It is a well known fact that Italy is the fashion capital of the world. I would be lying to you if i was not a little intimidated by this fact when packing my wardrobe for this Spring semester. I knew I had to pack clothing that would not only be fashionable in an Italian sense, but would also be able to keep me warm enough through the winter months; however, I also needed to pack clothing for when it is nice out in Rome or when I planned on going on trip to more tropical destinations such as Capri.
I put so much thought into the entire process of packing because I wanted to be able to keep up with every one of the amazingly dressed women that passed me by on the streets, and the last thing that I wanted was to look ‘American’. Little did I know, my idea of Italian, or specifically Roman, fashion was a little skewed, so you do not make the same mistakes I did when packing, here are the truths of Italian fashion:
1) Not All Italians Are Fashionable: Not every single Italian that walks by you will be the epitome of fashion. I have seen a few bedazzled jeans on middle aged women, over-sized suits on men, and even crocs. The big difference that is between Roman Fashion and American fashion is that Italians always look as if they put effort into their looks for the day. You would not see a Roman walking around in baggy sweat pants, or pajamas, but they will at least be wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
2) Italians Wear Sneakers: I was under the impression that if I were to wear sneakers in Italy, I would automatically be flagged as a tourist, so I did not even bother packing them (BIG mistake); however, I see Romans walking around in sneakers constantly! While they do wear sneakers, another common shoe that is adorned in Italy is the heel. Their mastery of walking on cobblestone is beyond me. They also are not huge fans of open-toed shoes, especially throughout their winter and spring.
3) They Dress for the Season Not for the Weather: Currently, the weather in Italy is 74 and sunny, but contrary to the US, Italians are still wearing their parkas and boots! Because it is so nice outside, and I packed so many dresses, I felt like I had to wear them, so as I walk around the streets with bare legs, I get a lot of crazy looks from the locals, especially because I was also wearing sandals.
4) Designer Brands are Popular– While it may not be true everywhere throughout Italy, in Rome, high-priced, designer brands such as Gucci and Prada are extremely popular. For instance, my friend checked her coat at a club that we went to one night and lost her ticket. To identify her coat, the attendant asked what designer it was by… I don’t think Burlington counts as a designer Brand.
5) Italians Wear Dark Colors: The color that is always in season it Italy is black! This worked extremely well for me since in the United States I am constantly getting yelled at by friends to add a little color into my life.
6) Italian Fashion Will Inspire You: Since I have come to Italy, I am much more prone to try matching different patterns and to try new things. For instance, I have picked up a love for dark red lipstick since studying in Rome. Part of this is wanting to look Italian, and another part of the inspiration is that here, nobody knows who you are, so they do not know what you normally wear.