When I wasn’t marveling at a picturesque piazza or impressive remnants of the Roman Empire while in Italy, I spent much of my time ogling and analyzing what Italians were wearing. Everywhere I visited, Italians had it: that fashion-forward yet seemingly effortless personal style.
I know I am one of many wannabe emulators of European — especially Italian — style, so I jotted down some observations while traveling and have attempted to pare them down into doable tips for all of us back home. I include myself in the “us,” seeing as I’m still working to incorporate much of the below into my closet. And I did leave out one wistfully obvious Italian style pointer: A Vespa is the ultimate accessory.
Much of the Italian wardrobe color palette is relatively subdued, but one of my favorite trends (which I saw mostly men working) was a strong color pop, especially below. Red jeans, sapphire pants and the green trousers in the following photo made stylishly impressive statements. All the men rocking bold pants had it totally figured out, too, and kept the outfit’s other colors low-key.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money — I doubt the majority of Italians do — but a stylish pair of sunglasses that fits your face and personal style goes a long way, especially for guys. In fact, being in Italy made me realize I see so few guys in the U.S. wearing non-sporty (aka Oakley-like) sunglasses. It’s a shame, because I largely credit fashionable shades for how put-together many Italian guys looked.
My non-workout sneaker collection is limited to a couple of predictable pairs, such as Converse. In Italy, however, people took sneakers to a new level. Stylish pairs were everywhere, especially on women. I loved the looks women were pulling off, like a pair of dark Pumas with a nice pair of jeans and a top they’d wear out at night. I’ve never seen sneakers look so dressy!
After my trip through Italy I’m convinced I’ll never wear pants right off the rack again. I saw too many people wearing pairs that fit them perfectly — pairs that must have been tailored — and it changed their look entirely. The truth is, clothes are made for a prototype size, and most people don’t fit that exact shape. I plan to start shopping for pant almost exclusively at stores with complimentary tailoring, such as Nordstrom and my personal favorite store, Uniqlo.
Italians know their luxury style, from homegrown brands like Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo to Prada and Furla. Even if your budget prevents you from outfitting fully in any of the aforementioned labels (I’m with you there), it pays to shell out for an investment piece. Perhaps it’s a well-crafted messenger bag or a sleek leather jacket you choose. As long as it’s versatile and classic, you’ll use it forever.
I’m still searching for my one investment piece, and I’m starting to think I might have to return to the markets of Florence for it. I’m OK with that!
–Karina for TKGO