Perhaps it’s my Italian roots or the fact that I’m really missing my annual trip across the Atlantic Ocean; today I want to dive into some elements of Italian style that can instantly elevate any outfit even if you’re not Italian.
I’ve never known an Italian woman who doesn’t have confidence in herself. I believe this stems from being raised to “fare la bella figura” which means to put your best foot forward or your best self forward in any circumstance. Fare la bella figura has nothing to do with wearing the latest trends or having a body that society deems “hot”, but everything to do with pride of place and pride of self.
When I get asked by clients or friends if they can “pull something off”, I have to tamp down my frustration of how much energy we spend caring about other peoples’ perceptions of us. From my experience, nothing is more stylish than an outfit worn with confidence, and this is something Italians seem to do exceptionally well.
The good thing is, you don’t have to be Italian to feel confident in your clothes. Wearing garments that fit your body, that flatter you in a way that you love, and that exude your own personal style are key to feeling good in what you wear. Also – killer undergarments help. There’s something deeply personal about knowing you’re the only one who knows how gorgeous your underthings are that can give you a little boost of self-confidence. Also – the right undergarments can make clothes fall in a more flattering way on your body.
While fare la bella figura is about always looking put together and putting your best self forward, it doesn’t mean striving for perfection. Through researching Italian style, I discovered there is a sense of effortlessness and embracing natural features that accompanies well put together and thoughtful looks. Whether it’s natural hair, minimal makeup or an unconventional styling trick, Italian women know not to sweat the small style stuff – there are greater things to enjoy in life.
Italy is known for being style-forward, but because of that unshakeable confidence, I think Italian women worry less about fitting in and following trends. Whether mixing basics with current pieces, or crafting looks that are so unique to their individual style; Italian women are masters at dressing for themselves (and the catwalk streets of course!)
Another Italian philosophy that is learned from a young age is “il dolce di fare niente” which translates to the sweetness of doing nothing. I think there is a reason why so many of us love to escape to Italy and soak in the relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere. For whatever reason, something as simple as eating pizza on the steps of a church listening to live music at midnight in a piazza can feel so right. And so it is with Italian fashion – I think there is often an element of fun, joy, and playfulness. Even if it is a very classic ensemble, something about it feels special.
I recently read an article which described Italian fashion as “bombshell”. While so many Italian style stars have adopted slouchier, oversized silhouettes, there is also a strong element of fit and flattering their body. Knowing which curves or parts of the body to highlight is so important and its different for everyone. I’ve always loved going to the beach in Italy because there is pride in every body. Every body is wearing a killer swimsuit, epic sunnies and a glorious golden tan. No matter the size. And they look great because of a) confidence and b) because they’ve found silhouettes and cuts that work for their body. Not because a magazine or blog told them to wear a certain style.
Of course, I think there are many more elements of Italian style to be explored! But what I love about these is that you can apply them and re-prioritize them in a way that suits YOU. How so Italian of you!