I'm now back from my travels in - yes, you guessed it - Italy. During the past fortnight I've explored the beautifully romantic Medieval city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Manuta. Naturally, I kept a keen eye out for anything style related and the city did not disappoint. I was delighted by the eclectic range of aesthetics to be exhibited, as well as the level of sophistication and attention to detail to be spied even down the narrowest of side streets.
I will discuss my discoveries in a later post. For now, I shall concentrate on the Italian street style. With summer swiftly becoming a distant memory, hopefully this will feed you ideas on how to update and perfect your transitional wardrobe. Because, as you'll see, Mantua has proven there's more than one city in Italy starting with an M that knows a thing or two about style...
Matching colour co-ordination was a common theme throughout Mantua, giving off an air of elegance and finesse. Colour-wise, this lady's outfit is a model example of monochrome due to the graduated tones of white, grey and black featured throughout. Plus she has mastered playing with proportions by pairing a larger top with slim trousers, resulting in an flattering tapered silhouette.
But it's the accessories that are really worth noting. The patent bag adds texture, whilst subtle gold studs on the back of the heels adds edge, implying there's more to this lady than initially meets the eye. Finally I love that she's wearing a glasses chain. Since she has rimless glasses, it's another way to show personality: she's not afraid of wearing something typically considered old-fashioned because when paired with such a polished outfit it looks deliberate, not dated. Overall this whole outfit screams confidence and, after all, isn't that the mark of true style?
Tip: It's not necessary to match your nails identically to your outfit. Instead, try a different hue, as seen here with this lady's bright blue ones.
This lady is a vintage jewellery shop owner (more on that in the follow up post), and that evidently permeates into her personal style. But it's her expert mix of old and new that demonstrates élan. Her vintage jewellery display her character, whilst her modern strappy heels and on-trend gorgeous green velvet off-the-shoulder dress keep the look fresh and funky, rather than wacky. Furthermore, the bling on her cat-eye glasses is in line with her personality, while the muted brown colour that matches her hair and skintone stop the glasses from wearing her and becoming OTT.
An off-the-shoulder dress or top is a very chic option for evening as shoulders don't age. It boasts allure by exposing some skin without looking obvious, but allows you to hide your upper arms if you'd prefer to. (Find some of my favourite options here).
If you're tired of resorting to a plain old black, move on to other dark colours such as this forest green. They're just as flattering but much more adventurous.
One of the things that struck me the most in Mantua was the ubiquity of trainers. Both women and men, of all ages, in the most sophisticated of outfits, were wearing them. It might sound strange, but it was the juxtaposition of casual and smart that radiated style. So that's great news for comfort!
Keep trainers crisp and clean. It's this aspect that makes the look cool rather than scruffy.
Don't be afraid of colour. The brightest of trainers can liven up the most muted of outfits.
For a bit of pizzazz, choose metallic. Avoid rhinestones as they can look tacky.
Classic with a twist
Left: A different heel: an unconventional heel on an otherwise classic shoe is always a great way to start experimenting with style if you're unsure. (I'm also a big fan of how the frayed jeans are half tucked into the stylish boots as it suggests nonchalance.)
Top right: A new element: worn with or without socks, the holes inject a different unexpected aspect into these derby lace ups, as does the unusual pale green and brushed pink effect.
Bottom right: A bold colour: when sticking with an overall traditional design, opt for an unusual bright colour, such as this lovely orangey pink.
Out and About
Bikes were everywhere in Manuta. However formally dressed, locals of all ages would whizz past in a blur of style and colour. I like how this lady has added colour in the form of a bright red polka-dot scarf and matching red bag (tucked in her basket) to her simple combo of jeans and a blazer.
A sweater draped over the shoulders is a chic way to cover the top of your arms, and an alternative to the classic cardigan or shrug. It can look haphazard, but strategically pinning a large modern brooch on it, as seen here, makes it look deliberate, graceful, and contemporary.
However casual your clothes are, carrying a funky colourful bag indicates style. I love the pompoms on this bright pink ethnic tote. It even matches her bike!