The Timeless Elegance of Italian Fashion

Italians have been named the most stylish dressers in Europe, and the United Kingdom ranks fourth. It wasn't just the stores that made me realize the importance of fashion in Italy. More than the displays of beautiful items, it was the people. Men and women wore classic styles, nothing complicated or reflecting a passing trend.

They looked good and comfortable in their appearance. Their simple style radiated confidence and a positive body image. Without a doubt, the roots of Italian fashion date back to 14th century Florence. And as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Italy can boast an important heritage.

In Florence, for the elite families of the time, including the Medici, appearance and display were inextricably linked to identity. Wealthy Florentines were obsessed with fashion and invested large proportions of their wealth in clothing. Every nation has its own lazy stereotypes attached to it, but for Italy, clichés aren't that bad. Virile and invariably well-dressed, Italians are probably the most elegant group in existence (sorry, Spain).

Here, we analyze the 12 key style lessons we can learn from our stylish cousins on the other side of the Atlantic. When it comes to fashion, Milan is one of the “big four” cities and, although Paris is famous for its perfect sense of elegance, New York for its sportswear and London for its iconoclasm, Italian glamour has become the signature of Milan. The daily ritual of a night walk or stroll is rooted in Italian society, and self-confidence is intrinsic. Conservatism and conformism are two main criticisms of Italian fashion today, and Milan is said to be less influential than it was.

The names of Italian luxury sports car manufacturers, such as Ferrari and Maserati, certainly evoke a vision of a unique, confident and striking elegance, just as the names Valentino, Versace, Gucci and Prada exude luxury, sensuality and a marked Italian arrogance. The trick, as Italians understand it, is to treat it like an inner cover, an insulating layer that is placed over the shirt and under the jacket. In addition to ciao (and maybe soon), the most important Italian word you should have in your vocabulary is sprezzatura. You know I'm not at all surprised that you brought up Pitti's photo because I know that Pitti Uomo is a special event and doesn't reflect normal Italian fashion.

I think there is hardly any other place where the sense of Italian men's fashion is as important as around the best Italian teams and their stars. Whether it's taking exams in your best Sunday outfit or deciding to wear a blouse for appetizers instead of a fun printed t-shirt, decorum is definitely a part of Italian culture that you can easily see. I learned to embrace my Italian style with scarves and colors but I admit that I wear a lot of black balancing what I learned from France as well. So what does glamour mean today for Puglisi and for the daily life of Italians? “Glamour is something deeply attractive, something closely related to beauty, and I definitely believe in beauty”.

I've noticed this Italian fashion sensation not only in Italy but also in the Italian expat community here in the Netherlands. One thing Italian women don't do well for example is to recognize that their body might not get into those tight pants. Pitti is a circus where actors dress up to get their pictures taken and most of them aren't Italian.

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