Jennifer Nataf
Fashion Fairy Godmother & Street Style Photographer

The Beauty of Italian Style

Italy… the sites… the food… the people… the style…

*BIG sigh*

I recently returned from a trip to Italy. A couple of weeks after my trip to France, a friend called me up and asked me whether I wanted to travel to Italy with her. Without thinking, I replied with a resounding “YES!”. (Some decisions are no-brainers, especially after a travel hiatus of 3 years.)

glamourous woman eating lunch
Monica, eating lunch in Milan

If I had been excited at the thought of photographing people in France, I was exuberant at the prospect of shooting Street Style photos in Italy. From my previous visits, I recalled how beautifully the men dress in Italy, and with what attention to detail. Capturing that on camera was a life goal I didn’t think I’d get to fulfill quite so soon.

The women’s style in Italy hadn’t made much of an impression on me, on previous visits… but as I noted in my “French Chic” post – this time I was *really* paying attention.

The lovely, warm Italians – so similar in culture to Israelis – were extremely accommodating… even if they were in the middle of lunch (like Monica, above), or when they didn’t speak English (like Angela, who called her daughter to have her explain and translate, pictured below).

Here are my main takeaways about Italian style:

Greta in camel and black
Greta, in camel and black

Colour-wise, while the French tended to wear outfits of black OR soft neutrals, the Italians mixed black with neutrals. There was a lot of black and beige, black and camel, black and taupe, black and cream in Italy. There weren’t as many entirely neutral outfits (creams, tans, beiges, browns) as there were in France. Bright colours tended to be reserved for accessories and less for actual clothes.

Interestingly, there were quite a few people entirely bedecked in monochromatic green (top to bottom, including coat, scarves, gloves, hats). It was mostly a soft, muted green or an army green. Their shoes and bags were either a similar green shade or a soft neutral (brown, taupe, beige, etc.) – they didn’t default to black accessories, which would have made for a harsher overall impression. It was such a magical, gently impactful look, reminiscent of fairies and elves.

mature Italian woman in beautiful classic outfit
Angela, a mature woman who continues to dress beautifully.

* The elderly dress just as beautifully as the young. There is no “give up and let yourself go” after a certain age. They continue to dress with the same attention to detail in their clothing and accessories in their old age, as they had all their lives. That blew me away.

* Italians do tailored wool coats like no one else. The fit of these coats (at the shoulders, the bust, the waist, everywhere!), the quality of the material and the stitching, the proportions (lapels, buttons, length, belt placement)… They were so perfect, so beautiful and so well integrated with the rest of their outfits. Even if someone wore a puffy or an oversized wool coat, these coats were integrated as part of an entire “look”, with everything else properly proportioned, sometimes sleek and streamlined, to contrast with the puffiness or voluminousness of the coat.

two women wearing Louis Vuitton and Chanel bags
Luxury bags on display in Milan! (Green Louis Vuitton and blue Chanel)

* Luxury bags were especially prevalent in the center of Milan. The women were dressed tastefully and classically; the bright cherry on top of their well-coordinated outfit being a beautiful luxury bag, which was really the highlight of the outfit. From the glances I was able to steal, the bags appeared to be genuine, but I asked someone in the know and she said “most of them are… but some of them aren’t”. (In Israel, the large majority of luxury bags I see are fakes or replicas. I’d venture to say over 99% of “luxury bags” in Israel are fakes, and bad ones at that.)

* Black faux-leather leggings were everywhere! Italian women in every city I went were wearing black faux-leather leggings, often paired with a beautiful wool coat and long scarf looped around their necks, in a colour palette of blacks and neutrals.

* Not a matter of style, but also a matter of appearance that I found interesting in a anthropological way: The use fillers (cheeks, lips) in Italy was as widespread as it is in Israel (much more than in France, where I didn’t see much cosmetic enhancement in the places I went). It’s not just the Italians’ and Israelis’ warmth and driving cultures that are similar – their use of cosmetic enhancement is another thing in common.

debonair man in Italian menswear
Marco, in Florence (uniformed policeman by day – debonair gentleman by weekend!)

* Lastly, the menswear. I SWOON! Writing about the way Italian men dress will make this post too long… so I will leave the topic of Italian men’s style for another post. (But I will leave you with one of my favourite Italian menswear’s pics so you have an idea of what you can look forward to: Marco, above.)

You are more than welcome to check out the Italian street style photos on my JRS Street Style pages (FB, IG and website).

And I still have so many more photos in my phone to post. Visit my page on whichever platform you prefer, and let me know what you think about Italian style!

About the Author
I'm a personal stylist in Jerusalem and the center of Israel. I help women find their own unique style and elevate it, so that they feel beautiful and confident and ready to take on the world. I also photograph stylish strangers on the street - my goal is to demonstrate that you can have great style regardless of your age, body shape, or budget.
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