From top luxury brands such as Gucci and Armani to legendary style icons Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci, Italy is renowned around the world for its sartorial style. Yet the Italian take on luxury fashion is also highly wearable thanks to its understated approach and love of outfit-elevating accessories.

Italian women, in particular, have a natural flair for making sophistication, elegance, and glamour look effortless. So, if you would like to add a little dolce vita to your life, here’s how to dress for luxury the Italiana way.

Woman in red fur coat, black boots, and designer black handbag

La bella figura

The secret to chic Italian style is the concept of ‘la bella figura’, or ‘the beautiful figure’. Put simply, when it comes to dressing for luxury, the Italian woman likes to make a good impression.

What is truly beautiful about la bella figura is its effortless style that perfectly combines sophistication, elegance, and low-key glamour. Whether that’s a low-key look for the school run, accessorised casual for the supermarket, or a high-end designer outfit for a special event, it’s all about presenting your very best self to the world.

High-quality basics

Every Italian woman knows that when it comes to the contents of their wardrobe, investing in the basics is key to the polished look they are renowned for. They also embrace the concept of the capsule wardrobe, where 80% are versatile or timeless essentials while the remainder are transformational statement pieces.

To build the foundations for your Italian luxe style, start with premium-quality basics to create those classic lines and elegant looks which will effortlessly take you from day to night. Think crisp white Ts, fitted blouses, tailored blazers, and sharp black pants which can all be styled and accessorised in endless ways. And, by investing in quality designs and luxury fabrics, your capsule basics will look sharp and be designed to last.

Focus on fit

Luxury is as much about how your clothes make you feel when you wear them as it is about how they look, and Italian women instinctively know that a beautifully fitted outfit instantly creates a chic and sophisticated style.

Create a stunning silhouette by choosing clothes that work with the shape of your body and feel effortless to wear. Getting the right fit and cut will instantly make you look and feel good and ready to take on the world.

Choose luxe fabrics

Whether it’s basic items for your capsule wardrobe or a one-off outfit designed to turn heads, always invest in the very best fabrics if you want to emulate the luxury Italian look. Quality materials such as silk, cashmere, and premium leather all add more than a touch of luxury and can elevate even the simplest of outfits like a T and skinny jeans.

By playing with your fabric combinations, such as an edgy pair of leather trousers coupled with a super-feminine cashmere turtleneck, you can turn any classic outfit on its head.

Invest in a handbag

If you only add one luxury item to your Italian-inspired wardrobe, make it a designer handbag. A quality leather handbag is a staple item for any Italian woman and can complete any outfit without looking as if you have tried too hard.

Vintage styled designs that combine practicality with high-end retro fashion are big right now. Or, for Italian city-chic, opt for a sharp cross-the-body style. The baguette handbag epitomised by Fendi or a classic chain shoulder bag is always the perfect go-to when you need to up the sophistication.

Go big on accessories

Finally, statement accessories are at the heart of the Italian signature style. They are also an impactful way to stamp your individuality on what you wear without completely overhauling your wardrobe.

Think over-sized sunglasses that channel the 1950s riviera, silk scarves with baroque patterns, sassy red kitten heels, or statement jewellery in chunky sculptural designs, and you’ll soon be accessorising just like the Italian fashionistas.

Bold accessories also pop against the timeless black, neutral, or muted colours that epitomise the chic Italian woman and can show a more playful, edgy, or seductive side to the way they dress.

By using accessories to balance and harmonise with your outfit, you are embracing the epitome of luxury dressing, the la bella figura way.

Author

Infuriatingly humble tv advocate. Writer. Internet expert. Reader. Twitter nerd. My current pet project is getting my feet wet with jack-in-the-boxes on Wall Street. Have some experience marketing tattoos in the government sector. A real dynamo when it comes to lecturing about barbie dolls in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Spent a weekend donating hula hoops in the government sector. Developed several new methods for managing yard waste in the financial sector. Spent 2001-2004 donating wooden tops in Bethesda, MD.