We love Italy anytime of the year but we especially love il Bel Paese in the summertime. What’s not to love about dining al fresco, spending long days by the sea and embracing Italian summer fashion? From the iconic Capri sandal and linen ensembles that take you from the beach to the city, to statement sunglasses and colorful frocks, Italian women excel at celebrating the season through clothes and accessories that are breezy and beautiful. Here are our must-haves for the summer season.
How to Dress Like An Italian Woman: Summer Edition
THE BLACK ONE PIECE
Sophisticated, sleek, and sexy, a fitted black one-piece swimsuit is a timeless staple that’s perfect for l’estate Italiana. From spaghetti straps and open backing to rouching and colorful trims, fun details make a black suit anything but boring and you can add extra details with bright accessories. Swimsuits by Laura Urbinati are my go-to when I want to feel comfortable and confident and my current favorites are the Canottina and the Tilda. Originally from Rome, Laura spent much of her time living between Milan and California and creates 100% Made in Italy designs with inspiration from art and sea.
THE STATEMENT SUNGLASSES
No matter the season, an Italian woman will never leave the house without her statement sunglasses so it’s important to have a few pairs to change out throughout the year. In the warmer months, funky shapes and colorful hues make even the simplest linen ensembles pop. I love vintage-inspired 1970s-style sunglasses handcrafted by Italian brand L.G.R. The camel tone combined with the perfectly rounded sky-blue lenses are the ultimate glamorous silhouette. If you’re seeking something a little less bold but still on trend, check out the classic metal with a pop of color or a chunky rectangular pair. The Mediterranean sun shines bright, but your statement shades will shine even brighter.
Thanks to its versatility, kaftans have been one of summer’s most desired dresses for centuries. Not only are kaftan’s lightweight and loose in fit – the sleeved dress works perfectly for long days in the city, lounging by the pool, or exploring the countryside protecting you from the sun. This staple doesn’t take much thought as it’s the easiest item to throw on for a seaside lunch break or vineyard tour. I love kaftans that add a glamorous element, like a side slit, colorful knitting, or beaded detailing. Tulsishop, an artisanal brand based in Puglia, has some of my favorite handmade kaftans.
THE CAPRI SANDALS
Every Italian woman has at least one pair of Capri sandals in her closet. These stylish slip-ons aren’t just chic – they’re imbued with heritage. After World War II, most of Italy was economically devastated and Capri’s economy was predominately reliant on fishing and a few hotels. That is, until a man by the name of Amedeo Canfora decided to open a modest shop where he began to create leather sandals entirely from scratch, down to the sole of the shoe and the color of each hand strung gem. Word travels fast here in Italy, and soon enough Amedeo’s sandals were known as the finest in Capri and soon enough, throughout Italy. Famous figures including Grace Kelly and Jackie O were some of the first to purchase a pair. Today, Canfora’s business, as well as many others throughout the island and along the Amalfi Coast, have kept the craft alive creating these sandals made to order with the finest Italian leather sole and iconic white stitching.
THE LINEN PANT
Italian linen is one of the country’s finest fabrics thanks to the use of quality yarns, sustainable production, traditional craftsmanship, and design customization. The material is breathable and comfortable while providing a chic silhouette for the hot days and breezy nights. A casual linen pant is a great option for the beach, but my all-time favorite way to wear this material is going for a more tailored look with a wide leg. This style comes in infinite colors and works for any occasion, but I love a classic cream or beige. If you’re along the Amalfi Coast, be sure to check out breezy linens at La Bottega di Brunella, a family run linen shop in Positano’s town center.
THE WOVEN BAG
A multi-purpose carry-all with a bohemian flare, woven bags scream “I am headed to the beach but will also make it for an aperitivo” – a representation of an Italian woman’s summer attitude and the attitude I aspire to have. The texture, structured shapes, occasional fringe, and open weaves create a relaxed yet elevated feel. Big name designers have quickly caught onto this beautiful style, but I love to scope out the local market scene first – and family-owned brands. Based out of Florence, Robert Pancani is run by the two Pancani brothers took over the family business nearly 20 years ago and have continued specializing in the production of straw and woven bags. An oversized tote is a great size to transport all essentials, but this basket shape is great, too.
See More: 10 Handbags For Summer
THE PATTERNED SKIRT
While a slip-on dress is something you should also have on hand, I have way more fun styling a statement skirt. Skirts are playful, comfortable, and offer the right amount cover-up, something that’s key if you want to do some sightseeing and church visiting here in Italy. The first brand that comes to mind is La Double J by J.J. Martin: her vibrant, vintage inspired signature printed skirts are flirty, feminine, and full of life. These are an amazing stand-out piece to wear with a simple white t-shirt for an easy, summer outfit. If you’re looking for something more formal, this one-of-a-kind silk skirt by Vernisse is perfect with a fitted white-button down and a pair of heels. A uniquely patterned skirt is a true piece of wearable art that will never go out of style.