Over the month of May, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in the city of Siena, Italy. Siena, which is a smaller-scale city in the heart of Tuscany, was an unexpected breath of fresh air in my fashion-curious eyes; it also brought forth plenty of good gelato, nonstop cappuccinos, and stunning scenery that I’ll never forget. Italy is known for its fashion (and its food), but upon arrival to the beautiful country, I began to realize that each region’s perception of fashion is very different to one another. While in Tuscany, I observed specific trends being pursued; through this, I am now able to take these trends back to the United States, and back on campus!
01. Jeans and Sweaters in the Summer
When being in Tuscany, the average temperatures were around 90 degrees; this did not stop the civilians from wearing jeans and long sleeve sweaters. As I was sweating in my shorts, skirts, and dresses, everyone else seemed to be thriving in what I would usually call winter attire. In Tuscany, wearing jeans specifically is a huge trend, no matter what the temperature is outside. Since then, I have had the desire to wear mom jeans in the summers (but only on the rare occasion that the temperature is below 80 degrees)! For a more comfortable and attainable version of this trend, I would pair a lighter sweater with a pair of longer shorts (as shown by the stunning @adriano2003!).
02. Versatile Maxi and Midi Skirts
Though many people in Tuscany decided to wear jeans and long sleeves in the terrible heat, they did wear lighter clothing on the especially hot days; their choice of a lighter garment would be the maxi or midi skirt. Up until my time in Italy, I was never a huge fan of either kind of skirt; they always made me look elongated and awkward. When seeing people around my height be able to pull them off, that’s when I found out how exactly to style them. Because of my observations, I have now begun to dive into both the maxi and midi skirt trends (especially the midi skirt trend!), and will definitely be wearing them all around campus this fall!
03. Late Night Dress-Up
Whenever I go out at night, I tend to wear a pretty simple outfit made up of denim shorts/jeans, a slightly unique crop top, and platform sneakers. When I went out during my first night in Italy, I was shocked to see how dressed up they can get; I saw men and women in actual formal attire while going to the bars and clubs in the city. At one point, I was on public transit with a group of men leaving the club in full-blown suits! This experience made me realize that perhaps I can be a bit more creative when curating outfits to wear out.
04. Chunky, Eclectic, and/or Beaded Jewelry
From my professors, to my host family, everyone had a very peculiar taste in jewelry. All choices had a very similar theme: extremely chunky and always had a unique design. From bold, chunky hoops, to cat necklaces made out of clay, the Tuscan people do not limit themselves to the kind of jewelry that they wear. While speaking to one of my professors, she stated that many Italians use jewelry as a form of expression, and to show the things they love! To bring it back home, I will usually layer numerous beaded and metallic necklaces, and pair them with matching earrings (much like @nicolemarriana)!
05. Focus on Neutrals
When you think of Italian fashion, you usually think of bold and bright colors; in the case of Tuscany, this usually isn’t the case. Much of what fashion you’ll see in Tuscany consists of the following colors: black, white, cream, beige, and brown. I was perfectly alright with this, considering that much of my wardrobe consists of basic colors and styles. Typical Italian fashion follows a more ecological idea, in which most individuals will not indulge in clothing with bright patterns that may seem outdated within a year! Because of this, I have begun to be overly cautious when buying brighter pieces; I constantly ask myself “will I wear this after a few months of owning it?”
06. Staple Wardrobe, People!
Our country is known to be an extreme abuser of constantly buying overly trendy pieces; Italy, on the other-hand, can be observed as a country that holds onto garments until their death. This idea tends to coincide with the focus on neutrals, where the Italian people decide on consistent garments that they can wear for years. The amount of times I saw my Italian Language professor wear the same black cat t-shirt was insane, but she found so many different ways to style it; sometimes, she would wear a maxi skirt with it, and other times, she would pair it with a simple pair of jeans. My time in Italy made me realize the importance of a staple wardrobe, and to value the pieces that I have now; as a country, we are starting to realize this, and I have seen so many influencers emphasize this idea!
Since I have returned from Italy just a few weeks ago, I have been able to implement what I’ve learned into my daily life; this definitely includes fashion! From realizing the emphasis of utilizing a basic wardrobe, to understanding the different attire for different times and occasions, Italy has opened my eyes to how universal fashion can be. Though Italy can be seen as a fashion capital of the world, much of the country follows slightly altered styles that we have in the states; they also tend to follow the fashion cycles that we tend to lean towards! So thank you, Italy. Thank you for helping me realize that everyone is fashionable, no matter what you choose to wear!