7 Staples Every Chic Italian Women Over 40 Has in Her Closet

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French women are chic, but here’s a hot take…as Madonna said in the ‘80s, Italians do it better. They look elegant yet still comfortable, sexy but still tasteful and their appeal doesn’t wane with age. To get style pointers, we trawled the best street style from the fashion and art events in Italy and brought back elements from these eight smart Italian glamourinas, all over the age of 40, showing us the best ways to rock killer style in 2023 like a true Milanese, Roman or Florentine.

9 Items Every French Woman Has in Her Closet

Christian Vierig / Getty Images

1. A Black Leather Button Up Shirt

Whether it’s a blouse or a jacket or a shacket combination of the two, an Italian woman knows that having some buttery soft leather—even if it’s faux—as a top makes everything she wears with it look more expensive and sophisticated. A leather layer is the more grown-up and sexier version of a cardigan, and it’s less constricting in appearance and feel than a blazer. Here, blogger Alexandra Lapp—who attributes her success to her over-40 status—is in Florence for the biannual Pitti Uomo collections.

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Steve Madden Shacket

Quince Leather Shirt Jacket

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Wolf & Badger Tara Cynical Black Shirt

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Edward Berthelot / Getty

2.   Statement Sunglasses

Tamu McPherson, 45, is the founder of the streetstyle blog All the Pretty Birds and pretty much a fixture at international fashion gatherings and anywhere cool in Milan, where she lives with her husband and teen son. Here she's wearing the elegant Italian woman’s primary “don’t leave home without it” accessory: a pair of bold black shades. Want to enliven last year’s outfit? Start with a new pair of shades in a current oversized shape.

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Quay Come Thru Sunglasses

Coach Polarized Women’s Sunglasses

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Saint Laurent 53 mm Cat eye Sunglasses

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Christian Vierig / Getty

3.   A Head-to-Toe Animal Print Look

Here, fashion stylist Giovanna Engelbert is rocking leopard maximalism in Milan. Her neutral shoes, bag and black turtleneck make the look high style, whereas too many other accessories or brights might push the look into costume territory.

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Mango Animal Print Suit Blazer

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J.Crew Cropped Trench & Pants

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Ganni Leopard Wide Midi Dress

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Valentina Frugiuele / Getty

4. A Bright Pant Suit

Italian fashion journalist Anna Della Russo, 60, is well-known in international fashion circles for her daring and colorful outfits. Here she rocks a brilliant pantsuit that’s a bit oversized, along with a pair of almond sunglasses, proving that a simple outfit in no way needs to be ho-hum.

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Asos Design Relaxed Pant Suit

Nordstrom Boyfriend Blazer and Pants

Banana Republic Lido Blazer

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Jeremy Moeller / Contributor

5. A Colorful Mini Bag

Less is more, for the sophisticated Italian woman—and that includes handbags. A whole tone-on-tone outfit like this white wool coat and sweater combo snapped on the streets of Rome, is made fresh and interesting with a contemporary bright bag.

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Topshop Camila Crossbody

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JW Pei Gabbi Handbag

Clare V. Petit Henry

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Christian Vierig / Getty

6. An Eye-Catching Textile Knockout

Italy is a world hub of precious textiles created using intricate artisanal methods, and the Italian woman of a certain age celebrates this heritage by wearing gorgeous prints, often in a simple shirtwaist or smock shape, the better to show off the fabric itself. On the right, Anna Della Russo wears a vivid print on the streets of Milan.

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Vineet Bahl Printed Shirt Dress

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Farm Rio Maxi Dress

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Alemais Linen Shirtdress

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7. A Black Midi Skirt

Credit Miucci Prada, the doyenne of Italian high design, for elevating the simple black midi skirt from humble village garb to a staple of the chic woman’s wardrobe (and what the designer herself wore for a Kim Kardashian selfie last year). Here, 44-year-old actor Griselda Siciliana wears the look at a dinner thrown by Miucci Prada in Venice, Italy. Her white button-front shirt and understated-yet-sparkly evening purse push the outfit into the perfectly Prada territory.

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Boden Taffeta Midi Skirt

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J. Crew Pleated Midi Skirt

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Reformation Lola Skirt

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The 9 Best Fashion Tips for Women Over 40

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