In a city like Milan, home to fashion houses such as Armani and Prada, it is very important to look the part; especially for a Fashion Merchandising major like me. In the fashion capital of the world, the natives have an upscale sense of style and sophistication. The people of Milan are little to never seen wearing common American comforts such as leggings, athletic wear, or even jean shorts. No matter the country, it is important to understand their dress code and adhere to it, not only as a form of respect, but to make you more comfortable in a new setting.
In my preparation for my time abroad, I wanted to see how Europeans dress in their day to day lives. I look it upon myself to follow fashion influencers such as Valentina Marzullo and Alicia Roddy. After looking into their pages and style I began to understand the standard of dressing and slowly began to adapt to it. I highly suggest looking into European influencers whose style you admire as a guide on how to dress. Knowing what I was about to step into made the transition of moving to Milan much smoother.
A couple months before my trip, I developed a color scheme to help make packing easier. Many Italians do not wear bright colors, but neutrals with pops of color. I only packed black, white, and soft pinks/tans. This way, everything matched and I had many outfit options, despite only having a few pieces. Many Italian women wear knee length dresses and skirts. I tried to only pack skirts, blouses, and other separates to encourage outfit versatility. In this country, trousers are wore more often than jeans; an outfit that is too sporty is a quick way to spot a tourist. It is important to know that in this culture looking favorable is more important than being comfortable. That being said, check the weather before your trip. It is very hot in the summer, and short-shorts are not common. Although climate can change from place to place, it will be beneficial to invest in breathable clothes and sundresses. Lastly, easy was to spice up any outfit is to accessorize. With different earrings and a quick shoe change, my outfit looked different every day.
Moreover, looking into how Italians dress will help you blend in with the culture. By packing neutral colored separates, everything will match and you will look fresh every day. It is important to embrace your own style. After all, looks are not everything. Ultimately, be yourself and be prepared to have fun!
Dominique is a Summer 2019 Milan student from Northern Illinois University.