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Dressing for the Occasion – The Workplace

Dressing for the Occasion – The Workplace

What should I wear? This is always a dreaded question, especially if you recently arrived to Italy for work. Don’t waste time staring at your closet; here are a few pointers to get you on the right track…

Italian women (and men) tend to have an innate sense of fashion so don’t get discouraged if the office looks like a runway. First we recommend having a good pair of shoes. Shoes tell a lot about a person and here you’ll get noticed. Have them nicely polished and in good condition, they should not be hot off the runway nor from a 1980s time capsule.

In the workplace, women should dress appropriately. When in doubt play it safe – this is a golden rule, if you stare at yourself in the mirror wondering if the shirt is too revealing or if your skirt is too short or your pants too tight? Then don’t wear it to work. Wear something that will flatter your figure without putting you on the spotlight. Keep to neutral colors (black, grays, beige, khaki, white, navy) you don’t want to be spotted a mile away for being the only one wearing a fuchsia dress in the middle of winter. Heels? Just because you see a colleague wearing her 10-inch heels on the scooter everyday doesn’t mean you should do the same. Think twice before wearing those staggering pumps that are oh so hot but hurt your feet, you’ll be at work for about 8 hours a day and you want to be comfortable.

First thing to keep in mind it to toss out those white socks. White socks should only be worn at the gym. At work use dark colored socks. Most offices require suits; Italian suits tend to be slimmer than their American counterparts. Your shirt should have long sleeves (I still haven’t seen Italian men with short-sleeved shirts in Italy) and it must be immaculately ironed. Like suits, shirts tend to be a bit more fitted which is more flattering to your figure. Be sure to have yours freshly pressed and adorned with a nice tie. Rule of thumb: don’t wear a shirt with pockets when you wear your suit. For accessories we recommend matching your belt to your shoes (at least in color). Leave your sneakers with your white socks – in your gym bag.


Appearance is very important in Italy, so make sure you are wrinkle-free and comfortable for an extra boost of confidence to your look.

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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