You step onto the tube and catch a glimpse of yourself in the glass as the doors close. Your outfit matches the weather outside – gloomy. You’re huddled in the same heavy wool coat you drag out every year once the cold arrives, and underneath that, your usual office ‘uniform’ of head to toe black. Frankly, you’re bored with it.
Struggling with your winter wardrobe? Do you always come out of Next with bags full of the same office skirts, trousers and jackets? Afraid that taking a chance on a different look won’t be appropriate for the office?
Take some advice from Italian women. They have a formidable reputation as fashionistas, but don’t let that intimidate you! Fashion is an art form in Italy, but it’s easier to master than you’d think. In Rome, where I live, there is a blend between the more relaxed south, and the high-fashion north. Roman women excel at ‘casual chic’.
With over five million inhabitants, Italy’s capital is fast-paced, aggressive – and yet down-to-earth. Many Roman women have to take public transport for over two hours a day, or navigate roughly cobbled streets to get to and from work. In a city like Rome, your clothing really does have to fit your lifestyle.
How can a Roman woman’s ‘no-fuss’ approach to winter fashion help you? Let’s take a look at what you don’t like about your winter wardrobe…
Tired of wearing tailored trousers or skirts all winter?
Wear leggings instead. Comfortable, warm and fashionable – this item of clothing is a must for any Italian woman’s winter wardrobe. Provided you wear them with long-t-shirts, polo-necks, jerseys or shirts – and team them with the right footwear – leggings can be very flattering. Not only that, but you can buy leggings in a range of fabrics and styles. Italian women understand that the trick to wearing leggings with style is to match them with the right jacket, top, boots and accessories. And yes – get the look right and leggings can be worn to the office!
Bored of wearing dark colours?
Wear brightly coloured scarves and bold accessories. Italian woman rival the French with their love of scarves. Rather than thin silk ones, they prefer larger, draping scarves, especially in the colder months. Italian women are extremely fond of dark colours. Getting on the bus in Rome, you will often be greeted by a sea of black, grey and brown – highlighted by splashes of colour. To off-set their dark outfits, they often wear scarves, large, bold earrings and necklaces; and chunky rings.
Wish your winter coat was a bit sexier?
Buy a lined, fitted jacket. Even if Rome has sweltering summers, the winters here can be damp and cold. Roman women never trade warmth for style – instead, they wear well-made winter jackets that perfectly accentuate their figures. From padded parkers that are belted at the waist to lined suede and leather jackets and coats; they know how to look good without freezing!
Sick of uncomfortable office skirts?
Try wearing stretchy tube skirts this winter. With a range of attractive stockings, socks and tights available, it’s a pity not to show off your legs. Team stretchy mini or knee-length tube skirts, with thick, patterned tights or leggings. Wearing skirts with a bit of stretch to them means that they give you room to move (and breathe), during the day. The beauty of these skirts is that they look great – both at work and for going out afterwards!
Had enough of freezing in impractical high-heels?
Wear boots. Wedge heels are a woman’s best friend in Rome! They give you height, allow you to walk in comfort and team well with tights, leggings and skirts. Roman women often save the spike heels for the evening and opt for wedges, flat or thicker heeled boots during the day. Provided they’re polished, well-made and go with your outfit, boots won’t look out of place at the office.
So next time you get on the tube for work, cast an admiring glance over your new outfit: a glossy pair of black leggings, suede wedge-heeled boots, a soft polo-neck, fitted heavy suede jacket, long brightly coloured scarf and bold accessories. Team this winter ‘casual chic’ with big hair, smoky eyes and nude or earthy-toned lipstick, and you will have mastered the Italian look.
It’s almost enough to make you look forward to winter!