How to Dress in Italy

February 25, 2018

Italy is's also a huge country. I spent about a week in mostly northern Italy; from Rome, to Venice, and found out very quickly that the country has its own set of rules when it comes to clothing.

It was summertime, and especially in Rome, it was pretty hot, so I did what any good natured American girl would do, I threw on shorts and a t-shirt. Ladies. Rules number one. Do not wear shorts. Maybe bermuda shorts would be alright, but I was wearing typical denim shorts, and apparently this was synonymous with...well a lady of the night at the least. I got multiple innapropriate touches and jeers at me. Outside of Rome I wore shorts and was fine, but kept it to longer shorts or skirts.

I did find it ok to wear shorts in northernmost Italy, especially when balancing it out with a long sleeve shirt.

Besides thinking about the possibility of minor sexual assault in the street, it is important to have clothing with you that covers your shoulders and knees, male or female, so you can enter all the beautiful churches around Italy. This is obviously especially enforced in the Vatican, and I found it best to always have a scarf on hand if I ran into a particularly beautiful church and needed to wrap my shoulders.

With Italy being so walkable, and so many things to see, I found myself wearing a good pair of sneakers every day. Sure Adidas might have fit more into the European vibe, but I found my Nikes to blend in just fine. Most days I paired Nikes with a capped sleeve tee and jeans or black leggings. It also made for an easy transition to a night out, swap out the sneakers for booties and throw on a jacket or some jewelry, and bam -- perfect dinner outfit. For me, the priority of travel was to see where I was, not look like a supermodel, so everything I did was efficient, check out how I kept my beauty regimen on the go.

Speaking of dinner, if you're a foodie like me, you might want to be wary of wearing white or other light colors to eat in. Gotta love that pasta sauce...and apparently I can't feed myself better than a toddler.

With Italy, or anywhere else, you can never go wrong with black. Wear layers, bring plain pieces that can easily be mixed and matched (and worn a few times over before needing a wash), and research the local customs of what area you're going to. Know that in general, Italy becomes more conservative and traditional as you go south, and more accepting and progressive as you go north.

When traveling, I was told so many things of what to bring, or how to act, and while it is important to respect the local customs, you have to find a balance of what you are comfortable with, and what keeps you safe.

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