How To Dress Like An Italian Woman: Summer Edition

The Mediterranean sun shines bright, but your statement shades will shine even brighter.
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While Italy is always a good idea, we really appreciate il Bel Paese during the summertime. What’s not to love about dining al fresco, spending long days by the sea, and embracing Italian summer fashion? From chic Capri sandals to colorful frocks and statement sunglasses, Italian women know how to celebrate the season in style. Whether you’re spending time on the beach or strolling through the city, our must-have picks for breezy and beautiful Italian summer fashion will keep you looking and feeling your best. Soak up the sun and embrace la dolce vita with these must-have Italian summer fashion essentials.

Looking for more fashion inspiration? Check out our spring, fall, and winter round-ups.

The Black One-Piece

A woman on the beach wearing a black, white trimmed one-piece swimsuit, with a red umbrella in the background

Sophisticated, sleek, and sexy, a fitted black one-piece swimsuit is a timeless Italian summer fashion staple. From spaghetti straps and open backing to rouching and colorful trims, fun details make a black suit anything but boring. And you can always add extra details with bright accessories. Swimsuits by Laura Urbinati are my go-to when I want to feel comfortable and confident, my current favorite is her “V One-Piece.” Originally from Rome, Laura spent much of her time living between Milan and California and creates 100% Made in Italy designs inspired by art and the sea.

The Statement Sunglasses

A pair of black and gold statement sunglasses on a woven, rattan table

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 especially love vintage-inspired 1970s-style sunglasses handcrafted by the Italian brand L.G.R. The camel tone combined with the perfectly rounded sky-blue lenses is 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.

The Kaftan

Two women wearing a yellow and blue Kaftan, laying on a blanket on the sand next to two hats and a pair of orange sandals

Thanks to their versatility, kaftans have been a staple of Italian summer fashion for centuries. Not only are kaftans lightweight and loose in fit, but the sleeved dress works perfectly for any activity, protecting you from the sun whether you’re spending long days in the city, lounging by the pool, or exploring the countryside. This breezy classic doesn’t take much thought as it’s the easiest item to throw on for a seaside lunch break or a 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

A pair of colorful Capri leather 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 no different, 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 Amedeo’s sandals were soon recognized as the finest in Capri and not long after, in 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, has kept the craft alive by creating these made-to-order sandals with the finest Italian leather soles and iconic white stitching.

The Linen Pants

A woman walking barefoot on the beach modeling a set of white linen pants and crop top, holding a woven bag

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 hot days and breezy nights.

While casual linen pants are a great option for the beach, my all-time favorite way to wear this material is to aim for a more tailored look with a wide leg. This style comes in infinite colors and works for any occasion. I especially love classic cream or beige. If you’re along the Amalfi Coast, be sure to check out these breezy linens at La Bottega di Brunella, a family-run linen shop in Positano’s town center. If dresses are more your style, we also love this easy silhouette by the Milanese brand Morpho + Luna.

The Woven Bag

Three woven handbags outside in the sun next to a pool with cacti in the background

A multi-purpose carry-all with a bohemian flare, woven bags scream “I am headed to the beach but will also make it for aperitivo” – a representation of an Italian woman’s 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 like to scope out the local market scene first, as well as artisanal brands. If you’re looking for a more light and rustic silhouette, check out Tre Gioie dalla Puglia bags which are handwoven by women in Puglia according to ancient methods. If you’re looking for something more polished for the city, we love Milaner’s elegant Morgan Raffia Bag featuring golden accents or the Rachel Wicker Bag with wooden handles. Both bags are produced by artisans in Tuscany and incidentally named after our dear friends Morgan and Rachel who authored the Rome Wellness Guide.

The Patterned Skirt

A smiling woman models a colorful dress, woven hat, and sandals in front of a pool with Italian buildings in the background

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 of 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 amazing stand-out pieces to wear with a simple white t-shirt for an easy, Italian summer outfit. If you’re looking for something more formal, this one-of-a-kind silk skirt by Vernisse is perfectly paired 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.

2 comments
  1. This article was so fun to read and so informative! Adapting to the style of a certain region or country when visiting really makes you feel a part of it. Referencing this next time I return to Italia 💕

    1. I’m so glad you liked this piece, I found a lot of inspiration in the selection of accessories too!!

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