Italy’s Fashion Culture

Italy has always been known to be a fashion center. Traditional Italian costumes include bright, embroidered skirts, airy blouses, and fruit-decorated hats for the women and embroidered costumes with metal button-detailing for the men. While Italian peasants wore simple shirts and pants/skirts, generally out of darkly and plainly colored wool, wealthier clothing was of the same style but with much richer materials, like velvet and silk. The clothing of the rich were much more colorful, as these dyes were more expensive. The women also decorated themselves with jewelry. The fruit ornamentation came about because festive wear was generally put to use at celebrations centered around food and harvest.

Today’s Italian fashion culture can be credited to a fashion show held in 1951 in Florence, as well as the appearance of Italian fashion in movies. As clothing was more mass-produced and the economy increased, common people became better dressed. The already present art and culture of Italy fused with the new style and quality of people’s dress, naming it as a fashion center. Italian fashion became to be about showing off one’s best features and striving for “la bella figura.” Generally, women wear slimmer-fitting clothing that is flattering, but subtle and simple. Lazier outfits, including baggy jeans, sweatpants, and big tennis shoes, are not often seen in the streets of Italy. Men also dress more sharply, featuring leather, dress pants, or nautical sweaters.


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