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Style Files

How to Wear Your Bag Like an Italian Woman

Have you noticed that Italian women look stylish even when they’re wearing a pair of jeans and a simple top? If you’re wondering how they do it, let me share their secret with you.

Italian women create their wardrobes based on their body type, not on the latest trends. Which means they aren’t afraid of wearing something that reflects their personal style, but their biggest secret is that they’re also great at elevating an outfit with accessories.

In fact, the handbag you wear and all the accessories you choose in general, can make or break an outfit.

Here are my tips on how to choose a bag to elevate your outfit and look and feel like a chic Italian woman, just like the ones on the streets of Rome and Milan.

1.

With jeans

A colourful clutch bag like a teal clutch and some heels will dress up a plain pair of jeans and a basic sweater. If you’re after a more relaxed look, a beautifully designed crossbody, such as a Mini Saddle, and some comfortable ballet flats are a great option, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking.

A lightweight shoulder bag like the Milano tote is the perfect solution if you’re going to be out all day and need some extra storage for a sweater or a change of shoes, or if you’re shopping and want to avoid carrying a lot of extra carrier bags.

2.

With prints

Most Italian women love bright colours and prints. I like to think that our love of colour stems from our sunny climate and friendly disposition. Finding a print that will look good on you isn’t always easy and I would say is my biggest struggle when it comes to fashion. I tend to shy away from large flowers and large patterns, as they can be quite punchy if you’ve picked the wrong print, so I stick with smaller prints and I always choose colours that I know will look good with my skin tone. When choosing which bag to wear with prints consider this, prints will always look better with a small bag – a clutch or crossbody – as you don’t want your bag fighting for attention than the print. As far as colours go, I would recommend a solid colour – pick a colour that either matches one of the colours in your print or looks good with the print, and if in doubt, go for the neutral of all neutrals: tan.

 
 
 
 

3.

With shorts

Up to a few years ago, shorts in Italy were associated with tourists and were considered a fashion faux pas if you weren’t at the beach. But as of late, shorts have been finding their way even on the trendiest of city ladies, and some styles are now even deemed appropriate for the office (in creative professions).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about Daisy Dukes, or short cut-offs, those are still big no-no’s for the city, but something more lady-like like chinos, bermuda shorts or cargos, that go as short as your mid-thigh, are for the most part, acceptable options.

The trick is to dress them up as much as possible. Think, pretty blouse with a detailed collar or sleeves, a printed shirt and classic sweater, or belted up with a long blazer. As for accessories, elevate your outfit with a colourful Maxi clutch or a black Loren tote, to show you mean business.

4.

With a dress

As my stylish grandmother always said, “There’s nothing more feminine than a beautifully-fitted summer dress.” When wearing a dress or especially a summer dress, your bag shouldn’t be overpowering or heavy looking or it will ruin your feminine look.

My personal favourite would be a Mini Bucket bag because you can hold it by hand, or attach a shoulder strap and wear it across the body. If you’re wearing a structured dress for the office, the most stylish option is a small hand-held bag such as a Mini Satchel, and if you need something larger for your laptop and files, then pair it with the perfect work tote. For a more utilitarian look, try a mini saddle bag.

5.

While riding a bike

Having the option of riding a bike to work or to go to the shops, is not only eco-conscious these days, but great for staying in shape. In Italy, women of all ages ride their bikes, especially in the smaller cities and at the beachside towns.

Wearing a comfortable, yet stylish outfit, while riding your bike can be a bit of a challenge, but as you may have guessed, Italians seem to have this one down pretty well too! A chic pair of chinos or a mid length dress or skirt, are a great way to keep up the style, while not flashing anyone.

As far as bags go, you’ll probably need something that can either fit in your basket, like a soft midi tote or a bucket bag. If you’re a good multitasker, a saddle bag or a circle bag might do the trick, and if not, I’d opt for a stylish backpack.

So, whether you’re heading to the office, the farmer’s market or yoga class, you’ll be riding in effortless style!

 
 
 
 

6.

To add a pop of colour

Italian women always dress for the occasion and sometimes wearing a brightly coloured outfit isn’t appropriate, especially if you work in a conservative industry such as politics, accounting or banking. You may not want your outfit to become a distraction during your client presentation, so wearing your favourite bright lemon dress might not be an option at work.

Luckily, this is when your accessories come to the rescue! When I was working in a corporate office in London, I was known for my colourful shoes and bags, because who says you can’t add a pop of colour to a classic cream suit or a navy dress with a bright orange bag, a statement necklace or some cobalt blue shoes?

To Italians there’s nothing more stylish than a monochrome outfit and a bright red bag. Our cherry red Loren tote is a stylish work bag with a side of fun. You can now shop all the bags on our site by colour.

7.

With a black dress

Even though Italian women know how to wear colours well, they also wear a lot of black. In Italy, it’s acceptable to wear black even at weddings. Black is a symbol of elegance; it’s timeless and looks good on just about everyone. As it’s considered a neutral too, you can wear it with anything, and it has a slimming effect, which is always a plus.

A tan bag is my top pick to wear with a daytime black dress. Whether you’re meeting your friends for lunch or picking up the kids from school, there is nothing more stylish than a tan bag and a black dress.

Night-time black needs to be dressed up a little though, and Italian women love colours and metallics, so a small bronze bag or a hot pink mini bag with strappy sandals, would be a great option for a fancy dinner or a a formal occasion.

8.

With trousers

Trousers and pant suits are so comfortable and practical, and super easy to dress up or down.

Add a pair of pumps and a structured work tote for your laptop, tablet and files, to look polished and show them you mean business! An oversized tote is also a great option with trousers, but make it a structured tote rather than a slouchy bag or you’ll risk looking sloppy.

If you’re going for a more relaxed look, a midi size top-handle bag or a crossbody is a great option, slip into a pair of ballet flats and an oversized sweater and you’re ready for the weekend.