Article by Seattle Dredge originally published in one edition of the Atmosphere magazine. Read the latest edition here.
I will never forget the first day I arrived in Italy, landing at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, feeling slightly overwhelmed and out-of-place. As I shuffled along in my scuffed up sandals with my raggedy old backpack draped over my shoulder, I watched as graceful herds of slender Italians clicked by in their six-inch heels with no effort at all.
I spent that first day observing the members of this new and undeniably beautiful culture going about their seemingly mundane daily activities as if they were the subject of a Versace fashion show. At lunch, one woman wearing a skintight pencil skirt smoked a skinny cigarette, with her enormous floppy hat arching around a pair of large, round Chanel sunglasses. A man with a head of meticulously placed, greased brown hair and a perfectly tailored suit strode by walking three small dogs. Even behind the counter, the woman serving espressos was perfectly lovely in her shiny red heels and flowing floral skirt. Not one person was dressed in a leisurely manner, yet they somehow all seemed to look incredibly comfortable.
I wasn’t dining at the most upscale restaurant in the city. That’s just the way Romans are. The same scene can be found on every street in Rome. From side alley wine bars and family-style restaurants to downtown clubs, bustling piazzas and crowded tourist attractions, wherever you are in Rome, you’re sure to find fabulous street fashion. Romans like to dress to impress, and there are a number of places you can head in the city to check out the different types of Roman fashion trends.
Photo Credit: Haleigh Walsworth
As with most major cities, Rome has a few large tourist attractions that bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. In Rome’s case, this includes the Vatican area, the Parthenon, and—most famous of all—the Colosseum. Rome attractions are still frequented by beautiful locals, but are also populated by travellers that are dressing for comfort. You are more likely to see ballerina flats than stilettos, and jean shorts rather than mini skirts. On the other hand, there are still plenty of great outfits to be seen. Spending some time in Italy? Be sure to pack your best outfit for a night on the town and blend in with the locals.
Italians just might be the original “hipsters” with their creative fashions and unique looks, but even Rome has its own hipster neighbourhoods. Madonna dei Monti is probably the most well known hipster area in the city, with tons of great shops and bars, along with a young population. A shopping highlight is the Mercato Monti, a vintage market held every Sunday. The Pigneto neighbourhood is similar in many ways, with locals sporting deep-necked T-shirts and tight jeans.
Trastevere is home to many expats, so fashion varies from international to local, in a blend of casual sophistication. Most people living in this area are slightly urban-minded and aware of their appearance, yet wear clothes that are a little more “Boho,” trendy and youthful. Perhaps it could be defined as more New York City than European.
Testaccio and other areas of Southern Rome are known as working-class areas of the city, and this can be seen in their fashion. People tend to dress in favour of what they might need to wear for work, but still manage to look better than most. Testaccio is not lacking in interesting shops either—the punk silver jewelry found at Andrea925 exemplifies the offbeat flavour of the neighbourhood.
EUROPA is Rome’s financial district, which is completely unlike the rest of Rome. There are no quaint streets or crumbling ruins, but wide modern roads and upscale office towers. The fashion matches the scenery, with men in finely tailored business suits and briefcases, and a great deal of black and grey. You won’t find the typical charming Rome here, but it is an interesting contrast from the rest of the city.
Regardless of where you find yourself in Rome, one thing can be certain: you are guaranteed to be surrounded by impressively well put-together young Italians and their equally fashionable friends. If you want to fit in among the pedestrian models, you may want to pack some of your best outfits and accessories for roaming around the cobblestone runways. Rome is the ultimate fashion destination: prepare to be impressed.
Feature Image Photo Credit: Haleigh Walsworth