Italians are famously stylish and universally admired for what is known as ‘Sprezaturra’, or the ability to make dressing elegantly look effortless and easy! Of course, whether you’re visiting Italy during the winter or living there full time, the last thing you want to do is to dress in such a way that you stand out like a sore thumb among the chic, sophisticated Italian locals.
Remember, the Italian weather in the winter can be very unpredictable. The average temperatures in winter tend to range between around 0 to 10 Degrees Celsius. Of course, in Northern parts of the country, such as the Dolomites, the temperatures are considerably lower than in the South, where temperatures remain quite warm even at the peak of winter.
Even so, you still need to think about your wardrobe if you’re planning a trip to Italy during the winter so you don’t suffer in the cold.
Winter Wardrobe Must Haves In Italy.
The following are things that you must have if you want to dress like an Italian during winter!
Coat And Jacket.
For winter in Italy, you will want to have at least one long, smart jacket that you can wear in the evenings or for formal occasions, but you should also have a rugged, weatherproof jacket too. Selecting the right jacket or coat is one of the most important items that you’ll need during winter in Italy.
Even if you’re not planning to visit the mountains it’s still essential to bring a warm, weatherproof jacket with you. You should have a waterproof jacket for sightseeing, hiking in the mountains and regular use when the weather is cold and wet outside. A simple, outdoors, water-resistant jacket can easily be folded and doesn’t take up much space in your luggage. However, if it’s pouring with rain and cold outside it’s sure to be a real lifesaver!
When selecting a long coat you should try to combine style with versatility. This applies to both men and women and means that you don’t need to compromise your elegance to stay warm! Some people like to wear a coat with a fur lining or a fur collar to keep them extra cozy but even a classic, long black, tailored trench coat is the perfect way to stay warm when you’re out and about.
The ideal, everyday option for your trousers are jeans or chinos. Chinos are more popular with Italian men but women frequently wear jeans during the colder winter months. Jeans and chinos are extremely versatile and can still look smart if you wear dark colors. They are also warm enough to protect you from the elements although if it rains you need to be careful that they don’t get wet because they can take a long time to dry out.
Traditionally, Italians do not wear baggy jeans or chinos so if you want to fit in then opt for a well-fitted pair!
Great Pair Of Shoes.
It’s always a good idea to have several pairs of shoes for winter in Italy. Of course, you’ll want to have smart shoes, heeled boots for women and either boots or leather shoes for me. These can be worn in the evenings and to other more formal occasions. Black or brown boots are the most versatile and still maintain the sleek, classic elegance that Italians are famous for. They will also keep your feet warm, even in the coldest months of the year.
You should also have a pair of waterproof shoes that you can wear for sightseeing or hiking in the mountainous parts of the country. You can get a whole range of sturdy, weatherproof shoes including wellington boots, hunting boots or a pair of modern, Gore-Tex trekking boots.
Scarf Or Shawl.
Everybody in Italy wears a scarf or a shawl during the winter. In fact, your scarf, if you’re a man, or your scarf or shawl, if you’re a woman, is a central element of your overall outfit. A scarf will keep you warm in the wet and windy weather but it’s also a great way to express your personal style and tastes.
Men usually wear a woolen scarf that is dark in color although if you want to make a splash you can opt for a bright, patterned scarf instead. Traditionally though, men keep their scarves pretty low key and at most it will only have a few stripes rather than bright, garish colors.
Women have a lot more leeway for expression when it comes to wearing a shawl or scarf. A shawl can be bright, colorful and patterned or a neutral monotone color such as beige or weight. Either way, not only can you add some flair to your outfit but you’ll also stay warm in the cold weather.
Either a scarf or a shawl is also a great item to have with you while you’re sightseeing and spending time in chilly indoor spaces such as churches and museums.
Hat And Gloves.
Both men and women frequently wear hats and gloves in Italy. Of course, you can use your hat to accessories your outfit but it will also keep your head warm and dry in the worst of the weather. Gloves are a vital item to have with you during the winter and even if it’s quite warm at the start of the day, it’s still worth having a pair of gloves in your bag or pockets in case the weather cools down later on.
The classically elegant Italian-style gloves are usually either black or brown leather. For ladies, you can also find luxury fur-lined leather gloves that are guaranteed to keep your hands cozy, even in the bleakest winter weather. Of course, if you’re in the mountains or far Northern parts of the country, you may be better served by wearing a pair of skiing gloves which not only keep your hands warm but are also completely wind and waterproof.
An umbrella is an essential item to have during the winter, especially if you’re in the city. If you have an umbrella it means that you don’t necessarily have to be wearing a waterproof jacket because instead, you can wear a long, warm coat without worrying about getting wet in the rain. This is very common for Italians to do, particularly if they are wearing a smart outfit or heading out for dinner in the evening.
When selecting an umbrella, it’s generally better to buy a small, fold-up one that you can keep in your bag when it’s not in use. This is also helpful if you’re sightseeing because otherwise, you’ll have to pay to put your full-sized umbrella in cloakrooms and have to carry it around all day, even when it’s not raining. In fact, in some of Italy’s museums and galleries, full-sized umbrellas are actually banned altogether.
It’s worth having some warm sleepwear for winter in Italy. Temperatures at night can get quite cold and many of the houses, apartments and even hotels, have pretty poor central heating, especially in Southern parts of the country. To add to this, energy prices in Italy are fairly high so hotels and B&Bs usually keep the heating to a bare minimum at night. Some warm loungewear is also useful for when you’re relaxing in the hotel room during the evening and a pair of cozy slippers will never go amiss!
Sunglasses And Sunblock.
This might sound like a contradiction, but the low winter sun can be quite blinding! Naturally, your sunglasses are also a fashion accessory so make sure you select a stylish pair for your time in Italy.
For people with sensitive skin, the sun in Italy during the winter can still burn you if you’re out for a long day of sightseeing so having some sunblock is certainly a good idea for some people.
Practical Tips – Dressing For Winter In Italy.
The following are some of the things you have to keep in mind when dressing in Italy during winter:
Disposable Hand And Foot Warmers.
If you’re heading to a cold part of Italy then having some disposable hand and foot warmers can make all the difference. You can get a whole range of hand and foot warmers from all good outdoor stores as well as Amazon and other online retailers. This is an especially good idea for people who have poor circulation.
Layer Up If It’s Extra Cold.
When the temperatures dip below zero the easiest way to combat the cold is to wear several layers. For instance, you can wear a T-Shirt, a long sleeve top, a jumper and a coat over the top! This will keep you warm even in the coldest conditions you are likely to face in Italy. For extra insulation, particularly if you’re in the mountains, you can wear thermal underlayers; something which is common among hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts in Northern Italy.
Most people need to use their smartphone or tablet during the day, especially if they’re catching trains, checking Google Maps or sightseeing in a foreign city. The problem is that you can’t use your touchscreen devices while wearing gloves. This is because the device requires a current to flow from the user’s hands to the touchscreen in order to register your movements. This means you have to take off your gloves every time you want to use your touchscreen devices.
Fortunately, for those cold weather days, you can get a pair of touchscreen gloves. These gloves have a conductive material at the tips of the forefinger and the thumb so you can use your touchscreen devices without having to take off your gloves! While not absolutely essential, a pair of touchscreen gloves can make your day-to-day life in Italy during the winter a little more convenient.
Accessorize To Add Flair To Your Winter Outfit.
Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean that you can’t accessorize and look stylish, even in the cold weather.
While it’s generally easier for women to accessorize, men can still add a touch of personality and flair to their winter wardrobe by using a carefully selected scarf, a trilby hat or a super stylish pair of sunglasses. Men should generally trend towards wearing traditional outfits that avoid looking too sloppy. In Italy, even in the winter, men dress to impress and always look their best. For instance, even if you’re wearing a plain black overcoat, you can add some color to your outfit by wearing a tie or loosely wrapping a striped scarf around your neck.
Women have a lot more scope when it comes to accessorizing their winter outfits. A well-chosen pair of earrings, a contemporary necklace worn outside of a turtle neck jumper or a stand-out designer handbag, can all be utilized to turn heads and compliment your wardrobe choice for the day.
Wear A Statement Jacket.
One of the most powerful ways to express a sense of sophisticated elegance is to wear a statement jacket or coat. A fur-lined collar for women or a silk-lined jacket for men can really go a long way to defining your overall look.
For example, when the weather is cold, a man can turn up his collar, showcasing the colored silk lining on the inside of his statement jacket. Women, on the other hand, can combine a fur collar with a contrastingly bright colored scarf.
Try Wearing Cashmere.
In the evenings the temperatures can get quite low in the Italian winters, but if you want to stay cozy and warm then nothing beats an ultra-chic cashmere sweater. Cashmere is super soft and extremely popular in Italy. You can also wear a cashmere scarf as well if you want to stay extra warm.
Cashmere looks great on both men and women and it’s very easy to find in Italy. You can buy your cashmere from a large brand but it can be more fun to hunt down a small, independent boutique store to buy your sweaters and scarves.
Winter In Italy Is A Beautiful Time Of The Year.
Even though it can get pretty cold in Italy during the winter, particularly in the Northern parts of the country, it’s still an absolutely wonderful time of year to visit. Not only are there much fewer tourists to worry about but the hotel rates and even restaurants are charging less than during the summer season. So, as long as you dress appropriately for the season you’ll have a great winter in Italy.