At a high-level, Italian fashion is quite similar to French fashion in the way that both cultures like to dress up rather than dress down. Both also often wear casual outfits that are always put together. But when you’re in Italy, it’s good to know what not to wear in Italy so you can feel like you’re fully immersed in the culture and fashion of the country.
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What is Italian Style Fashion?
Italian fashion would be best described as putting together an outfit that boosts their confidence, is trendy but also incorporates their own twist, and adds a pop of color or a statement piece to the outfit. The pieces Italians wear aren’t always tight-fitting but they try to choose pieces that really fit the proportion of their bodies. Sometimes, they may even spend more to tailor a piece of clothing to fit them perfectly.
What To Not Wear in Italy
It’s not prohibited in Italy to wear the following items but if you do wear them, it’s easy to point out who the tourists are in Italy. This list includes what to not wear in Italy in October, November, or anytime of the year.
1. Socks + Sandals
Socks and sandals are very common in the US to the point it’s almost a fashion statement. However, in Italy and most of Europe, it’s extremely frowned upon and not stylish at all. If you’re going to wear sandals, make sure to wear them without socks.
Shorts are thought of us as too casual and not classy in the Italian eye. You really only wear them on the beach and not on the streets at all. A better clothing choice is a short mini skirt and pair it will a pair of knee-high leather boots. An even better choice is a long fitted skirt so you don’t show too much skin which Italians prefer.
Also in Italian churches, the dress code is your shoulders and knees should be covered and you need to wear shoes. So shorts are not an option if you decide to go to churches.
Sweatpants are an obvious one. You will never see these worn in Italy because it doesn’t make the outfit look classy or dressed up at all. It gives a just-got-out-of-bed kind of look and Italians always want to give off that really put-together look.
4. Tank Tops
Tank tops are a bit too casual for Italians. There are certain sleeveless tops that make the outfit look very chic and modern but tank tops are just not attractive to Italians. Rather, you’d find them worn inside garments.
5. Flip Flops
Flip flops are seen in a similar way as tank tops in terms of how there are more elevated pieces you can wear to replace this simple basic item. They’re usually only seen on the beach where it’s super casual.
You will rarely see Italians wear leggings because these are meant to be worn in the gym and not on the street. It’s not seen as too fashionable.
7. Giant Hats
This one is a controversial one. Lots of tourists like to wear giant straw hats when in Italy but not many locals wear them. If you do wear them, you’ll likely be noticed as a tourist right away.
What to Wear In Italy Instead? (Clothing)
Now we know what not to wear in Italy, here are the items you should wear to fit right in.
What to Wear In Italy #1: Long Skirts
Long skirts are a staple in Italian fashion. It’s a piece that is very easy to wear yet looks really put together. On hotter days, you can pair it with a short-sleeve top and on colder days, it can go with a sweater to keep warm.
Animal prints were once trendy in the US but it’s actually quite popular in Italy. The key to styling animal prints is to wear them in a subtle way like on a skirt or a small part of a coat. A good example is the Amazon Midi Skirt – the print doesn’t pop out at you but gives it that Italian look. Going too crazy with animal prints will not match the Italian style also. If you like a longer skirt, this Exlura Maxi Skirt is great.
What to Wear In Italy #2: White Button Up
A white button-up shirt is such a classic in an Italian wardrobe. It’s the perfect piece of clothing to keep the look simple and casual. You can easily pair this with a long skirt like the ones mentioned above or a pair of straight-leg jeans.
Amazon Essentials White Button Up
Old Navy White Button Up
What to Wear In Italy #3: Flowy Trousers
Flowy trousers are more common than jeans in Italy. The neutral-colored trousers go with almost any kind of outfit. They give off that professional look but when paired with more casual pieces on the top half of the body, it will really make the look so much more put together.
The Tronjori Long Causal Trousers are a bit wider and they almost look like a skirt when your legs are close together. These will go well with a tighter top to balance out with the wide bottom. The SySea trousers are a bit more narrow so a loose or tight top could pair well.
Tronjori Long Causal Trousers
SySea Wide Long Leg Trousers
What to Wear In Italy #4: Flowy Dresses
Floral dresses are so popular in Italy during the summertime. Especially the maxi dresses that go down to the length of your ankle. Pair these dresses with some nice open-toe flats for a more casual look or closed-toe flats for a bit more formal look.
ZESICA A-Line Maxi Dress
Maggeer Floral Maxi Dress
What to Wear In Italy #5: Statement Long Coat
When the weather gets a little colder, Italians love to pull out their large long coats to layer over their sweaters to keep warm. You can see Italians wearing solid color coats but they also love wearing coats with patterns like plaid.
If you’re looking for a huge statement long coat, the Everlane Wool Coat will really pop because of its large squares in the plaid pattern. If you’re looking for a more subtle coat that also shows a bit of personality, the Chartou Coat is a good choice because of its smaller square plaid pattern.
Chartou Double Breasted Long Coat
Everlane Italian Recycled Wool Coat
What to Wear In Italy Instead? (Bags)
What to Wear In Italy #6: Crossbody Bag
Bags are huge in Italy. Especially Italian leather bags. So we see tons of these leather crossbody bags worn in Italy. Once in Italy, it’s a good idea to get yourself an Italian bag as a souvenir.
Bromen Square Crossbody Bag
Madewell Simple Crossbody Bag
What to Wear In Italy #7: Rattan Bag
For the summer, you’ll see these bags out on the streets of Italy. These bags just scream summer and makes the outfit so much more laid back and relaxed.
Rattan Crossbody Bag
Straw Rattan Tote Bag
What to Wear In Italy Instead? (Shoes)
What to Wear In Italy #8: Flats
A pair of simple flats are a staple in an Italian wardrobe. It’s a classic shoe that you can wear in many simple outfits with jeans, trousers, or even a long skirt.
The Amazon Essentials Ballet Flats are a simple shoe that goes with everything. If you want a little bit more on the flats, the Everlane Ballet Flats have an extra bowtie in the front which makes it fancier and have more personality.
Amazon Essentials Ballet Flats
Everlane Italian Leather Ballet Flats
What to Wear In Italy #9: Embellished Shoes
On a fancier occasion, you’ll see Italians dressed in these high heels with embellishments. It adds a subtle amount of sparkle and really makes the whole outfit stand out.
JiaBinji High Heel Shoes
Badgley Mischka High Heels
What to Wear In Italy Instead? (Accessories)
What to Wear In Italy #10: Sunglasses
If there’s one accessory that Italians are always carrying, it’s definitely sunglasses. These pair well with basically every outfit and make the outfit look so much more sophisticated. Not to mention, it’s really going to protect your eyes from being out in the bright sun all day.
A pair of rectangular-shaped glasses are best for people who have round-shaped faces since it will make the face appear to be longer and thinner. A rounder pair of glasses will go well on people with rectangular or oval shapes.
Read more: Going to Italy in winter? Read this packing list to see if you have everything!
Frequently Asked Questions About What To Wear In Italy
What to not wear in Italy?
It’s best if you avoid wearing these to Italy.
1. Socks + Sandals
4. Tank Tops
5. Flip Flops
7. Giant Hats
Can you wear shorts in Italy?
You will rarely see the locals wearing shorts. Rather, you’ll see more dresses or long skirts if it’s in the summertime.
Is it OK to wear jeans in Italy?
Yes! Italians wear jeans often but usually only straight-leg jeans or bootcut jeans.