DRESSING ON THE SIDE
By Maureen Mancini Amaturo
(Pullquotes, if room)
<“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.” >
<“In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous.”>
The trademark of French street style is a scarf. But for the donna Italiana, style goes deeper. Italian women dress from the inside out. You see their soul, their dreams, their passions, pride, temperament, temper, and fantasies in what they wear even to the market. Like talking with their hands, a chic fashion sense seems to be an Italian trait. And ever since Julius Caesar’s third wife, Calpurnia, bloused her toga by pulling it up over a rope belt and pinning it with a gold broach for her husband’s birthday party, Italian women have been the benchmark of impeccable style.
What’s their secret? Here are some style fundamentals that Italian women have up their well-tailored sleeves that non-Italians can adopt, even on a budget.
The Big Picture
• Quality. No need to have an entire famous-label wardrobe. Invest in one designer piece, one statement-making, luxury item that will last. Build outfits around it. Quality fabrics, quality tailoring, quality fit.
The bag, the heels, the attitude
• Don’t save your “good” clothes for special occasions. For Italians, every day is special. Italian women will wear a luxury piece to walk the dog.
• Attitude. To look like an Italian fashion icon, you have to feel like one. An air of seduction, strength, and mystery works.
And Now the Specifics…
Italian street style printed coat and heels.
• Know your body and what accents your best features. Fitted silhouettes are a staple of Italian style–slim-fit jeans, tight tops and dresses. Choose figure-flattering pieces that highlight your arms, waist, legs, neckline…whatever is your best body part. You’ll feel confident and look confident. Attitude, remember?
• Dark blue, gray, or black jeans, preferably in a slim-cut or cut that flatters your figure. Choose a length that works with heels or flats.
The perfect jean accenting the legs with high-heeled booties
•Pencil skirts and fitted dresses. Your body type and height will determine what length is best. No pleats. No A-lines. The la dolce vita fitted waist with flared skirt is great, but wear it with a fitted top for balance and to create an hourglass figure.
• Add a jacket to your look. Leather jackets are <so> with Italian women, too. Current street trend in Milan: tailored knee-length and long, duster coats in bright colors and prints.
• Red lipstick. Even if you’re wearing jeans and a white tee, the drama and confidence of red lips elevates everything. Know whether you’re cool (yellow-undertone) or warm (blue-undertone) to find your perfect red.
• A truly statement-making necklace. Italian businesswomen will always stand out at a meeting or at a black-tie event with this one stunning accessory.
• High-heeled leather shoes and boots worn with everything. If you must, chic flats are fine, but scruffy-looking footwear, flip-flops, and crocs are taboo.
• A great handbag. Any size. Any color. Make it leather, make it quality.
• As figure-conscious as Italian style is, it is not about baring too much. Mystery is a big part of their seductive fashion.
• Sunglasses, as if this is a surprise. Nothing punctuates Italian style more than designer shades, even on a cloudy day.
Try out your Italian style. You haven’t lived la vita di moda until you’ve walked a mile in Giuseppe Zanotti’s shoes (and the perfect outfit to go with them).