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.
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.
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.
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.
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!?
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.
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.
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,
- Roberto Cavalli
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- La Rinascente
- Dolce & Gabbana
Not everybody in Italy can afford expensive brands but Italians are more likely than the average European counterpart to invest in a brand.
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.
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.
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