White sneakers and khaki pants? American.
Flip flops and shorts in the middle of winter? German.
Default raincoat and pink lipstick? British.
Vintage sundress, leggings and mary janes? French.
Skinny jeans, high-heeled boots, designer tote and crisp white T-shirt? Italian.
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Walking down the streets of Rome’s centro storico, you can spot a person’s nationality without even asking for their passport. A lot has to do with hair too. Italian women most always don well-groomed roots, glossy Aniston-style manes, inconspicuous highlights and a killer haircut.
Unless it’s 8:45 am and they’re dropping off the kids at school. There you’ll usually meet frazzled viragos wearing scrunchies and baggy sweats.
But Italians know how to dress, no doubt. Blame the haute couture designer influence, the “Made in Italy” philosophy, or the overall great history of fashion that surrounds them daily, le ragazze Italiane know their stuff.
At times they may overdo the accessories, some are fashion victims, and some come covered head-to-toe in logos and initials. But for the most part, Italian women have chic in their DNA.
Italians can be thrifty and purchase knock-offs from their favorite Senegalese sidewalk Prada pusher. They may comb second hand stores for the perfect vintage leather jacket in a tucked away dark corner of the city. They may spend their hard earned cash on one exquisite pair of peep-toe slingbacks, or take daddy’s platinum credit card for a field trip, if they’re lucky.
I love the way Italian women dress. I appreciate the studied, “first thing I could throw on” look, how some can juxtapose classic cuts to denim, the dashing shabby chic, or the way some Italian ladies benefit from the simple elegance of a well tailored pant suit while riding their vespas to work.
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Obviously style comes not with the clothes, but with the person. Elegance may have a code, it’s the personal taste that seizes that code and bends it to circumstance.
Italians take huge pride in their appearance. Many opt for classic, well-made clothes, rather than experimental, disposable fashion.
Italy is not the place to find new fangled trends, rather le Italiane embrace a consistent elegance through all walks of life. There is rarely a style off-duty; for Italians dressing casually–even at pre-school pick up–is no excuse for slovenly attire.
Here are some images stolen on the street. They speak volumes on how to dress like a true Italian.
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*First photo courtesy of OliverN5 via Flickr. All other photos by Eleonora, our own Moda Spia (fashion spy)