This is a big one. You have a handle on the language. You know how to order food, have small talk, ask for directions, and you want to blend in. So, what should you wear if you want to dress like an Italian?
Here in America, we judge a person the moment we see them–subconsciously or not. In Italy, it’s much worse. While you may not be going to Milan Fashion Week, you want to be conscious about how you look. Fashion is important in Italy. This becomes obvious the moment you board the plane and you realize everyone around you is well dressed. And those that aren’t? Well, they’re the Americans.
Why do people always say that Italian men are the most attractive in Europe? It’s not in the face, I can promise you that! It’s in the way they dress. Their skinny jeans are tighter than yours. Their hair is meticulously set (kind of like the S.S.). Not one eyebrow hair is out of place. With all of the effort they put into their look, do you really want to be walking around in a tank top and flip flops?
And don’t forget, the more you blend in, the less susceptible you are to being targeted by street vendors, pick pockets, aggressive outdoor restaurant hosts, and doting Italian men.
After all the effort of learning to dress like an Italian, don’t fool yourself. After months in Italy, tirelessly practicing to erase my accent and dressing to blend in, someone has only mistaken me for an Italian once. It was a glorious (and brief) moment and I’ll never forget it.
Here are my best posts on fashion in Italy: