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The 8 Items Every Chic Italian Woman Has in Her Closet

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New York women are known for their all-black ensembles and French women have perfected the art of looking all at once put together and low-key. But no one does glamour like the Italians. Even in their everyday wardrobes, Italian women know just how to charm with a flash of metallic fabric or animal prints. So what’s their secret to looking so fabulous? It all starts with these eight wardrobe staples.

8 Life Lessons We Learned from Italians


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1. outerwear That Pops

Yes, winter coats and jackets are meant to be practical items of clothing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be beautiful. True, most parts of Italy don’t get as cold as New York (and nowhere near Chicago temps), making puffers somewhat excessive, but Italian women still revel in the chance to sport a gorgeous wool coat in a bright color or print. Even if neutral hues are more your style, opt for a wrap silhouette for a touch of Italian glam.

Shop similar styles: Collectif Swing Coat ($229); JDY Longline Coat ($76); Collusion Faux-Leather Coat ($132); Nordstrom Wool & Cashmere Coat ($600; $360); Jakke Katie Checkerboard Coat ($386); Scotch & Soda Water-Repellant Coat ($328); Loud Bodies Katerina Coat ($615)

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2. bold Jewelry

Chunky gold chains may be trendy right now, but they’ve always been cool in the eyes of Italy’s most stylish. In fact, gold hoops, statement necklaces and stand-out rings are all hot ticket items, especially when worn together. Rather than limit yourself to just one piece of bold jewelry, try wearing multiples at once. Our only advice? Stick with one of each type, so funky earrings with a stand-out necklace rather than two necklaces layered atop one another.

Shop similar styles: Mason & Madison Chain Necklace ($125; $85); Missoma Coterie Chain Necklace ($245); Open Edit Initial Layered Necklace ($29); Petite Moments Hoop Earrings ($20); Joolz by Martha Calvo Ami Earrings ($95); 8 Other Reasons Ell Earrings ($39)

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3. minidresses And Skirts

One thing Italians tend to do better than Americans is recognizing that sexy silhouettes shouldn’t be limited to those under 30. That’s why you’ll find Italian women of all ages showing off their stems in minidresses and skirts. The trick to pulling off higher hemlines is threefold—invest in expensive looking pieces, like a wool-crepe sheath dress or a silk skirt; avoid silhouettes that are too clingy or too flouncy; and know that you don’t need to go that far above the knee to get the leg lengthening benefits of a miniskirt. Of course, a confident strut doesn’t hurt either.

Shop similar styles: Majorelle Edwin Dress ($168); Halogen Chiffon Faux Wrap Dress ($99); Rebecca Taylor Popover Dress ($265); Eloquii Collared Wrap Dress ($130); Rails Lisette Dress ($238; $96); Cinq à Sept Adren Dress ($345)

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4. glamorous Sunglasses

Have yourself a diva moment with large, glamorous sunglasses that would make Sophia Loren proud. And don’t just limit them to the summer months. Italian women rock these beauties all year round, and while you can definitely have fun with trendier silhouettes if you like, the best pairs to invest in (i.e., the ones you’ll reach for year after year) have a classic old-Hollywood vibe with large frames and dark lenses.

Shop similar styles: Le Specs Air Heart Sunglasses ($69); Gucci Square Sunglasses (285); Quay Australia After Hours Sunglasses ($55); Raen Second Ashtray Sunglasses ($160); Prada Evolution Square Sunglasses ($298)

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5. metallics For Day

You don’t have to save your sparkliest pieces solely for big events. Italian women love incorporating special items into their everyday looks (why spend all that money if you’re not going to actually wear them?), knowing the key to making them work is all about balancing them with much more casual clothing. For example, gold boots look fabulous with a short-sleeve shirtdress while a sequined blouse would work best with blue-wash denim and loafers.

Shop similar styles: Jeffrey Campbell Guillo Boots ($170; $128); Amanda Uprichard Fabienne Top ($194); J.Crew Straight-Leg Pants ($178; $130); Express Smocked Waist Top ($70; $50); BP Vivianne Heels ($50); Cult Gaia Hera Nano Bag ($428)

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6. power Suits (in Bold Colors And Prints)

You’ll find sharp tailoring to be popular with both men and women, but the best Italian power suits aren’t classic black or navy. They’re hot pink, bright orange or even leopard print, and always fit like they were made just for the wearer. Of course, they’re also usually dressed up with pumps and glam accessories, rather than T-shirts and easy kicks, which helps make them look even more posh. (P.S. If black is more you style, that’s great too, just look for some sort of “extra” touch, like polished gold buttons or an exaggerated shoulder.)

Shop similar styles: Show Me Your Mumu Major Blazer ($) and DJ Flare Pants ($168); Banana Republic Italian Wool Blazer ($209) and Italian Wool Pants ($149); Scotch & Soda Memphis Suit ($398); Lattelier Tie-Waist Blazer ($108) and Front Slit Pants ($68); River Island Double-Breasted Blazer ($130) and Cigarette Pants ($67); BHLDN Burton Blazer ($450) and Burton Pants ($355)

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7. animal Prints

In much the same way that stand-out gold jewelry and metallic materials feel inherently luxe, so too does animal print, especially when it adorns chic pieces like a structured trench coat, creased trousers or pointy-toe pumps. To avoid looking cheap or too trendy, choose clothing and accessories with sleek, timeless silhouettes rather than anything slouchy or too “on the nose.”

Shop similar styles: Rouje Renaud Coat ($470; $330); The Great Leopard Coat ($495); Karen Millen Signature Coat ($1,094; $711); Reformation Port Dress ($218); Scotch & Soda Belted Blazer ($168); LPA Abena Top ($198); KIN by Kristine Skirt ($80)

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8. party Pumps

We’re not suggesting you sport 4-inch stilettos at all times. (Our feet cramp just thinking about it.) But investing in some fun footwear is key to living la bella vita. Instead of reaching for your flat loafers, why not try some pink kitten-heeled mules or black pumps with a rhinestone strap? They’ll instantly make you feel more dressed up, even if you’re just sporting jeans and a white tee on top, and might even add a little pep to your step a la Monica Bellucci.

Shop similar styles: Marc Fisher Zalay Heels ($60); Jessica Simpson Havella Heels ($70; $60); Nina Vauana Heels ($109); Stuart Weitzman Piper Heels ($450); Raye Roo Heels ($178); Mach & Mach Double Bow Heels ($1,050)