Having spent part of a year living in Padova, Italy, with my husband, I can verify that a little bit of glam and drama is most welcome in your Italian holiday wardrobe. I love my distressed denim, sneakers, and graphic tees when I’m at home, but when in Rome, I like to channel the sensual, feminine energy of Italian film stars like Sophia Loren, Monica Bellucci, and Anna Magnani.
An Italy Packing List Inspired By The Silver Screen
So, here I’ve built this capsule around an outfit for a dinner out on the town: a black dress, kitten heels, a red clutch and the perfect red lip.
Dressing in black and white and red all over makes me feel like an undiscovered starlet, and I hope it makes you feel the same way. We all deserve to savor a cappuccino at breakfast, appreciate great art in the afternoon, and order handmade pasta and red wine for dinner.
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1. An Exquisitely Feminine White Blouse
Just as we all need at least one beautiful black dress in our closets, we also need a white blouse with details that make our hearts beat a little faster. Fortunately, there are a ton of gorgeous white blouses this season. This one from Farm Rio makes me swoon this its square neckline and incredible lace detail. I’m also so curious about this beautiful Sézane blouse with a similar vibe.
2. A Signature Scent
Listen: if you’re in Italy in the summertime, you are going to get a little “dewy.” Embrace it and use that body heat to disperse your signature scent in your wake. Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is described as a “solar, floral amber,” but I mostly think of it as a perfume that smells like a young Claudia Cardinale tanning on the deck of a very expensive yacht.
As for my own signature scent, I picked up a bottle of Acqua di Parma Fico di Amalfi (a fig scent) in the Rome airport and have worn it every winter for the past six years when I started to get the winter blues. The perfume smells exactly like a sun-ripened fig split open midsummer.
3. A Jumpsuit
Jumpsuits are the best. It’s a full outfit in one piece of clothing. Comfy, versatile, and still somehow pulled together. My pick is this square-neck version by Quince, a black linen option for summertime. However, there are some other amazing comfy-but-chic jumpsuits in white or with shorts.
4. Cat-Eye Sunglasses
Fun fact: the cat eye frame was invented by Altina Schinasi, an artist, designer, and window dresser who was inspired by the masks worn in Italian commedia dell’arte. Therefore, the “cat eye” was initially known as the Harlequin frame. Schinasi is quoted as saying, “Surely, there must be some way to design eyeglasses that could be attractive! What looks good on a face? What adds to a face? What could a woman wear on her face that would be romantic?” The answer: these cat eye glasses by Dolce & Gabbana.
5 + 6. Gold Earrings & Bangles
I love Monica Vinader’s jewelry line. When I saw these earrings, I thought they were perfect because their simple design looks inspired by Roman antiquity. Gold jewelry evokes warmth, and, for that reason, I would wear traditional yellow gold with the black, white, and red pieces I’ve picked out for this collection. To my eye, bangles in yellow gold also strike a balance between dressed up and dressed down.
7. Classic Red Lipstick
Minimal makeup with a fierce red lip is one of my favorite looks. There are so many amazing options these days; it was hard to pick just a handful. This Gucci lipstick deserves to be featured, though, because of its stunning case. I would never get tired of pulling this out of my clutch for a touch-up. Glamorous details elevate the everyday experience, don’t they?
8. Lacy Lingerie
What to put under the beautiful white blouses you’ve packed? Special lingerie like this bra, of course. Meant to be seen just a little, these gorgeous bras and bralettes all have details that make them investment worthy. If you’re not one to layer a lacy black bra over a peekaboo white blouse, then go with one of the white styles, which will be less noticeable.
9. A Tank Top With Texture
I love a bare-shoulders moment (just don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!). This J.Crew crochet tank is so summery, and I love the added texture of the design. This tank will pair perfectly with your linen trousers or white denim, depending on the temperature and activity.
10. An Evening Clutch
The perfect clutch can take an outfit from day to night in a flash. How could I not highlight this absolutely stunning cherry-red woven clutch by Bottega Veneta? But, it’s not actually in my budget… Don’t worry, I’ve included clutches at all price points in the lineup below. There are so many stunning options it was hard to narrow my list down.
11. White Jeans
I will always pack jeans for a trip. I have included a lot of linen and cotton in this capsule because I know some are very sensitive to heat, but, in truth, I run cold, and that means that I will wear jeans no matter how hot it is outside.
Plus, white denim just looks great, and, in my opinion, jeans are super comfortable (I know not everyone agrees!). These Good American jeans are what I would wear on the plane. For more white denim ideas, check out Shana’s article covering six different white denim styles.
12. A Simple Cover-Up
My philosophy on beach cover-ups is that they should be relatively simple. I want to be unfussed at the beach. I love this crochet mini dress by Summersalt, which covers up just enough, but not too much (hey, why invest in a great swimsuit if we don’t want to show it off, right?!). Plus, you could put this cover-up to use as a tunic over a black tank and linen trousers if you wanted more options.
13. A Sexy Black Dress
We all need a little (or long) black dress for summer. I fell in love with this black midi dress from J.Crew because of the gorgeous cut-out detailing and the very sexy back of the dress. The dress is neither too revealing nor too conservative (for my taste), not so fancy I wouldn’t wear it out in the daytime, and not so casual I couldn’t wear it to dinner. To find your perfect LBD, check out the options I’ve rounded up for us below.
14. A Simple White Blouse
One white blouse just isn’t enough. We need choices, right?? Here are some cotton and linen blouse options with fewer details than the exquisitely feminine ones I listed above. These white tops are a little more versatile for their straightforward summer style. I love the sexy v-neck of this blouse, and the cropped length hits me at my true waist to show off my figure. The peasant blouse by Reformation on the right is also stunning with its puff sleeves and lace-up front.
15. Linen Trousers
There is no substitute for linen in summer, and these Madewell linen trousers fit the ticket. I love both the look and feel of linen, which can be dressed up or down to go from sightseeing to sumptuous feasts of pasta and wine at dinner. I’ve included other linen and linen-blend trouser options below as well as more casual linen and linen-blend pull-on pants.
16. Classic Espadrilles
Classic espadrilles never go out of style. There are so many options. This Anne Klein pair caught my eye because I love the feminine detail of the ribbons that wrap around the ankle, but there are plenty of styles to pick from this season.
17. A Sultry One-Piece Swimsuit
Bikinis are undeniably appealing. But one-piece swimsuits? Oh, they can be sultry too. If I have the good fortune to sun myself on the beach in Italy this year, I would love to wear this La Blanca swimsuit with its plunging neckline reminiscent of the tie-up bodice of a peasant blouse.
18. A Straw Bag
Nothing is so breezy and lovely as a woman who looks like she could be headed to the beach. I love this J.Crew natural fiber tote bag with macrame netting in neutral colors, which could be a beach tote, but has an elevated enough look that it can also be paired with, say, a black dress or a blouse and trousers. Big enough to hold your phone, wallet, and lipstick for your outing to a museum, eat gelato or go shopping, this tote has my heart.
19. Kitten Heels
Vince is absolutely killing it this summer with their gorgeous sandals. These black kitten heels were my favorite out of a bunch of beautiful styles. Kitten heels simultaneously evoke vintage glamour and are also at a height that doesn’t make me fear for my life while traversing a cobblestone street in low lighting (a sprained ankle really kills the romance).
20. Comfort Sandals
If jeans are leg prisons, then socks are feet prisons. There, I said it. I cannot be forced to slip my sweet little feet into both socks and then shoes in the summertime. These bright, tomato-red Birkenstock sandals have captured my heart.
Comfort sandals take the place of sneakers in this capsule collection due to this personal preference of mine, but you do you. If you know you need a sneaker for sightseeing, I suggest a bright-white pair to keep your look glam.
I hope you’re feeling inspired to book a ticket to Rome or at least take yourself out for a beautiful dinner. Tell me, what will you pack on your next trip to Italy?
Ciao till next time.
Oh, hi, Pinners…