What to wear in Italy in summer?

July 10, 2024

So, you've booked your flight to Italy and are ready for plates overflowing with pasta and that undeniable Italian je ne sais quoi. But wait, what about your wardrobe? How can you capture that effortless Italian style for your summer adventure?

Forget boring packing lists! This guide is your cheat sheet to unlocking the secrets of Italian fashion. We'll explore what makes Italian style so special and focus on building a comfortable, chic wardrobe that lets you embrace the true Italian spirit. By the end, you'll be ready to walk through the streets of Rome or Florence feeling confident and looking fabulous, just like a local.

An brief overview of Italian fashion

The world often associates Italian fashion with a certain nonchalant and effortless grace that has always been embodied by figures like Sophia Loren on the silver screen. But, while Italian tailoring is indeed a marvel, it's important to remember that fashion in Italy is a far cry from a rigid set of rules. Forget stuffy suits and sky-high heels – Italian fashion is all about rocking your own look with confidence, letting your personality shine through your clothes. It's a true celebration of confidence and joy of living, expressed not through flashy brands but through personal style choices!

Understanding the Italian fashion psyche

Let’s ditch all you’ve ever heard about fashion! Italian fashion isn't some flashy show, it's all about quality and fit. And trust me, they will surely transform your outfit into a real masterpiece.

Here's what makes Italian style so special, and how you can channel it on your trip!

  • Quality over quantity: Italians prioritize well-made pieces that will last for years and invest in classic styles with timeless appeal, rather than following fleeting trends. So, try aiming for a few high-quality staples that work well together rather than a closet full of trendy but disposable items.
  • Artisanry and local production: Italy boasts a rich legacy of craftsmanship, from the textile industry in places like Como to the shoemakers of Naples, and Italians appreciate the artistry behind clothing, often favoring locally produced pieces. When shopping, consider supporting local artisans and smaller boutiques!
  • The Importance of fit: a well-fitting piece, regardless of brand or price point, elevates your entire look. People in Italy understand the power of a good tailor who can adjust garments to flatter your body type so don't be afraid to have your clothes tailored to achieve that effortlessly chic look!

Dressing comfortably in the Italian summer heat 

Now that we have unveiled the basics of Italian fashion, let’s talk about what to wear in Italy in summer!

The number one thing you have to keep in mind is the real constant of Italian summers: the heat. Climate on the Mediterranean can indeed be scorching and humid, especially in southern Italy. But fear not! Here’s where Italian style truly shines – Italians are indeed masters at blending comfort and looking effortlessly chic, even when the temperature soars!

Remember, comfort is key, but that doesn't mean sacrificing style – it just means being smart with your choices!

Italian girl wearing the right clothes for the summer heat

The key to navigating the heat with style

Difficult as it might sound, navigating the Italian summer with style just calls for a few tricks. You don’t want to be sweating during the perfect aperitivo in Florence, do you? While we can’t tell you what to do, here are some of the key strategies to navigate the heat with style, ensuring you stay cool and comfortable throughout your Italian adventure!

  • Embrace natural fabrics: your summer Italian wardrobe should be a love letter to natural, breathable fabrics. Linen, cotton, and silk should (and will) become your best friends as they allow for air circulation, keeping you cool and fresh throughout the day. What you should avoid are, on the other hand, synthetic fabrics like polyester that trap heat and make you sweat. A lot.
  • Lightweight layers: you must always keep in mind that the temperature increases during the day (peaking at midday) but early mornings and evenings might be cooler, especially at the seaside. For this reason, consider layering lightweight pieces for more versatility. A flowy linen kimono over a tank top and shorts allows you to adjust to temperature changes throughout the day!
  • Footwear matters: ditch the closed-toe shoes for the summer months. They will do nothing but make your feet swell. Opt instead for sandals in breathable materials like woven raffia and if you need more coverage, opt for espadrilles or comfortable wedges. And if you really must wear closed-toe shoes, try looking for breathable materials!
  • Lighten up your look: opt for neutral tones like white, beige, and cream, or go for breezy pastels as these colors reflect sunlight and keep you cooler. Bold colors are also fine, but try to keep them in lightweight fabrics.

Finding your Italian summer look

We’ve shared our tips when choosing what to wear in Italy in summer. And remember, the key lies in fabrics, layers, footwear and colors. Now you should have all you need to create the perfect look for your summer vacation. But if you need some inspiration, we’ve got you covered!

Italian summer outfit inspiration

For the city

Italy's cities are a blend of historical charm and modern sophistication, and your summer wardrobe should reflect this unique style. Whether you're exploring ancient landmarks, dining at chic cafes, or shopping in fashionable boutiques, these outfit ideas will keep you looking effortlessly elegant and cool in the city heat. Here are some key looks to inspire your urban adventures:

  • A flowy maxi dress in linen or cotton is a stylish and comfortable choice for exploring the city. Pair it with minimalist sandals and a statement necklace for a touch of personality!
  • For a more polished look, opt for a tailored pair of cropped linen trousers with a crisp white cotton shirt tucked in. Add a pop of color with a bright belt or statement earrings and finish the look with sleek loafers or ballet flats.
  • For a relaxed yet stylish daytime look, rock a pair of light-wash denim shorts with a breezy cotton t-shirt or a tucked-in linen blouse. Elevate the look with a pair of woven espadrilles and a straw tote bag.

By the beach

Is it an Italian summer if you don’t visit at least a coastal town? They’re the best place to embrace the relaxed vibe of the Italian summer with outfits that effortlessly transition from beach to town, keeping you comfortable and chic throughout the day. Here are some versatile looks perfect for your seaside adventures:

  • Pack a chic swimsuit and a sheer cover-up that can double as a dress. Opt for a flowy kaftan or a sarong in a vibrant print that transitions seamlessly from the beach to a beachfront bar.
  • Exploring coastal towns requires comfortable yet stylish footwear. Slip on a pair of comfortable sandals that can handle uneven surfaces and remember to wear a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection and a touch of elegance. Complete the look with a lightweight cotton sundress or a pair of linen shorts and a breezy tank top.

For the evening

Evenings in Italy tend to be dressier, especially in larger cities and more upscale areas. As the sun sets, it's the perfect time to elevate your daytime look for a sophisticated night out. Whether you're dining at a fine restaurant, enjoying a concert, or simply taking an evening stroll, here are some tips to help you transition your outfit seamlessly from day to night:

  • Elevate your daytime maxi dress with a light scarf and heeled sandals. Add a touch of sparkle with statement earrings or a delicate necklace and opt for a light makeup look and a bold red lip for a touch of Italian glamor.
  • Transform your city chic look for the evening by swapping loafers for dress shoes and adding a blazer. A silk scarf tied around your neck will also add a touch of sophistication!
  • For a relaxed yet stylish rooftop bar experience, opt for a pair of tailored linen pants and a silk blouse. Finish the look with elegant sandals and a statement clutch!
Aperitivo in the summer in Italy

Accessorizing your Italian look

Accessorizing will play a crucial role in completing your Italian summer look. From statement jewelry to stylish hats, the right accessories can elevate your outfit and add a touch of personality to your ensemble. Here are some tips to help you accessorize like an Italian fashionista!

  • Sunglasses: a good pair of sunglasses is a must-have in sunny Italy. Choose a style that complements your face shape and adds a touch of personality.
  • Hats: a wide-brimmed hat is not only practical for sun protection, but it also adds a touch of elegance to your beach or city outfit. Consider a straw hat, one of the most popular choices in summer.
  • Jewelry: Italian women love statement jewelry. However, don't feel pressured to go overboard; keep the balance and choose pieces that complement your outfit.
  • Scarves: a lightweight scarf is a versatile accessory that can be used to tie around your neck, add a pop of color to your bag, or even use as a beach cover-up.
  • Bags: a stylish bag is essential for carrying your essentials. Opt for a woven straw tote for the beach, a leather crossbody for exploring the city, or a sleek clutch for an evening out.

Embrace shopping in Italy

Exploring Italy's shopping scene is an adventure in itself, so if you have the time make sure to linger in Italian clothing stores. And if you need some tips, here’s how to find unique and stylish pieces!

  • Charming boutiques: wander through the picturesque streets of Italian towns and discover a wealth of boutique shops. These hidden gems showcase the craftsmanship of local designers, offering handcrafted pieces and vintage delights waiting to be found.
  • Department stores: immerse yourself in the luxury of Italy's renowned department stores, such as La Rinascente. Here, you'll encounter a curated selection of both Italian and international designer brands, ensuring a premium shopping experience.
  • Vibrant markets: dive into the lively atmosphere of Italy's street markets, where the pulse of local life beats strong. Browse through stalls adorned with handcrafted jewelry, artisanal clothing, and vintage treasures, each offering a glimpse into the vibrant culture of the region.

Remember: Shopping in Italy is not just about acquiring the latest trends: it's about finding pieces that resonate with your personal style and tell a story. Embrace the essence of Italian style, seek out items that tell a story, and allow yourself to be swept away by the enchanting allure of discovery!

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