How to Dress Like an Italian Woman: A Guide to Italian Style

italian woman style

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The Italians are known for many fabulous things — pizza, pasta, gelato. But in addition to deliciously scrumptious foods, the Italians are world-renowned for their unique fashion and style.

Italian “fashion girls” are breaking the mold of fashion and phenomenally embody what personal style really means. While many western stylists follow seasonal trends, the Italian girls seem to dance to the beat of their own drum.

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There’s a sense of mystery in the styles Italian girls personify, and it makes us want to copy their looks even more. Each girl’s style is so personal, meaning Italian fashion can’t be easily summed up,

What is “la bella figura”?

To truly understand how to dress like an Italian woman, one must understand the concept of “la bella figura” as it is the foundation of the Italian woman’s style.

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La bella figura literally translates to “the beautiful figure. It specifically means to dress well to make a good impression. Wanting to look appealing is a common desire for Italians, an integral part of the culture we are immersed in as children. 

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La bella figura, though, is much more than appearance. It is also about dignity, hospitality and politeness. It is a way of life wherein everything is beautiful – your manners, your appearance, your food, your friendships, etc.

Bella Figura by Kamin Mohammadi delves much deeper into this mindset. And with that, I hope you came with your pen and notebook because Ms. Alyssa Beltempo has some style notes for you to take — here’s how, you too, can dress like a stylish Italian woman.

1. Harmony.


No matter how much print, loud color or bold silhouettes are incorporated into an outfit, there is always an undercurrent of harmony. Somehow it works. This comes from thoughtfully chosen pieces that are still timeless and classic with quality fabrics, and/or a common color scheme, and timeless accessories to pull it all together. Ultimately, it is a balancing act between drama and sophistication. Which brings me to … 

2. Balance.


Italian women style their outfits with balance. If there is drama somewhere, it will be balanced out with elegance. Short hems with long sleeves, bold accessories with a minimal ensemble, I could go on. The point is, there is never too much of one thing. 

3. Lingerie.


I think the confidence Italian women exude comes from their expertly chosen lingerie. Even if nobody but them is going to see it, Italian women still choose beautiful underpinnings. Not only for the confidence boost but because well-fitting and appropriate underwear allow clothing to fall more gracefully off the body.

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4. High-quality basics.


This is where the French and Italians are similar. They know the value behind a timeless, high-quality basic piece, and they wear them often. Italian women also understand the importance of luxurious fabrics like linen, merino, and cashmere and taking good care of these basics. 

5. A statement piece.


In every Italian woman’s outfit, you will find a statement or elevated piece. It could be something small, like an heirloom broach, or something with more of a wow factor like a statement coat. In all cases, it is beautiful, and adds the right touch of personality, making every Italian woman’s look “special”

6. Emphasis.


Italian women are not afraid to show off what they love best about themselves, and I think this is a beautiful thing that more women need to incorporate in their daily dressing. Did you ever see Sophia Loren look ashamed of flaunting her gorgeous figure? Or Claudia Cardinale? I think it’s this strong sense of self that Italian women pose which adds to their elegant confidence and sex appeal. 

7. Heels.


I think this has changed in recent years, with sensible but stylish flats being the norm, but I do think a comfortable and stylish pair of heels can be seen in many an Italian woman’s outfits. Heels are another way to elevate an outfit (excuse the pun) and don’t need to be sky-high. (My 70+-year-old aunt who always wears heels out is a testament to this).

8. Quality accessories.


Handbag, shoes, and sunnies: This trifecta of style is always included in any Italian woman’s outfit. And they don’t have to be designer or incredibly expensive. The criteria here is well made, timeless and uber stylish. 

9. Drama.


Italians are known for their flair for the dramatic and this extends to their style too. However rather than depending on trendy items to do the work for them, Italian women know that drama can be added by playing around with silhouettes and proportions of garments.

Stylish Italian women are bringing back the fun and individuality we love about fashion in their style. From fringe to sequins to rhinestones, they’re inspiring new waves of chic, personal style. The biggest trend Italian girls have been spotted in? Colors! Everything from neons to pastels. They’re not one to shy away from bold colors and prints, either, and have endless iterations of ways to style them — and we’re so here for every bit of it.

Be sure to check out the original version of this article by Ms. Alyssa Beltempo.

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