The Truth about Italian Style

July 29, 2015
The Truth about Italian Style

Prior to living in Italy, I always thought Italians had the most fabulous individual style. Now I know that is not true. The truth is, very likely a few people decide the trends for each season and the rest of the country follows suit (I’m not sure who these “people” are, but heavy-hitter names that come to mind are Lapo Elkann, Anna Dello Russo, and Chiara Ferragni).

It’s reminiscent of that scene in The Devil Wears Prada when Miranda Priestly describes how fashion is mass-produced based on the choices of a couple of people. Italians are very much pecore (sheep) when it comes to trends (my Italian friends have admitted this to me themselves)- they follow each other whether it’s down a street leading to style paradise or on a highway to hell that ends with a plunge into a black hole.

I have often thought that the reason everyone comes to Italy and thinks the people are dressed impeccably is because they are all wearing a version of the same outfit, hence the streets of Milan look like a perfectly coordinated runway collection accessorized by Louis Vuitton.

I would like to point out that this is not a critique of taste, because Italians seem to be born with “buon gusto, but rather of the tendency to follow a pre-determined style standard. If you’ve been a tourist in Italy for a period longer than a couple of days and you’re not completely oblivious to your surroundings, you will undoubtedly be nodding your head as you read this.

I have often thought that the reason everyone comes to Italy and thinks the people are dressed impeccably is because they are all wearing a version of the same outfit, hence the streets of Milan look like a perfectly coordinated runway collection accessorized by Louis Vuitton.

To get down to the entertaining specifics, this past winter, the only acceptable coat to wear was the light weight puffer jacket. If you fell between the age range of 13-30, the compulsory brand was Colmar. Instead, anyone in the older age bracket had to be seen in the classic and oh-so-affordable Moncler. The colors of choice were navy and black for all ages, dark green being the consolation prize if you couldn’t get your hands on the former.

I had coincidentally brought a Canada Goose puffer jacket with me from the motherland and got quite a few questionable looks from Italians having a tough time identifying the logo on it, probably thinking it was a street-bought counterfeit of the beloved Colmar or Moncler brands. Style in Italy is not just about a particular “look” but also the brand itself.

The Truth about Italian Style

Let’s talk shoes. If you’re Italian and don’t own a pair of Hogan sneakers, I will personally give you 100 Euros. Hogan is a little-known brand on the other side of the pond, but is actually a brainchild of the luxury brand Tods and the Italians are obsessed with a capital O. The revered style is an elegant spin on the sneaker with a hidden heel that gives a boost to legs (actually rather ingenious).

You can spot the infamous “H” on the side of these sneakers if you glance down at absolutely anyone. This could evolve into a fantastic summertime drinking game–just grab a table facing any street, and every time you see someone in these shoes…take a shot! You won’t last an hour without having to call it quits!

Fast-forward to right now, summer 2015 in Italy. I’m living, breathing, and wearing it as I type out this article and I’m sure you’re dying to know what’s figuratively “hot.” This summer, it’s been all about the mirrored lens sunglasses in a rainbow of colors and with the general rule that you can’t have the same color as any of your friends. Basically you’ll be at the seaside and see groups of Italian teenagers showing off an entire catalog of different frame/lens color combinations.

This could evolve into a fantastic summertime drinking game–just grab a table facing any street, and every time you see someone in these shoes…take a shot! You won’t last an hour without having to call it quits!

The models that are popular are anything with a plastic frame (Oakleys or Hawkers), or the ever-classic Ray-Ban aviators; I’d never even heard of Hawkers before moving to Italy. This trend, in particular, is one that I’m a fan of because it’s fresh, fun, and affordable compared to other Italian style commandments. It’s nice to see some trends that are accessible to every budget since many of them are unfortunately not (which makes them all the more desirable, go figure).

There you have it, a quick little summary on Italian style seen from a different light. Dear Italians, sorry for revealing your dirty secret but I promise it was completely nonjudgemental seeing as I am also the proud owner of two pairs of Hogans, a puffer jacket, and green mirror-lens Oakleys because hey, when in Rome…

The Truth about Italian Style

The Truth about Italian Style

The Truth about Italian Style

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Have you traveled to Italy? What were your impressions? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

The Truth about Italian Style top photo credit Jessica Shen

About Jasmine Mah

Jasmine MahJasmine is a former pharmacist, foodie, and fashionista from Alberta, Canada living the sweet life in Bergamo, Italy. A city girl with a country heart, she currently curates all things fabulous and Italian on her blog Questa Dolce Vita and enjoys drinking wine in her spare time.

4 thoughts on “The Truth about Italian Style

  1. Avatar
    Jasmine
    August 2, 2015
    Reply

    Ciao ragazze! Thanks for your comments! Haha Serena, I’m glad you never fell in the Hogan trap (unlike myself, I actually like them because they make a bit taller compared to other sneakers and I had never seen them in Canada!). Alessandra, I always wonder this as well because often it’s groups of younger people who are sporting all these particular brands. And lucky you..that’s the perfect situation, many trends don’t make it over there for years I’ve noticed!

    Baci!!!

    • Avatar
      Jasmine
      August 2, 2015

      *me

  2. Avatar
    Alessandra
    August 2, 2015
    Reply

    The good thing about being Italian and living overseas is to be able to shop when I get back, all the last season’s bargains, and then they look fashionable for years abroad… the only thing is that when I am in Italy I definitely don’t look Italian anymore!

    Anyway, I could never afford those brands when I was young and living there, and it remains a mystery to me how can people manage to find the money to dress while complaining about the crisis :-).

    Thank you for the article!

    Ciao
    Alessandra

  3. Avatar
    Serena
    August 2, 2015
    Reply

    Waiting for your 100€!
    I’ve never had a pair of Hogan and I’m never going to wear them!
    But maybe your are right…and I think also people who declare themselves nonconformist, still choose what to wear only in contradiction to the trend they see around them, so your argument works for them as well..

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