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Deciding what to pack for any trip is daunting but figuring out what to wear in Italy can honestly be a traumatizing task! Hosting two fashion capitals of the world, it’s no surprise that fashion is taken pretty seriously in Italy. The prestige of cities like Milan and Rome comes with designers such as Gucci, Armani, Versace, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana, just to name a few. There are so many factors at play in the question of what to wear in Italy. With all of these historic designers, it can seem a little daunting and you may feel pressured to renew your entire wardrobe before your upcoming trip, but this is not necessary!
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With a few new additions to your wardrobe and some smart packing, you can go to Italy looking like a fashionista without breaking the bank.
This list is mainly geared towards Italy, but the general rules apply for places other places in Europe too like France, Spain, Portugal, etc!
Tips for What to Wear in Italy All Year-Round
Basic Italy Packing & Fashion Tips!
Invest in Good Shoes
Italy’s cobblestone streets will destroy your feet and your life if you are not properly prepared. While the most obvious option is throwing on a pair of trainers, you might want to think about your fashion choices in Italy. Italians dress savvy, and if you want to blend in, a cute pair of flats or loafers are calling your name. Packing for Italy can be as simple as investing in these amazing loafers from Birdies – the only loafer or flat I will even bother to buy anymore. They have 7 layers of memory foam comfort and amazing arch support. The perfect shoe for wandering in Italy all-day.
Vamp Up Your Wardrobe By Adding Some Scarfage
As I said in my post about things you definitely want to take with you when you’re traveling– a scarf is a necessity- for guys and gals! A scarf can take any outfit from drab to fab! This tip isn’t just for winter either. Italians wear scarves year-round, so if you’re traveling during the summer, pack a light summery scarf!
Though not a necessity or Italy specific, this is a rule I live by when packing in general. Packing neutral colors (or just sticking to one color scheme) will make your life a whole lot easier. Wearing black or earth tones will go a long way on this trip. Not only will you blend in more and draw less attention to yourself through avoiding bright colors, but if everything in your suitcase belongs to the same color family, you can mix and match clothes with a lot more ease. This allows you to have more outfit options on your vacation!
Plus, black is always a classic and will always look good!
Prepare to Cover Your Body
In line with not drawing attention to myself, I always tend to dress a little more conservatively abroad than I typically would at home. However, in Italy, sometimes this is required. If you are walking around all day and plan on going into any cathedrals, expect to have knees and shoulders covered. As Rome being the center of the Catholic faith, Italy even these days remains heavily influenced by the power of the Vatican. Guys, this goes for you as well! Cute tea-length dresses, loose linen pants, and scarves to cover your shoulders go a long way in this Catholic country.
Add Some Bling!
Pack some jewelry along with you to dress up any simple outfit and look fabulous with simple ease.
Dress for Success – and cute Instagram photos
You’re not dressing to go to class, or heading to the gym. You’re in a country where beauty & fashion is appreciated and valued. Look nice, and have fun while doing so! I didn’t believe anyone when they told me people in Italy dressed much nicer than at home, but they were so right. I love how dedicated people are to getting out of bed and putting on something besides another pair of pajamas.
What to Wear in Italy in the Summer & Spring
Leave the jorts at home
I get it, I love my jorts as much as the next girl, but its probably better if you leave the cutoffs at home. Sure, a nicer, longer, more fashion-forward pair is OK – but in general, most Italians – especially the old school ones, don’t wear shorts. Not even the men really wear shorts in the summer.
Lots of sundresses and flowy skirts will be your best friend during your time abroad in Italy. Skirts are great because you can mix and match tops, and sundresses are fantastic for the simplicity of just throwing them on and walking out the door.
Flowing Wrap Skirt – Romwe $13.95
Striped Cami Dress – Shein $10
*This would be PERFECT in the Amalfi Coast!*
Sandals or Slides
I get it, walking around in the heat with your foot sweating in a flat or loafer doesn’t sound totally ideal. I like to pack a cute pair of sandals or slides to wear in Italy. The key is finding sandals or slides with great support that are comfortable. Birdies make a beautiful slide that I absolutely adore, and even Teva sells some really cute flatforms that have the same support and comfort their…erm…less fashionable options offer but look much cuter.
For the most part spring in Italy is lovely and warm, however mornings and evenings can be a little chilly, so it’s best to pack a light sweater to make sure you stay warm while you’re wandering the streets in the evening.
I have selected TWO perfect summer cardigans for Italy!
Both are super lightweight and cozy and come in a bunch of different colors!
You can’t possibly forget your bikini when it comes to planning a trip to Italy…uhhh HELLO AMALFI COAST?!?! My favorite bikinis that are made locally in my hometown, and are totally customizable and reversible are WhiskiniBikinis! They are pretty much the only bikini I wear (code BOHOTRAVEL gets you a discount) – BUT if you’re not willing to spend that much there are tons of other “fast fashion” brands that can get you cute bikinis for pretty cheap. A few of my favorites are Cupshe, Lulu’s, and Romwe & Shein. The last two are super cheap options, but if you’re looking for fast fashion you know won’t last you, they’re my go-to. Cupshe and Lulus are of better quality.
What to Wear in Italy in Fall & Winter
Sweaters will be your best friend
A cute cardigan or sweater is essential to fall fashion! Pack a few cute cardigans to wear when you don’t really need that coat.
I know not everyone is looking to invest in a jacket that does everything, but it is possible to have function and fashion all at once. One of my absolute favorite outerwear companies is Helly Hansen, a Norweigan brand that specializes in sailing and ski gear. This doesn’t mean it isn’t fashionable though, almost all of the jackets (and sportswear) you see me in is Helly Hanson. Obsessed doesn’t begin to cover it. On each of their jackets, it will tell you the type of weather the jacket is made for and what kind of technology it holds to keep you warm and dry. I’ll finish gushing now…but just go check their stuff out. If you buy something and don’t love it I will personally try and help you find a jacket that is better. Check out their selection of rain gear here.
Pack a Raincoat
Winter and fall in Italy can be a little rainy- as the 2019 floods in Venice have shown. When you pack for Italy make sure to toss in a raincoat and expect for a few days with some drizzle. And don’t forget your umbrella! If you can combine one of your winter jackets as a rain jacket, you are even better off!
A peacoat or puffy jacket
Italians LOVE their puffy jackets. They’re really easy to travel with as well as most of them roll up very small and leave room in your luggage for other things. However, I’m not the biggest fan of the style, so I always make sure to pack for Italy in winter a classic black pea coat.
Pea Coats for Italy!
All of these pea coats come in several colors, though of course I always prefer a classic black!
Tights Tights Tights
When you put on a skirt you can also put on a pair of tights to help you keep a little bit warmer. My favorite Italian brand for tights is Calzedonia. They are of amazing quality and they come in lots of fun designs. Pop into any store in Italy while you’re over there or do some online shopping before you travel!
Jeans & Skirts
Obviously everyone has a great pair of jeans in their wardrobe, but you’re going to want to spice things up while you are traveling in Italy! Pairing a cute pair of tights with an adorable skirt or dress is a great way to spend your days in Italy. These skirts are so simple and a perfect example of what to wear in Italy!
Button Up Suede Skirt -Romwe $8.95 **I have this exact skirt and I wear it ALL the time!**
A-Line Skirt – Romwe $9.45