HOW TO DRESS LIKE AN ITALIAN WOMAN
I get asked this question a lot, “how do Italian women always look so stylish? What’s their secret?” Now, I probably wouldn’t put myself in the category of best dressed, but there are a few simple rules even I rely on when putting together my wardrobe.
Good lingerie is a total must.
Italian women know that what you wear under your clothes is just as important to feeling sexy as what's on the outside. Poorly fitted undergarments worn under an expensive piece of clothing = fashion disaster. A lace bra or silk slip will not only make you feel sexier, but it’ll give you a boost in confidence and posture. My favourite Italian lingerie brands are Intimissimi and La Perla when I'm looking for something special and Gap for their great fitting T-shirt bra.
Just as important as your underwear is your outerwear.
When temperatures drop, it doesn't matter how chic your outfit is if your coat isn't up to par. It's the one thing that can transform your entire look in an instant. Chic outerwear that keeps you toasty is almost an oxymoron, but the devil is in the details. Look to down-lined cashmere coats, thick wool (or wool-blend) fabrics, and faux fur to heat things up without skimping on style. From a basic blazer to a cashmere wrap, coats are one of my favourite items to shop. You'll find me in MaxMara or Joseph for classic cashmere and Zara and Reiss for some more fashion forward options.
Invest in high quality wardrobe basics.
Italian women’s wardrobes are based on a set of wardrobe essentials that are made with high quality materials and are timeless. Fast fashion that will only last a season is a big no-no. So, anything made with natural fibres such as silk, linen, cotton, merino wool or cashmere should be at the base of your wardrobe. Look for essential wardrobe staples such as crisp, white cotton shirts, tailored, black wool trousers, and soft, cashmere sweaters in neutral colours. I go a little overboard when I find a favourite basic and always buy it in more than one colour. My favourite brands for basics are Joseph, Club Monaco and Massimo Dutti.
Build your outfit on one statement piece.
Italian women seem to have it built in their DNA to find that special piece that truly makes an outfit. This can be in the form of a beautifully fitted coat with a unique collar, a printed blouse or some bright coloured trousers that have the ability to catch your eye and sometimes, stop traffic! Statement jewellery is also a great way to add colour or your personal style to a more serious outfit. Kenzo is great at prints and J.Crew offers some beautiful statement jewellery that won't break the bank.
Emphasize your curves.
Are you proud of your cleavage? Flaunt it. Great legs? Show them off. The key is to emphasize the parts of your body you're most comfortable with. But remember to focus on one body part at a time to avoid looking vulgar.
Don’t be afraid of high heels.
If even on the bumpiest cobblestoned roads, Italian women can pull off a stiletto with grace (and the right amount of swagger), then you definitely can too! Keep tennis shoes for the tennis court and walking shoes for the park. Footwear is very important, but so is a good pedicure.
Put a hat on it.
Long before the Fedora craze took off in the rest of the world, Italians knew that the right hat provides the crowning touch to any outfit.
Sequins, glitter and gemstones are very much a part of any Italian woman’s wardrobe. This is where you should play up your personal style. But be careful as you can quickly go overboard. Whether you’re wearing a sequin skirt, glitter shoes, or a statement necklace, try and balance them with neutral basics for an elegant and sophisticated look.
Don’t forget a pair of sunglasses.
The final touch on any Italian woman's outfit is a chic pair of sunglasses.
And last, but not least, pick a chic statement handbag.
From a sporty leather duffle bag to a classic tote bag or a signature satchel, Italian leather craftsmanship is the gold standard when it comes to handbags, and for good reason. Italian women always have a stylish leather bag on their arm!
Once you've perfected dressing like an Italian woman, you'll want to read, 9 Secrets to Effortless Style – you know, just like the cool, confident type that stands out in a crowd and makes you wonder how she did it?!
Ciao for now,
I’m Alexandra, founder and designer of Alexandra de Curtis. I love to share my passion for quality, Italian-made products and effortless style. Sign-up to my newsletter and join our exclusive tribe of fabulous women around the globe. You’ll be the first to know about our new arrivals, pop-up events, private sales and special discounts, so you too can live Italian, no matter where you are!