Italians are known for looking chic and put-together 24/7. Athleisure isn’t in their vocab. We, on the other hand, practically live in Lululemon. So we wondered: Could we be one of those people who appear to have rolled out of bed and onto the cover of Vogue Italia? Could the world be our runway? What would that be like?
In our quest for effortlessly cool style, we learned a thing or two from the Italians. Save your sweat-wicking fibers for 24 Hour Fitness. Here are the 6 style tips you should borrow:
1. Adopt a quality-over-quantity mindset.
Unless you’re Donatella Versace, you’re likely buying clothing on a budget. It’s smarter to invest your money in a few high-quality basics that will last a lifetime. There’s a reason why “Made in Italy” is synonymous with quality and craftsmanship. Pick neutral-colored separates in natural fabrics. A good rule of thumb: it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Invest in at least one piece of cashmere. Everyone should experience the luxury of owning a ridiculously soft sweater made from fine gauge imported cashmere.
A word about fit: Italians have an eye for well-fitting clothing that flaunts their best features. You can steal the look by choosing shapes and cuts that complement your figure. For example, if you are triangular or pear-shaped, boot cut jeans will balance your shape and keep everything in proportion. Find advice tailored to your shape on The Jeans Blog.
2. Invest in a pair of handmade leather shoes.
Italians tend to compromise comfort for style when it comes to footwear. And the stereotypes are mostly true: Italians tend to wear leather shoes. Get yourself a handmade leather shoe with a heel and a closed, pointed toe. (Italians only wear flats to the beach or pool.) Shoe care and upkeep is important. Keep them polished.
3. Tote a statement handbag.
Every Italian woman has a classic leather handbag on their arm. The decision to drop $200 on a bag is difficult, but not for the reasons you might expect. In her article, The Nerve-Racking, Soul-Searching, Exhilarating Process of Shopping for a Handbag, Rachel Dodes describes the thought-process behind the purchase: In picking a bag, we are in essence showing the world how we pay respect to the contents of our lives, and perhaps even ourselves. Dodes’ advice: Choose a bag for its longevity, not the bag’s “it” factor.
The perfect armpiece is polished, practical—and leather. Leather ages beautifully and—like platinum metal—its beauty is enhanced over time. Buy the best quality you can afford. Unlike a statement dress, which is difficult to re-wear, you can theoretically carry a well-made leather handbag every day, forever. Choose a neutral color for its versatility, and look for something structured, as it will better retain its shape over time.
4. Rock designer sunglasses.
Italians love their designer sunglasses. Italian labels like Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana set the trends for the rest of the world. So, if you’re really committed to this, splurge on a pair of designer sunglasses—the bigger the better. However, if you are broke from buying aforementioned statement handbag, keep in mind that most frames you find in stores, regardless of brand label, are made by Italian eyewear conglomerate Luxottica, which also owns LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut.
5. Slick on red nail polish.
Red nail polish is a classic Italian beauty trademark. To find the best bottle of lacquer, we turned to the internet. Rank and Style, a NYC digital startup, uses an algorithm to crawl the internet (user reviews, bloggers’ tips, best-seller lists, editors’ picks, celebrity favorites, and industry recommendations), aggregate, weigh and cross-reference the data and serve it up, list style. Here are Rank and Style’s 10 Best Red Nail Polishes.
6. Accessorize with Italian gold.
You don’t need to shop Ponte Vecchio to find a collection of jewelry that’s true Italian—or as they say in Florence, Vero Italiano. That’s because we’ve partnered with the finest Italian designers and craftsmen to produce a collection that’s indicative of the Italian standard for craftsmanship and beauty. It’s bellissimo! But what else can be expected from a country that been creating beauty for centuries? View the Vero Italiano Collection here.
Italians take their look seriously—it’s a concept that’s hardwired into the Italian psyche. A good impression is everything: the care you take in choosing your clothing directly translates to the care you take in all other aspects of life. As for their seemingly innate ability to make simple, sexy, there’s a word for it. Sprezzatura is studied nonchalance. As it relates to fashion, it’s making a styled look appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.