Not sure what to wear in Rome? If you’re planning a visit to the Italian capital, ensure you look 'Bellissima' with our guide on what to wear to this stylish city.
If you want to encapsulate true Italian style, you need to go bold. When deciding what to wear in Rome, there is no need to be shy, bright colors, busy prints and statement dressing are very much the Italian way. You only need to look at some Italian homegrown designers and the top Italian clothing brands such as Versace, Gucci and Pucci to know that minimalism really isn’t their thing.
While classics are still important in any Italian woman’s wardrobe, unique and fun accessories are their way of dressing up any outfit. It's all about glamour, so jeans are dressed up with chandelier earrings and a black dress is given added vibrancy with a patterned blazer. Understanding what to wear in Rome means knowing how to tap into joyful dressing. It also means wearing super feminine shapes as silhouette is important, as are dramatic shapes, power shoes, and of course, oversized sunglasses!
WHAT TO WEAR IN ROME - OUTFITS CHOSEN BY A FASHION EDITOR
Italian fashion covers a range of categories and with luxury designers such as Fendi to street style brands like Miss Sixty, what unifies Italian style is quality and a sense of fun. Italian women love to throw out the fashion rulebook and dress how they feel that very day.
Of course, when you’re packing for a trip, you don’t want to be taking every item of clothing you own, so these are the wardrobe essentials that will make you stand out on the Rome streets for all the right reasons.
1. BEST DRESSES TO WEAR IN ROME
When it comes to what to wear in Rome, a bold, printed dress should be top of your packing list. A polar opposite to what to wear in Paris, where neutral, simple dresses are in favor, in Italy, dresses should make you ‘la bella figura’. Translated it means ‘the beautiful figure’ however the wider meaning is to dress well to make a fabulous impression and enhance your silhouette, dressing proudly for your shape.
Italian women understand the power of a bold print or bright color - they practically live for dopamine dressing - and a statement dress makes a versatile addition to any vacation wardrobe.
Fitted is always better when it comes to dress styles, while the lingerie or corset dress has long been a signature of Italian designers and leaders of fashion trends: Dolce & Gabbana. Whatever color or style you choose, wear your best midi dress in Rome with a blazer and sunglasses, or go casual with a cardigan and woolly hat. The main key here is too bold and unapologetic.
RRP: $74.50 / £350 | The corset bodice on this faux leather dress gives it a super feminine feel. Don’t just keep this beauty for evenings though. Team it with your best white t-shirt for a more dressed-down day look, adding a leather jacket for instant glam.
RRP: $74.50 / £65 | If you’re wondering how to explore what is Barbiecore in a grown-up way, try this dress. Mixing pink with zebra print, it’s definitely a statement, but it benefits from added sophistication thanks to a split hem and long ruched sleeves.
RRP: $27.99 / £18.99 | The rich animal print design on this dress makes it look much more luxe than its price tag. The tie belt will flatter an hourglass body type, while the balloon sleeves add drama to what would otherwise be a very simple dress.
2. BEST SKIRTS AND TROUSERS TO WEAR IN ROME
Ditch the jeans when you’re in Rome and swap them for something a little more tailored. Whether you decide to explore how to wear a leather skirt - one of the spring/summer fashion trends 2023 is predicting will be big - or choose a cute pastel mini, the Italian woman always keeps her tailoring fun.
A bold-colored suit with wide-legged or flared trousers to up the style ante is the perfect item when deciding what to wear in Rome. A pair of clashing heels will look playfully chic come evening, and when it comes to sightseeing, team them your best white trainers for a cool and practical outfit.
RRP: $81.57 / £71.20 | Kick flare trousers look best when grazing your ankle. In one of the top fashion color trends 2023 pair these with a matching jacket, these orange flares create a super stylish alternative to a dress for evenings out.
RRP: $39.90 / £25.99 | This textured mini skirt is a great starting point for an outfit that will look smart, not stuffy. A polo neck and knee-high boots will give it a retro, '60s feel while a sheer blouse and embellished flats make it winter wedding outfit appropriate.
3. BEST TOPS TO WEAR IN ROME
Italian fashion is all about drama and an easy way to introduce this into an outfit is with a voluminous sleeve on a blouse, a super bright t-shirt popped under a blazer or a slinky camisole embellished with a feather trim.
This might sound OTT but there’s always balance in any Italian outfit. That super short skirt suddenly looks chic when styled with an oversized jumper. Your simple best cashmere sweater gets an injection of style with a statement necklace. It's about juxtaposing pieces, in an unexpected way.
Keeping all the drama on your top half is also great if you’re looking to pack minimally, as an attention-stealing top will elevate simple mom jean outfits in an instant.
RRP: $136.37 / £119 | While a risky move if you’re going to be tucking into spaghetti while in Rome, this blouse is a real stand-out thanks to the cuff detailing, the gold buttons are the icing on the cake. It’s definitely the best shirt for a day-to-night outfit.
RRP: $63.26 / £55.20 | Ready to channel your inner Bridgerton? This puff sleeve blouse gives Regency-era fashion a modern twist. Ideal for nailing how to style leather pants, the prettiness of this blouse will offset tailored, androgynous pieces really well.
4. BEST COATS TO WEAR IN ROME
The Italian flair for drama is suited none better than to the best winter coats. Bigger is always better when it comes to coats. The joy of a dramatic coat is that it instantly makes any outfit - yes, even jeans and a jumper can look so much more stylish.
Oversized styles with dramatic finishes such as large collars will make you look like a Rome native. And even though it’s pretty mild for most of the year in the Italian capital, come winter, fur coats are a must-have.
Furry coats in all colors rule, but bright colors help to break the winter doom and are a key part of the overall look. What’s more, most of the coat looks favored by Italian women such as leopard print, faux fur, and oversized puffer coats, are all very much part of the latest coat trends, making creating this look even easier..
RRP: $391.20 / £227.40 | Why go for just one animal print, when you can have two? Made from a cozy Italian wool blend, this longline statement coat is the perfect way to dress up everything in your closet this winter, from workwear to jeans.
RRP: $2,980 / £1,910 | With ‘90s fashion trend, 'logomania' making a comeback, this cape is of the moment. Made from wool jacquard, and decorated with the 'GG' monogram, it elevates any outfit. Team with wide-legged pants for laidback glamor.
5. BEST SHOES TO WEAR IN ROME
While they may not be the best for sightseeing, the shoe of choice in Rome is most definitely a heel, no kitten heels here though - super high stilettos or platforms rule. Two of the big spring/summer shoe trends 2023 include the return of party shoes and bright footwear, both of which are popular with the women of Rome. A bright pink stiletto really has the power to lift an ordinary outfit, such as jeans and a blouse, into the realms of the style-savvy.
If you prefer a pair of comfortable flats though, nothing is more Italian than a loafer, especially if it’s been designed by Gucci or Tod's. Not sure how to style loafers? Pair them with a midi or mini skirt and socks for a preppy twist.
Trainers aren’t really a thing on the streets here, but if you do need a sporty shoe, make sure you at least choose a cool Italian brand such as Superga or Fila.
RRP: $662.89 / £572 | Feminine and modern, these Gianvito Rossi beauties are a real showstopper. Tapping into this season's boot trends, let the boots do all the talking (and walking) and keep the rest of your outfit simple and minimal.
RRP: $39.99 / £34.99 | A chunky loafer is great if you’re on your feet all day. The masculine styling will pair nicely with a floaty floral dress. They’re also a great shoe to wear with leggings after your trip as the chunky soul balances out the slim fit of the leggings.
6. BEST HANDBAGS TO WEAR IN ROME
Italy is home to some of the best designer bags, so it’s no wonder that a chic bag is a must-have for most Italian women and a great choice for what to wear in Rome if you want to fit in. Whether it’s Gucci, Furla, Bottega Veneta, Prada or Marni, Italian leather craftmanship is the gold standard when it comes to handbags, regardless of whether you have chosen the best designer tote or the best designer backpack.
While a backpack is an obvious choice for a weekend away, the women of Rome prefer to tote a small clutch or crossbody bag while out and about. The bag is often the center of the outfit, rather than the finishing touch, and while classic colors such as black, tan and beige never date, embellishments, patterns and bold colors are also popular.
Make sure that whatever style bag you choose that it’s big enough to carry around your essentials, but not so large that it becomes a burden.
RRP: $472 / £429 | The mix of Italian craftsmanship and Scandi design means that ATP Atelier’s handbags are very popular with the fashion set. The Arezzo is the perfect size for a weekend away - large enough to fit in a spare pair of flats but not too big to get in the way - it can be worn crossbody or on the arm.
RRP: $26 / £17 | Micro bags are going nowhere, and while they may not be great if you want to lug your life around with you, they are perfect for nights out or weekends away when all your need is your phone and a credit card. The ring fixture gives this one an edge and it will go with everything in your wardrobe.
RRP: $3,890 / £2,850 | Surely Fendi’s iconic baguette is the best designer crossbody bag out there? First released in the '90s, it’s become a true classic. Italian brand Fendi has thankfully reissued several new styles including this sheepskin number, which manages to be both cozy and super stylish at the same time.
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With over 22 years’ experience in journalism, Jayne has written about a variety of subjects. She spent the start of her career within the world of film, interviewing Hollywood stars, attending premieres and lusting after red carpet outfits, and then moved into fashion, launching websites for big magazines such as Look, Woman’s Own and Wedding and working with top fashion brands such as Westfield, LK Bennett and Hunter.
Career highlights include dressing up as Kylie (in gold hot pants!) for a national newspaper and working on big fashion events alongside Giles Deacon, Henry Holland and Naomi Campbell.
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