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Dress Italian Style with these 7 items

Dress Italian Style with these 7 items

The key to Italian style is to strike a balance by incorporating bright colors without excess.

Italians are known for their chic style, which is immediately recognizable. But how is it that they always look so effortlessly stylish?

Italian fashion follows the principles of sobriety, elegance, informality, and sensuality. For Italian style, less is more. To achieve a chic look, avoid over-accessorizing and choose a color palette that suits your skin tone. The key is to strike a balance by incorporating bright colors without excess. Milanese fashion embraces simplicity, curating pieces that complement each other without excessive embellishments. By adhering to these principles, one can effortlessly exude a refined and alluring aesthetic, capturing the essence of Italian fashion.

In the realm of fashion, embracing the concept of “buon gusto,” which translates to “good taste,” is the gateway to cultivating an authentic Italian-style wardrobe. This distinctive approach encompasses more than mere aesthetics; it embodies a refined sensibility that shuns the allure of flamboyance, vibrant hues, and inferior quality. By adhering to the principles of “buon gusto,” one can effortlessly exude an air of being a true Italian native, seamlessly blending into the timeless elegance and sophistication that defines Italian fashion.

Keep reading to discover the 7 essential items to wear to get a spot-on Italian and fare bella figura (“dress to impress”).

7 key items for your Italian Style Wardrobe

Photo Ischukigor DP


The item that you will always see Italians wear in fall and spring is a good-quality jacket. Both men and women love styling their leather jackets with casual and more elegant looks. During summer, opt for a cotton or linen jacket for a cool, vacation-on-the-Riviera style.

Designers such as Armani, 120% Lino and Trussardi are stores to see when shopping for a stylish jacket.


An item that Italians wear daily is blue jeans. Jeans are perfect for dressing up with a blazer for business meetings and social occasions or wearing a t-shirt for relaxed weekends. With various models, jeans are flattering for all body types and will always make you feel good. Although the go-to brand is Levis, brands such as Guess and  7 for All Mankind are very popular in Italy too.


A white cotton t-shirt is always iconic, and Italians know it well. This item is perfect for styling with jeans, a leather jacket, or a fancy evening skirt.

Another white item you must have in your wardrobe if you want to follow the Italian style is a custom-made shirt to complete every business or elegant look. A common fashion hack here is to buy a new shirt from Boss or Tommy Hilfiger and bring it to a tailor. Most dry cleaners in Italy also offer alterations. In a few stitches, your ready-to-wear garment becomes a custom-tailored shirt.

Black leather rivetted stilettos/ Photo Boomeart DP


Italians are stylish from head to toe, so shoes are fundamental to every look. Each occasion requires a different style of shoe; sneakers, loafers, boots, high-heels, or sandals but shoes can also dress up or dress down an outfit.  Italy is renowned for handcrafted and high-quality shoes, so investing money in a good pair is “a must” to achieve an Italian appearance. High-quality shoes can last for decades and are well worth the investment. If you are looking for sales, check out a designer outlet that carries your favorite brands.

Needless to say, popular brands are Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo for elegance and Geox  and Hogan for casual wear.

Photo Ann Haritonenko DP


Italian women never leave the house without their handbags. It’s not unusual to see women with Gucci, Fendi or even international brands like Coach. They always opt for classic designs to style with every look and seek out well-made bags that will last forever.

Every personal collection should include the ubiquitous small black purse and a bigger bag in a bright color for the spring and summer seasons.

Some Italian men use borselli, cross-body messenger bags. There is much debate about wearing or not wearing one, but it is a practical and convenient way to keep your gear close.  Elegant styles are made of leather and don’t show off big logos; the common belief is that a “man-bag” should blend in rather than stand out.

A statement piece can change a look / Photo Nicole Taionescu

Statement Pieces

As much as Italians prefer sobriety in their looks, they always add an eye-catching accessory making them extra stylish.

One of the best (and easiest) statement accessories is a pair of sunglasses. More than simply functional, sunglasses can complete your outfit. This is why choosing a great pair that complements your face shape is a must. A pair of designer sunglasses by Dolce Gabbana or Ray-ban look good on everyone!

You can also get “wow” reactions with jewels and scarves as well. When wearing necklaces, earrings, rings, or watches, just make sure to wear only one jewel (or a set) to create an elegant look. For scarves, choose light and high-quality fabrics with designs. Add some sparkle to your look with accessories by Swarovski or Pandora.


Dos/Don’ts – the Italian way

There are some “rules” you might want to follow when creating an Italian look. In addition to the “Dos” listed above on which items to wear, there are some fashion guidelines of what not to do:

  • Never ever wear flip-flops, unless you’re at the beach or pool.
  • Don’t wear excessively short bottoms (shorts, skirts.)
  • Don’t wear socks with sandals.
  • Avoid see-through meshes unless they are “in”- sometimes they are trendy.
  • Don’t over-accessorize.
  • Avoid matching outfits with your travel companions (partner/children/friends.)
  • Always take off your hat when entering churches.
  • Also, when visiting churches, make sure your knees and shoulders are covered.

Ultimately, embodying an Italian-style wardrobe extends beyond the realm of mere clothing choices. It becomes a personal statement, a reflection of one’s appreciation for the artistry of fashion and a celebration of individuality through sophisticated simplicity. By embracing the principles of “buon gusto,” one can create a wardrobe that not only captivates with its timeless allure but also offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and impeccable style that have come to define Italian fashion.

Where to shop

Serravalle Designer Outlet offers an unparalleled shopping experience with its vast selection of designer brands, convenient location and discounted prices.

There are over 230 stores at Serravalle Designer Outlet offering up to 70% off luxury brands, restaurants, and special services such as hands-free shopping and immediate tax-free refund for non-EU visitors (now available for UK residents).

Tax-free shopping in Italy

Tax-free shopping in Italy offers non-European Union (EU) residents the chance to save on purchases through the VAT refund system. Look for stores with “Tax Free” or “Global Blue” logos. When purchasing, request a tax refund form from the retailer and keep purchase receipts.

You can apply for an immediate refund in the  Serravalle Designer Outlet tax refund office.

Before leaving Italy, at the customs office on departure (at the airport or port) get the tax refund forms stamped as proof of taking the goods out of the country. Submit the completed forms to a tax refund agency for processing. By following the necessary steps and meeting the requirements, non-EU residents can unlock savings and make their purchases even more rewarding.

Serravalle Designer Outlet
Via della Moda 1
Serravalle Scrivia 15069
Tel.  +39 0143 609000

Article by Celia Abernethy, EasyMilano.com 2023.

Featured image / Webfuture DP
Images licensed by Deposit Photos

Easy Milano

Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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