I don’t know about you, but Italian style is all I can think about at the moment. Stylish women in Italy’s cultural capitals like Milan, Florence, and Rome seem to possess an effortlessly cool polish that the internet (and this editor) can’t get enough of. Thanks to the popularity of influencers and designers like Gilda Ambrosio and Amina Muaddi, this particular brand of elevated glam has inspired droves of outfit re-creations by Americans.
As someone who studies Italian style like it’s my job (well, it kind of is), I thought it would be fun to put myself in their shoes for the day and imagine the types of things Italian fashion people would put in their carts when shopping at Nordstrom. While the beloved retailer is often the topic of conversation here at Who What Wear, it have no locations in Europe, despite having plenty of popular Italian staples casually sitting on its site as we speak.
Behold—the ultimate guide to shopping our favorite retailer like a true Italian fashion person, from the items they’d buy to what they’d politely skip.
As the resident OTT dressers of Europe, Italian women are rarely spotted in heels shorter than three inches. In the spring and summer, they prefer strappy ankle-tie sandals with their dresses. I think they’d beeline to Nordstrom’s shoe section for strappy sandals and skip ballet flats, despite their trendy status right now.
If Italian style could be summed up in a single word, it would have to be glamorous. Italians are rarely ones to sacrifice style for comfort. Instead, they prefer silhouettes that highlight their figures. If you were to peek into their virtual shopping carts, there’s a high chance you’d find Versace-esque corset dresses complete with beautiful boning with zero nap dresses in sight.
While their French and Scandinavian friends almost always wear tailored trousers when they’re not wearing jeans, Italian women prefer utility trousers like cargo and parachute pants instead. You’d find them shopping Nordstrom’s wide selection of baggy cargo styles to wear with everything from sneakers to strappy heels.
Another thing Italian women don’t do? Give up a statement piece for something more practical. Sure, slouchy totes may be trending at the moment, but I see women in Milan and Rome carrying smaller statement bags that add a pop to their outfits.
Glam, OTT, maximal—all the descriptors of Italian style get at the same theme of maximalist aesthetic. They tend to go for high-octane pieces like feather-trimmed dresses and crystal-embellished accessories and rarely pass up the opportunity to have fun with what they’re wearing. These are some exuberant pieces I know they’d be freaking out about at Nordstrom.
Rarely ones to shy away from an on-the-rise trend, I noticed Italian women jumping on the gorpcore train and reaching for cool trail runners like buzzy pairs from Salomon. Similarly, they’ll likely pass over more classic canvas sneakers in Nordstrom’s shoe section.
Sultry and glamorous are only one component of Italian style. While denim is a staple around the world, it’s less about classic jeans and more about daring and experimental denim looks in Italy. It’d be easier to spot a denim corset or denim cargo pants on their Nordstrom shopping lists than classic skinny jeans.
An Italian person’s ready-to-wear wardrobe may be maximal and glam, but their swimwear collections are anything but. I couldn’t help but notice how Italian women eschew their style sensibilities when packing for vacation and almost always go for simple string bikinis. I guess even Italian women need a style palette cleanser, and swimwear is where they dial things back.
Thumb through the feeds of any Italian It girl, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find many hemlines that fall below the knees. They’re huge fans of miniskirts, and they expertly balance the bare-legs look with something more oversize up top.