What to wear in Rome: Here’s how to dress stylishly in the Italian capital

Wondering what to wear in Rome? Here’s the ultimate packing list for a truly stylish visit

What to wear in Rome street style images
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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!


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.


What dresses to wear in Rome

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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. 


Street style images showing what trousers to wear to Rome

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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. 


Street style images of women wearing tops in Rome

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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. 


street style images of what to wear in rome

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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.. 


what shoes to wear in rome

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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.


What to wear in rome - designer handbags

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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. 

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

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.