What to Wear in Italy: Dress Like a Local
This Local’s Approved Packing List, What to Wear in Italy, is brought to you by TFG’s official fashion blogger and native Italian, Jacopo Grazzi.
What to Wear in Italy: Dress Like a Local
Written by: Jacopo Grazzi
Italy has different clothing styles varying from the north to the south and it can be difficult to decide which one to approach when you’re planning what to wear.
Milan and the north of this beautiful country has a really fashionable and sometimes over the top style. New trends flow in and the culture is more similar to big European capitals, where trends evolve and people customize their style according to personal tastes.
Rome and the south have more locals trends and traditions. They don’t really care as much when it comes to clothing, but make sure you don’t show too much skin, locals aren’t big on overly revealing clothing.
Originally I come from a city close to Venice in the north-east of Italy, but I’ve traveled all over my country, so I can help give you tips on what to wear in Italy.
Weather in Italy
The country has different climatic zones but overall, they are similar.
The north is normally cold in winter and warm and stuffy in summer because most of the big cities are in a flat land called “Pianura Padana”, so there’s less wind and it’s really humid. Cities located on a higher altitude are more windy and cold but you can enjoy a summer heat thank to the sun.
The south is characterized for being warmer, during the whole year –in some areas it doesn’t even snow! . Rome and the south is really hot during the summer (+35/40°C), in which you can include May and September, but it’s really enjoyable thank to a fresh sea breeze. Winters are warmer and not as cold, with better weather than in the north.
Sunglasses / Infinity Brick Scarf / Gladiator Sandal / Ballet Flat / Cross-body Convertible Tote / Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook
Sunglasses are a must every season; the sun never stops kissing the Italian peninsula and it can really bother you if you are not wearing proper protection. During spring and summer months is important to pack proper sun protection and after-sun if your skin is not used to the sun’s rays – it can burn really badly if you are outside during the hottest hours in the day.
Touristy cities like Venice or Rome are made for walking and it’s also the easiest way to go around sightseeing, so make sure to choose comfortable shoes to fully enjoy your day out. Your footwear should include waterproof shoes for the colder months and simple comfortable canvas shoes for the warmer months.
A pair of fancy heels is recommended, as locals like to dine out with style and elegance. Also, in some venues you can find selectors at the entrance who could not let you in if wearing flat shoes, so make sure you have your heels on to have a secure entry pass.
TFG recommends choosing wedges over stilettos to walk smoothly over the cobblestone streets.
Shopping in Italy
If you find you have left behind an essential, or you need to add to your travel wardrobe, don’t panic. Italy is the cradle of fashion and all of the biggest brands are located in every city. Stores like H&M, Zara are highly fashionable and with a various range of clothes. Italian department stores such as Coin and La Rinascente can be handy when looking for quality items. Also, the Italian brand United Colours of Benetton is recommended for basic items and it’s located in every city.
What to Wear in Italy in Spring
Sunglasses / Shoe Pepe8 C / Scarf / V Neck Tees / Summer Spells Top / Blouson Sati8 / Denim Shorts / Faye Tote / Sweater / Suit Jacket / Skirt Larguita / Shirt Plana / Skinny Jeans / Chinese Laundry Shoes
Spring in Italy is unpredictable, the temperatures can vary from chilled to warm and sometimes even hot, from a minimum of 15°C to a maximum of 28°C. When it rains and during early morning hours the temperature can go down to 10°C. Checking the weather forecast is highly recommended.
Italy Packing List:
As mentioned, Italian spring is pretty damned – as Loretta Goggi sang -, but it’s really beautiful as you can spot flowers and green everywhere. I consider spring the best season to plan a trip to Italy, as the temperatures are more moderate compared to summer.
As you plan what to wear in Italy, look for bright and light colors during this finicky season – when it’s sunny it’s really warm. Jeans are a must, alongside with skirts. The latest trend is long maxi skirts in a light fabric. Match the bottom with classic tee or pretty blouse, and don’t forget a set of sweaters or light jackets for cold days and evenings and a waterproof outwear item, such as a light trench coat, for unexpected rainstorms. Light brogues or waterproof canvas shoes are essentials for this season.
Accessories include a silk neck scarf for cold mornings, your jewelry–remember to not take expensive ones- and sunglasses. A nice sun hat is recommended but not essential.
What to Wear in Italy in Summer
Dress Romance / Top Havai / Halter Neck Top / Nightlife Aquatic Top / Astro Circle Shades / Gap Straw Satchel / Denim Shorts / Twill Shorts / T Strap Sandal /Ted Baker Swimsuit / Old Navy Tee / Gap Sandals / Forever21 Skirt
Summer in Italy is insanely hot, temperatures can reach 35°C or higher and in some cities in the north such as Milan and Venice, it can be really stuffy due to the humidity of the region. In the south is hot but still ventilated so it’s more enjoyable. Pay attention to be protected during the hottest hours of the day wearing a sun cream and a sun hat.
Italy Packing List:
According to my experience, choose light and bright colored clothing to avoid scorching in the blaring heat. Don’t forget your sunglasses, sun hat and your sun protector cream.
If you go to the seaside, pack a colorful bikini and you are in business. An elegant old-fashioned monokini is accepted if you don’t want to show too much skin.
Planning what to wear in Italy when city sightseeing dress comfortably with loose and light clothes. Shorts and skirts are essentials, a tank top or a dressy blouse and a hat to complete the look. Make sure you are not wearing anything too revealing the day you plan to visit religious places; Italy is very strict when it comes to it and you can be asked to leave or they could not let you in – add a shawl that you can wrap around for coverage when needed.
Pack a pair of beautiful summer sandals and canvas shoes for the day and a pair of open toe heels for a fancy night out and you are ready to go. Note that locals don’t like people walking around in flip-flops if not at the seaside.
In summer most of the events are outside as lots of venues have gardens and al fresco spaces where cocktail parties and happy hours are organized every evening, which are the best occasions to wear you favorite cocktail dress and enjoy the summer breeze. It’s always recommended to pack a light jacket and cardigan for cooler days and evenings.
What to Wear in Italy in Autumn
Pleated Dress with Belt / Sunglasses / Bag in Matte Teal / V-Neck Tees / Watercolor Graphic V Neck Tees / The Missing Lynx Top /Friendship Top in Black /Scarf / Chinese Laundry Lannie / Skinny Jeans / Skinny Jeans / Stich Jumper / Cardigan / Suede biker jacket / Lulu Shoes
Autumn does not differ from much from spring. Temperatures fluctuate from 15°C to 24°C and it also rains quite a lot. In the plain land in the north of Italy during this season you can experience foggy days, which are quite fascinating in cities like Venice or Milan.
Italy Packing List:
When planning what to wear in Italy in September and the autumn you should pack the same items mentioned above in the spring section. These two seasons are pretty similar and the only variations can be the umbrella and a trench coat. The key colors of the season are brown, purple, grey and black; but you can always choose lighter colors to provide relief from warmer weather.
When in doubt, plan a monochrome packing list for Italy consisting of mostly black colors, chic leather boots, stunning handbag, and silk printed scarf.
What to Wear in Italy in Winter
Dress Flc Dyana / Traveling Tote / Vanilla Milk Top / Mid Wash Pearl Collar Shirt / Khaki Silver Stud Shirt / Boat Neck Tee Shirt / Crocheted Knit Scarf / Chinese Laundry Lannie / Boot Cut Jeans / Rockstar Black Skinny Jeans / Pencil Skirt With Belt / Lulu Shoes / Helly Hansen Women’s HH Hoodie / Stitch Jumper / Khaki PU Sleeve Parka / Banana Republic Johnny Sunglasses
As mentioned before, winters can be quite cold in Italy. In the north it snows a lot and sometimes it’s quite difficult to move around the city without slipping. The south is warmer but it snows at least once a year. The temperatures go from +10°C down to -8°C. And where the climate is humid it’s colder, as you can feel it in your bones.
Italy Packing List:
To make sure you don’t freeze when planning what to wear in Italy, pack a pair of warm gloves, a thick scarf and a hat. If you are planning to go to Northern Italy, I suggest to pack a padded winter coat and layer of merino wool thermals too.
In the south you can take a winter coat or a quilted jacket. The rule in winter is to dress in layers as temperatures might change during the day, so take some long sleeves tops, warm sweaters and cardigans.
Leather boots or warm brogues are essential, make sure they are waterproof or you will be soaked all day long. A waterproof jacket can be useful to protect you from the elements, but I would suggest taking an umbrella, as it is more handy and fashionable.
Leather boots like these are perfect for travel in Europe during this time of year.
SUMMER CLOTHING FOR MEN
Mens summer clothing was a hot topic on TFG’s facebook page so we’re sharing a quick visual to help you get your guys ready for a trip to Italy in the summer.
Have a great time in Italy!
Please Note: Most of Europe’s Budget Airlines have this Carryon Bag Allowance: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Always check your airlines individual baggage rules and regulations in advance.
Suggested Travel Resource:
MORE EUROPE PACKING LISTS
Please read our Ultimate Packing List for Europe featuring stylish outfits and travel tips for 9 countries.
Hope this packing list helps you plan what to wear in Italy so you can dress like a local. Don’t forget to share the love on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
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