How to Dress in Italy

Three Methods:Dressing Italian StyleAvoiding the Tourist LookAccessorizing Like an Italian

Traveling to Italy? Italians can be very fashion-conscious, so there are a few things you should know about dressing in Italy. There is no formal dress code, but fashion is important in Italian culture, and Italians typically pay close attention to another persons clothes.

Method 1
Dressing Italian Style

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    Dress formally and professionally.
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    Make sure everything you wear fits well, and has clean lines. Italians love a classy look that emphasizes a persons good points.
    • Capri pants are a good choice for women; Italians may wear shorts only at resorts. Men rarely wear very short shorts outside of vacation.
    • If you’re wearing a suit, put on a tie with it. You should probably skip the track suit or sweat pants. It’s going to look too informal for Italy. Pack business casual clothing for your vacation, something you’d be willing to wear to work.[1]
    • Avoid baggy clothes. Italians are partial to clothing that is nicely fitted. So skip the slouchy shirt or baggy jeans. Italians do wear jeans though, but they would pair them with a dressy top.
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    Wear nice shoes. Italians study shoes, and they like a classy she without too much fake bling. Leave the flip flops, gaudy sandals, and Crocs at home.[2]
    • Choose a high quality fabric or leather in your shoes. Make sure that your shoes are in good shape. Get them shined! Pay attention to comfort, too, though, if you’re going to be walking long distances to see the sites.
    • Italians will recognize and appreciate designer labels in shoes as well as clothing. This doesn't mean, however, you have to wear designer clothing to look good in Italy. As long as your clothes are classy and clean you should be ok. Tennis shoes and cheap flip flops are not considered nice shoes and will mark you as a tourist. If your a female, think of simple ballet style shoes or a nice classy boot or runner (such as PUMA). You can’t go wrong, though, with nice leather shoes.[3]
    • Wear high heels at night when dining out if you’re female. There are some restaurants that won’t let you in if you’re wearing flat shoes. Wedge shoes will be easier to walk in than stilettos. If you’re not in a city, though, you might want to forgo the heels because you could encounter cobblestone streets.
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    Change your dress for the evening. Italians dress differently for the time of day. You’ll want to consider changing your dress when day turns to night. Try to bring a pair of long pants with lighter fabric for hotter months.
    • It would be unusual for Italian men to wear shorts in the evening. It’s considered more elegant to not wear shirts that have collar buttons or breast pockets. If you’re going out to dinner or are in a fine hotel, you should dress in a more sophisticated fashion. For example, you might not want to walk around in a tank top, shorts, and flip flops.
    • If you wear jeans, dress them up with a nice jacket. Make sure they fit you well and are stylish, not frumpy and tattered. A dress and a skirt are a must when packing.
    • Men should avoid wearing short-sleeved shirts to formal occasions and should not wear a tie with them at any time of the day or night
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    Wear classic colors. You will occasionally see Italians wearing bright, bold colours, but they do it only sometimes and are more partial to the elegance of classic colours than loud prints.
    • Stick with colours like dark blue, black, cream, white and tans. You could wear some pastels, such as lavender or a salmon colour In the summer.
    • You can wear white, cream or light tan colors any time of the year in Italy. Brighter and lighter colors are very common in spring. Italians love to wear light colors in the sun because they don’t attract the heat as much, and it can get very hot.
    • You might want to avoid the most garish or unnatural colors, such as mustard yellow, neon green or lipstick pink.
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    Dress appropriately for the Vatican. Many people who visit Italy want to see the Vatican. There are specific rules for dressing on a Vatican visit The same rules generally apply to any church or cathedral visit.
    • Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. You should avoid wearing tank tops or other clothing that exposes the shoulders when entering the Vatican or a church.
    • Try not to wear anything that is too revealing as that can be interpreted as a sign of disrespect. Wearing mini-skirts or short shorts would be frowned on in the Vatican. The South is more conservative and a scarf or shawl might be required there.
    • If it’s hot outside and you’re wearing something sleeveless, you could purchase a shawl to drape over your shoulders. Problem solved. Men should not wear tank tops or expose their arms in church.

Method 2
Avoiding the Tourist Look

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    Don't wear socks with sandals. Italians rarely wear socks with sandals or white socks beneath trousers. On the other hand, they typically wear socks with closed shoes. They always match the colour of the sock to the colour of the shoe.
    • When Italians do wear socks, it’s often very short socks not knee length or calf length socks. These socks are sometimes called “fantasmi,” which means invisible.
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    Avoid the most common tourist looks. This is especially important if you’re in a big city where safety could be an issue. Advertising that you are a tourist could make you a target.[4]
    • The best way to look like a tourist fast? Wear a fanny pack or money belt. This just advertises that you’re walking around with money.
    • Lugging around a backpack can also get you pegged as a tourist. You will want to carefully store important documents, and credit cards, in an inside pocket or front pocket so someone doesn’t pick your pocket.
    • T-shirts, tennis shoes, and any shirt or sweatshirt with a slogan on it will probably make you look like a tourist. Slouchy and scuffed is out; fitted and impeccable is in. Nice fabrics go a long way.
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    Dress differently based on geography. Italian fashion sense varies depending on what portion of the country you’re in. It’s a mistake to think there’s just one way to dress in Italy.
    • The main geographic differences can be found between the south and the north of Italy. Remember that Milan is in the north, and it’s a sophisticated city that is a major hub of the global fashion industry. The style there would be sophisticated and reliant on designer name brands.[5]
    • In the south, such as in Rome, there would be more adherence to local traditions and trends that are not as contingent on the fashion industry. Dress more formally if you’re visiting a big city instead of a rural country town.
    • Another difference to consider is that the north gets pretty cold in the winter, although it’s warm during the summer months, whereas the south is pretty warm all year round.
    • In the summer, it can reach temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius in Rome. That's in the 90s in Fahrenheit. It can be difficult to predict the spring weather, which can seesaw between chilly to warm, ranging from 15 to 28 degrees Celsius (59 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit), with temperatures down to 10 degrees Celsius at night. Watch the forecasts.

Method 3
Accessorizing Like an Italian

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    Wear sunglasses. One thing you will notice right away when traveling in Italy is the sun is very piercing and seems very close.
    • It’s important that you wear sunglasses. This is even truer in the South of Italy and in the summer months, where you will find it very bright during the day.
    • During the spring and summer, you should also pack sunscreen to protect your skin, especially if you burn easily.
    • A straw hat with a brim is a great way to protect your skin and eyes and also look chic to Italians, whether you’re dressed for a formal or informal occasion.
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    Bring a jacket or sweater. You may need these items when dressing at night, when it can get colder and also when dining in a nice restaurant. Men should pack a nicely tailored jacket.[6]
    • A great look in Italy would be a white shirt, black or navy blue blazer, and skinny black pants with nice shoes and a silk scarf. And sunglasses.[7]
    • A light trench coat is often a perfect choice for unexpected weather changes. In the winter, you’ll need a warmer coat in the north, such as a padded winter coat, and you will probably need warm gloves, a scarf and a hat. A down jacket or vest may mark you as a tourist.
    • A pair of leather boots can also be elegant looking and keep your feet warm during colder months. They’re also comfortable to walk in.
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    Wear a scarf and carry a great handbag. These two items will go a long way to getting rid of the tourist feel and upping your elegance and class appeal.
    • Accessorize the look. One item you can’t go wrong with in Italy is a silk scarf. Italians often wear jewelry. and Italian women usually wear natural-looking makeup, but don’t wear anything too obvious if safety is a concern.
    • Take along a great handbag and an umbrella! Remember that Italians value clothing with elegant fabrics and clean lines, so avoid the messy patterns.[8]
    • Men could carry a messenger bag. This is sometimes called a “man purse” in America or a briefcase. Women groom their nails and eyebrows.


  • Understand that not all Italian people dress the same or expect you to dress a certain way. .
  • Select more formal dress if you are not sure what to wear. Opt for quality material, designer labels and the complete look of an outfit.
  • Note that shorts are not adequate evening wear for men or women, and that Italian men usually don't wear short shorts in Italy; nor do they wear socks with shorts.

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Categories: Italy | Fashion