leather jacket outfit in rome italy

How to Dress Like a Local in Rome

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I’m excited to bring you the first of many posts from my Europe trip! For those that are new, hubby and I spent a week in Europe (kid free) celebrating our 5 year anniversary and we got back less than a week ago!

We based ourselves in Rome but also got to explore Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. We did a “fly by” of Sorrento, Naples, and Florence too. How did we see all of this in a week? No idea!! But I wouldn’t change it for anything.

It wasn’t a relaxing time, but it was so fun and adventurous and there’s nothing like sharing these moments with the love of your life! Okay, sappy part over. Let’s get into why you actually clicked on this post! How to dress like a local in Rome!

How to Dress Like a Local in Rome

Usually for me, once I figure out where I’m going, my next thing to figure out is what to wear haha.

It’s totally understandable that you want to fit in while vacationing, especially to a place that is known for being super stylish, like Italy!

I feel like I got a pretty good idea of what the locals wear. Stellar stalking people watching skills aside, we were in the thick of local living by taking the metro, bus, and train, along with walking everywhere.

Now I can’t speak for everyone because just like America, no two people dress the same, but for the majority of it all, there is an outfit formula you can wear that will have you fitting right in with the Romans so well that you could be mistaken as a local (it happened to me)!

skinny jeans + leather jacket + sneakers + scarf

leather jacket outfit and how to dress like a local in rome italy

That looks a little basic, doesn’t it?

You may be disappointed to know that the everyday look for Italians isn’t all that stylish and glamorous as you may have thought.

Put together? Yes. But they’re dressed for the day to day life. No one is walking around in heels. I saw heels only once in my week there! And trust me when I say I went everywhere.

But let’s break down the formula now!

leather jacket outfit in rome italy

Skinny jeans:
It’s pretty rare to see bare legs, even when the weather warms up to the upper 60’s. Skinny jeans seem to be the go-to, though younger and more stylish girls wear cropped or straight leg jeans. If you’re looking for a pair of great skinny jeans you have to check out the ones I’m wearing here. They’re high waisted, keep their shape, and so comfy I even wore them on the 10-hour flight. By choice.

Leather jacket:
Italy is known for their leather so there’s no surprise that you’re going to see leather everywhere. Leather in Italy feels really soft, so if you don’t get real leather, look for a jacket that is really smooth!

Sneakers are pretty much on the foot of every Italian. As long as they’re not running shoes, you can’t go wrong here!

Scarves are accessories but also practical too. When I went in May it actually felt like fall at times and having an extra layer around my neck was so nice!

leather jacket outfit in rome italy
leather jacket outfit in rome italy

Do’s & Dont’s

DO get creative with your scarf. It doesn’t just have to be around your neck. On chillier days, you’ll see women wear them around their heads too.

DON’T wear open-toed shoes. Sneakers and ankle boots are where it’s at. I didn’t see many ballet flats either. I saw a pair of Birkenstocks, but they belonged to the feet of a British tourist.

DO cover your knees. Shorts and skirts aren’t worn a lot. But I did see some things worn with tights under them.

DON’T wear bright colors. This goes for both men and women, but dark colors and neutrals are what will have you fit in the most.

BONUS! We’re going to dive into how men can dress like locals in Rome too. This is great if you’re going to be traveling with your boyfriend, fiancé, husband, or even dad and you don’t want them to embarrass you. Not speaking from experience… 😉

Surprisingly, the men get dressed up more than the women, but it is still kept pretty casual. Men, or women dressing your men, you have a couple of outfit options here!

jeans + sneakers + jacket

chinos + loafers or boat shoes + blazer

mens Italian fashion
photo taken in Tuscany

Similar to women, most men wear this more basic look the most (not pictured):

Nothing baggy here but not boy band skin tight either. Go for a straight or slim fit.

The classic Adidas pair is super popular! Like this one.

A leather jacket is the most worn option, but bomber jackets come in close second.

mens Italian fashion
Titus wanted to wear sneakers today, but loafers or boat shoes would work better for this look!

If an Italian is not wearing jeans, they’re wearing chinos! I got Titus this pair in two colors and they fit well while also being a great price.

Loafers or boat shoes:
The go-to dressier shoe. Usually worn with chinos. Titus wore this pair and they’re really good looking while being a great price, but just keep in mind they can rub on the back of the heel after a long walk.

Whether it’s a linen blazer in summer or a sport coat anytime, this type of look is seen on the more stylish men or those who are in business class in trains. We really loved this blazer. It’s a mix of linen and cotton so it has some structure while being warm weather appropriate.

mens Italian fashion

Do’s & Don’ts
accessorize! Yes, men, I said accessorize! Scarves for men are super common, as are watches, straw hats (more for summer, but we love the props haha), and sunglasses. I got Titus his sunglasses here and straw hat here and he loved them. Well, as much as a guy that hates fashion can haha.

DON’T wear baggy sweatpants. Joggers are okay. I only saw one pair of sweatpants and they were emblazoned with the words “New York University”. Stereotyping here, but he was obviously your typical college kid who kept his college uniform going while in Italy. Big DON’T!

DO get yourself a messenger bag, preferably leather. This is one of the most common Italian pieces. In fact, someone in Italy told Titus they had almost the exact same bag that I got him from here.

DON’T show your socks. When wearing loafers and boat shoes you don’t want your socks to show, so make sure you pick up a pair of these. It’s also not uncommon to see men roll up their pants and show off a bare ankle.

mens Italian fashion

Do you feel more prepared on how to dress like a local in Rome? Or Italy in general?

It’s amazing what fitting in can do to your confidence when you’re in a new place. Not only is it rumored that you get better service when dressed like a local, but it’s way more likely that the people that prey on tourists will leave you alone!

Even more good reasons to dress like an Italian!

I gotta give a little disclaimer that the rest of my looks you’ll see from this trip go totally against this post haha and well, the #fashionbloggerlife requires looking out of place sometimes for the sake of some great photos, but this look was my “most authentic”, so use this post as your guide, especially when traveling to Rome & Italy in either the fall or spring.

Share this post with someone you know that’s going to Italy soon!

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how to dress like a local in rome italy


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making mychicobsession.com a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.