Summer travel in Italy can be a relaxing experience unless you are woefully out of vogue. Although your wardrobe doesn't have to be in the first stare of fashion, it does help to look presentable and aware of the culture. When in Rome in the summer, dress as the Romans do.

Tailoring an Italian Summer Wardrobe

When packing for the Italian summer, throw your ideas of appropriate casual wear out. What suits most Americans in the hot season is too informal for the Italian fashion palate.

For men, shorts are athletic wear and nothing more. Long pants and jeans are regular warm-weather gear, as are shortened men's pants otherwise known as "manpris." Sandals are a regular sight, but flip-flops should be left behind.

Ladies will find that longer shorts, dresses and skirts fit in nicely. Most Italian ladies wear heels, including stilettos, in the daytime, and tank tops and camisole tops are also fine. The key is to show "la bella figura," or the beautiful figure, in a flattering, adult and sensual way, not an overt or sexual fashion.

Significance of the Wardrobe

Fashion is very important in Italy, with people dressing to flatter their best qualities and attract the polite attention of others. Many see their good grooming as an addition to the historical and natural beauty around them, and choose to suffer a bit of discomfort rather than look sloppy.

For a tourist, this means that the Italian aesthetic can seem almost unattainable, especially with a limited supply of clothing. To make up for this, do some shopping when you reach the country. This way, it's easy to purchase things that fit the climate and feel of the place once you've experienced it.

Style Details for Italy

Summer in Italy means open shoes and breezy clothing. Even so, modesty is called for in certain circumstances. If visiting a church, all hemlines must be below the knee. If wearing a sundress, bring a sweater or shrug to cover the shoulders and arms. Men will need to have a sport coat or sweater to cover up, as well.

Other small touches can make or break a look. Italian fashion is never about being large or loud. Bright red toenails peeking from sandals can look trashy to an Italian; a large backpack rather than a purse will instantly make you as a tourist. Leave these trimmings behind in the hotel room and you'll fit into the scenery much better.

The Allure of Basic Black

Even in the summer, black is king for men and women. It's easy to care for, is simple to accessorize and matches any new Italian gear that may join your wardrobe. Spiegel states, "Black is always in fashion, even in summer, and it goes with everything – so if you get to Italy and find the color of the season is lime green or mauve, you can pick up a small item in a market in the new hot color and pair it with what you’ve brought with you." Men will also find that black clothes translate well into multiple settings without too much fuss.

Making the Effort

Hot weather months are a time for kicking back, but it may seem that Italians still look runway-ready. Even though it may seem imperative to match their style level, people will still treat you decently as long as there's an effort. Don't be afraid to appeal to the experts for cutting-edge fashion knowledge. Check out Italian fashion magazines or their websites (as much for the advertising as the articles) to see what's hot.