoes like converses, leather sandals (if it’s warm), loafers, and oxfords. Remember this all depends on where you’re heading to. If you’re hiking then bring your hiking boots otherwise keep those at home. Also tennis shoes stay at home. In the city it’s more stylish. Italian men are all about timeless style with nothing bagging, but properly fitting no matter the size. They like to look what Americans think, dressed up in public. Summertime can be a little more relaxed but don’t wear a tank top or anything like that.

  2. How about capri jeans for women? Should I leave my capri linen pants at home in the US? Beside fitted t-shirts, how about flowy silky tops in summer paired with high end flat shoes and handbag? Would that be right the Romans’ alley?
    Thanks.

    • Capri pants are more casual but they are fine to wear in Italy. I’m assuming you’re going in the summer?

      Yes I think you have the right idea but remember Italy can be really hot so it’s better to keep it flowy with light colors. A handbag and high end flat shoes work well too.

  3. Hello there! I’m going with 3 girlfriends to Rome in 2 days..we will walk a lot and spend time outdoors exploring the city. Can you please advice waHat jacket/coats to wear? Trench coat or a leather jacket ?

    • All would work as long as they are fitted and flow with the outfit. Looks like it’s a bit chilly in Rome right now. Italians wear a lot of leather so you can’t go wrong with that but a trench coat is also fine.

  4. I cannot walk all day in heels. What is an acceptable alternative to sneakers? We are going in July.

    • Tennis shoes are not recommended however any type of flats, low heeled boots, sandals; shoes like that, are recommended. I see many French women wear just that.

  5. How about for the older set? Will be spending about 6 months in Rome, starting this February, exploring the possibilities of moving there to teach English (have MA). I’m an older empty nester. I plan to bring a designer suit or three and a sheath dress or two in blacks and greys, 2/3 Hermes scarves, but am totally stumped as to what kind of tops to bring, button downs or sleeveless tanks, do I bring stockings? and what about shoes? I’m tall and in larger sizes than I can usually get in Europe, (16/18) especially in shoes (9 1/2 -10) so I will need to get shoes here probably. I would hate to give up jeans, but will if absolutely necessary? What would be the older generation’s equivalent? Thanks!

    • No need to give up jeans! In fact Italians do wear a lot of jeans as well. If you’re going to be walking around a lot, wear shoes that are comfortable to walk in. I just wouldn’t go for sneakers or tennis shoes, since Europeans really don’t wear that in their every day life. (You’ll see many tourists that will). Scarves are always nice to have, definitely bring that. Button downs are a good idea. I don’t think stockings are essential. Remember that you don’t have to dress up everyday. The ideal is to throw on great outfits for everyday and to have a collection that will mix and match. My guide is more of the Italian ideal but doesn’t mean it’s always practical. Most of all bring what fits you correctly, don’t worry about going over the top.

  6. During my summer trip (2016) through Europe, including Rome, I was disappointed as to how women dress, especially in Rome since I expected to be blown away by their shoes, clothes and handbags. Business women wear skirt suits just like others do in New York or other big city, no stilleto shoes day or night and no tight fitting clothes. If you can afford to buy high end designers in the US you will be ok anywhere in Europe. In Rome the big names like Prada, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, etc cary the same merchandise as in the US except the prices are cheaper even though they are in Euros.
    The only thing I didn’t see the locals wearing was sneakers. Only tourists wear them. Jeans are great too, tops are ok anyway you wear them.
    Men on the other hand were all dressed better than women with nice shoes, no socks, shirts, tapered pants and fitted light jackets. My husband bought a few jackets and pants in Rome that he wears now here in NYC. Some men wear ties or scarves with the jackets too. Lovely.
    Hope my observations help others who are planning to travel to Europe.

    • Thanks for your observations! Yeah I do think the men have taken fashion over in Europe. It’s funny that I do feel it can be quite of a mix. Some women dress very fashionably and some are just frumpy. That kind of bums me that women aren’t dressing as fashionably. It’s been a while since I have been in Italy. I do think Italy is great for shopping if you can afford the expensive items. Yes I do agree with you on the shoes and that tops are a great idea. Anyways I may revise my guide and scale down the pictures a bit. I think mine is more of the Italian ideal than much of the reality! Thanks for your comment.

  7. As i am doing a research work on Roman street fashion, i would lIke to know about the daily roman style , men and women’s wear as well as the kids wear and the other detailed facts which differs roman fashion from the rest of Italy. I am really confused as i am not getting proper information about it.. hope you can help me :)

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