Q&A: What to Wear in Florence

August 21st, 2008

Q: I am studying abroad in Florence, Italy for the fall semester. I don’t want to be another "teeshirt and jeans American." Any ideas on how to look stylish while immersing myself in this beautiful city? And what trends should I splurge on while I’m there (not to mention gifts for some of my fashion forward friends back home)?



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by Colleen Geary, fashion stylist and image consultant

A: You mention that you don’t want to look like the typical American in jeans and tee shirts.  Agreed that worn and faded jeans with a sloppy tee is not a good look.  That said, a nice dark wash jean with a colorful, clean tee and a ballet flat is a good classic look that transcends borders and cultures.  You can go beyond this casual classic by incorporating more polished pieces into your wardrobe–tailored pants and skirts, sophisticated sweaters and dresses, and of course, a stylish coat.

What to Pack
As a foundation wardrobe, I would pack a couple of dark wash jeans, trouser pants, some basic colored tees, fitted button down shirts, and a couple of sweaters in bright colors.  Splurge on a stylish jacket and a perfectly fitted trench to keep you warm.  A couple of dresses for going out are also a must.  Don’t forget some tights and long underwear, as it will be chilly in the autumn in Florence.

Gifts in Florence
Florence is famous for its gold and leather, which will make great gifts for your close friends.  Check out Ponte Vecchio for a wide variety of gold and silver shops, but be forewarned that bargains are long gone.  As for leather goods, Il Bisonte is a shop with beautiful leather bags, agendas, and wallets. 

Should you have nieces, you may want to visit Assunta Anichini, which is the oldest childrens’ clothing store and offers beautiful hand embroidered and smocked dresses.

If you don’t already have a great leather bag, I would wait and get one in Italy.  Same goes for leather gloves.  Last style tip?  Check out the lingerie boutiques in Florence–they have some beautiful shops.  Enjoy la dolce vita!

Have a great tip about what to wear in Florence? Share it with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: Q&A, Ready Made Outfits, Women, Women's

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gin  |  August 21st, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Yay! Thanks for answering my question :) - Gin

  • 2. Pamela  |  August 21st, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I’m so glad to hear you’re studying abroad in Florence! I just came back from a magical spring semester there too! Believe me when i say even the city’s streets ooozes charm!

    As concerning clothing pieces, since you’ll be in Florence during Autumn, I suggest on lots of colorful scarves and pashminas that you’ll find readily available in the city. But be sure to bargain! They expect it and its all the better for you! (My favorite place to go was on Via Faenza, every possible color and shape of scarf you’d ever desire is there, and affordable to boot!)

    Also, since leather is such a staple of the city, and you’re down for a splurge, I’d wait till you get to the San Lorenzo Market in the center of town to get a leather jacket. But make sure to shop around for different styles, types of leather, and prices before you decided to get one. Don’t be afraid to bargain for that either, they’ll expect that too.

    (if theres any more you’d like to know and/or recommendations concerning Florence, I’d be more than happy to gush @ semisweetness@gmail.com =D )

    I am certain you will have the time of your life.

    Buona Viaggi!

  • 3. Lenya Jones  |  August 21st, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    I love your website! Absolutely LOVE it! Thanks for the tips and I hope you don’t mind that I rave about your site every now and again on my blog. I will be posting about this post today.

    LOVE IT!

  • 4. Trisha  |  August 21st, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Pamela - thanks for the Florence style tips, especially the specific suggestions about where to shop. This is great!

    Lenya - thanks for the love :)

  • 5. Sandra  |  August 21st, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Something I regret not getting more of in Florence are shawls and pashminas. Not only are they great for warmth but they go with absolutely everything be it in summer, autumn, winter or spring. Load up on these not only for yourself but for friends as well. Another positive aspect is that they are inexpensive and they’ll roll up nicely in your luggage when it’s time to fly home ;)

  • 6. Caitlin  |  August 24th, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I’m so jealous! I’d definitely pick up some leather goods in Florence (both for yourself and as gifts). In terms of wardrobe, I’d suggest bringing along a nice pair of comfortable, tall boots or buying some there (riding style might be best). You can wear them with skirts, dresses, pants and leggings and look stylish while also being able to walk! Also lots of pieces you can layer (I tend to like a more fitted bottom and top, then longer sweaters and jackets on top) and a great, well-cut coat.

  • 7. Bridget  |  August 25th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Black, neutral light sweaters and dark stylish jeans. Ankle boots, medium boots, and ballet slippers. By keeping all your basic clothes neutral, you can accessorize with scarves, pashminas, and shawls. If you are a student and watching your money, splurge on the big ticket items like leather jacket, shoes, and the jewelry in Florence.

    Also the black hides the extra weight you will probably gain, tasting all the pasta, gelato and drinking the yummy vino. You’ll walk it off eventually…I lived in Sienna and visited Florence all the time.

  • 8. Trisha  |  August 25th, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Great advice, Sandra, Caitlin, and Bridget! Layering and accessorizing are definitely the way to go.

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