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Menswear for italy

John-Paul jr.

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Hey guys I could really use some help. I'm taking a trip to Italy (specifically to Rome, Assisi, and Florence) for about 11 days and I need help for what to wear. I want to be comfortable, yet I don't want to look basic. A few people told me that'd it would be hot when I was going and we would be doing a lot of walking. So I need suggestions in outfit ideas. One of the most used items would be a white button down.
 

Daniel Hakimi

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You don't take menswear to Italy, you bring it home from Italy.

No really, though, what are you doing?

For day-to-day, going to recommend light summerweight chinos or chino shorts (full length chinos are preferable in most contexts) and a breathable white button down that you can wear untucked and with the sleeves rolled up. Throw in some linen button downs, my navy linen button down is probably my favorite shirt to wear in the heat... But white linen from a cheap brand might be a little see-through.

Do you need a suit/blazer for anything? Any weddings or fancy parties? Any boating? Any beach time? I imagine you'll need a bathing suit...
 

maxalex

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Are you traveling for business or pleasure? What time of year? (It snowed here in Rome last week.) Will you be dining in smart restaurants? Do you have an audience with the pope? What exactly do you mean by not wanting to “look basic?”

I’m afraid we don’t have enough information to get specific. But it is my sad duty to inform you that these days you will find as many badly dressed men on Italian streets as in America. The worst may well be tourists in their cargo shorts and Crocs, but even the natives have sunk to previously unimagined lows.

In short there are no longer dress codes in Italy outside the churches (preghiamo...), so you can dress as sharply, or not, as you like.

My wife counsels women to avoid high heels in Rome due to the volcanic cobblestones. Personally I would rather be caught naked in the Trevi Fountain than tell a lady not to wear heels.
 
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John-Paul jr.

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To give the specifics, its a pleasure trip. I can't think of an event I'll be going to where I need a blazer, but I do tend to go a bit more dressed up in my everyday attire. And believe it or not, we won't be doing any swimming, which is very odd. But I wasn't the one who coordinated the trip, so I'm not to complain. And thanks Daniel for the tips on shirts. I mainly need ideas on fabrics and footwear.

Are you traveling for business or pleasure? What time of year? (It snowed here in Rome last week.) Will you be dining in smart restaurants? Do you have an audience with the pope? What exactly do you mean by not wanting to “look basic?”
Again, pleasure trip. It'll be in the last week or two of August into the first week of September. I would imagine in smart restaurants. That aspect, however, hasn't really been clear to me (some fellow travelers don't exactly like to share details). Not the pope, but the papal theologian. By "basic" I meant "not being able to utilize my dressier style." But you couldn't have understood that if I never explained it. So, my fault for being to general.
 

maxalex

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August, no worries—all the Italians will be at the beach and you will have only tourists to compete with sartorially. Any shirt with buttons, and shoes without Velcro, will set you apart from the sunburned herds.

Your main problem then will be finding restaurants that are open; fortunately for you, in recent years Italy’s laggard economy has forced many businesses to forego the national vacation month and stay open for at least a week or two.
 

Keach

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Rome can be very hot during the summer
 

Hung-Wei Long

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Sounds from the thread like you're doing a casual tourist trip, not power-lunching with Silvio Berlusconi. Like Maxalex pointed out, the only town in Italy that really conforms to the formal code these days would be Milan (fashion town). I'd suggest a light poplin jacket (blue or any tan/light brown), and some comfortable khaki chinos for "nights out". Afternoon wear, you can pair the chinos with just a stnd button up (any color) or even a solid t-shirt. A nice set of chino or linen light color shorts works great to match too. I recommend chino material only bc it doesn't wrinkle easily. Comfy but stylish walking shoes could include driving mocs (suede or leather)

Just whatever you do if you value your dignity and don't want to be a walking pickpocket target- no jean shorts, crocs, birks, novelty shirts and the cringeworthy "I was there" tourist shirts. We Americans get a bad enough rap already.
 

maxalex

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Sounds from the thread like you're doing a casual tourist trip, not power-lunching with Silvio Berlusconi. Like Maxalex pointed out, the only town in Italy that really conforms to the formal code these days would be Milan (fashion town). I'd suggest a light poplin jacket (blue or any tan/light brown), and some comfortable khaki chinos for "nights out". Afternoon wear, you can pair the chinos with just a stnd button up (any color) or even a solid t-shirt. A nice set of chino or linen light color shorts works great to match too. I recommend chino material only bc it doesn't wrinkle easily. Comfy but stylish walking shoes could include driving mocs (suede or leather)

Just whatever you do if you value your dignity and don't want to be a walking pickpocket target- no jean shorts, crocs, birks, novelty shirts and the cringeworthy "I was there" tourist shirts. We Americans get a bad enough rap already.
I wouldn't worry too much about pickpockets in Rome. It's something to be aware of, especially in crowded buses and subways, and around major tourist sites where people are taking selfies and not paying attention. Staying aware of your surroundings is a good practice (in life). And don't carry much cash; pretty much all restaurants and shops in Italy take cards although you will need cash for a quick standup coffee from a bar. I keep a small leather card wallet from Chester Mox in my front trouser pocket, which is almost impossible for someone to grab.
 

Chouan

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I wouldn't worry too much about pickpockets in Rome. It's something to be aware of, especially in crowded buses and subways, and around major tourist sites where people are taking selfies and not paying attention. Staying aware of your surroundings is a good practice (in life). And don't carry much cash; pretty much all restaurants and shops in Italy take cards although you will need cash for a quick standup coffee from a bar. I keep a small leather card wallet from Chester Mox in my front trouser pocket, which is almost impossible for someone to grab.
I disliked Rome for a very long time after I went there for the first time and had my pocket picked. despite being fully aware of my surroundings I was done proper brown by experts. A bloke bumped into me, quickly followed by another, all accidental like, and my wallet was gone, as were they, despite my realising what was happening within seconds. But too late. Mind you, that was 30+ years ago.
 
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MarkWinter

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You can base your looks around a simple basic items like a navy chino, chambray shirts, white linen shirt, then depending on the occasion, in Italy for a nice dinner, it's good to wear a nice summer jacket, dress them up or just wear them together. A nice pair of suede shoes to finish the looks and you will never be never out of place. Here are three looks around the navy chino idea.

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zunker

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It will be boiling. You won’t care what you look like and you will be covered in sweat anyway. Wear a short sleeved white linen shirt, whatever shorts you prefer and sandals - something very comfy like Teva. Trust me, Rome in August is not a place to worry about which sports coat to wear.
 

maxalex

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It will be boiling. You won’t care what you look like and you will be covered in sweat anyway. Wear a short sleeved white linen shirt, whatever shorts you prefer and sandals - something very comfy like Teva. Trust me, Rome in August is not a place to worry about which sports coat to wear.
I wear sport coats in Rome year round, but in summer you need to have a strategy. For example, the city buses can take you everywhere and then you're not walking in the broiling sun as much. Get a daily or weekly pass and you can just hop on and off. Some buses are air conditioned but you can't count on it, nor can you count on getting a seat. Still, they let you save walking for inside churches and museums. I also wear a Panama hat with a wide brim. I walk SLOWLY. I duck into air conditioned bars for a coffee. I eat lunch late--around 1:30 or 2--when the sun is at its hottest. I try to go home and take a nap after lunch, again avoiding the hottest part of the day. (I realize tourists are less likely to do this.) Also there are many ways to enjoy the outdoor monuments at night. The Coliseum offers nighttime guided tours, and the Forum has many music-and-lightshow events in summer. Also there are concerts almost every weekend night in the Campidoglio. And of course, the newly renovated Trevi Fountain is 24/7 but the lights go out at midnight. So those are ways to see major sites after dark, then spend daytime hours inside museums.
 

zunker

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He’s on holiday. Traipsing around the coliseum in August. Let him wear shorts and go crazy by not wearing a sports jacket. Blimey.
 

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