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What I’m Wearing For an Italian Summer

The first time that I spent a summer in the south of Italy, I was massively unprepared. Being from Minnesota, I used to love my air-conditioning set to artic in the summers, and heat set to “sahara dry” in the wintertime. But here’s the thing…that doesn’t fly when the summers are nearing 100 degrees every day and are usually spent outside.

Shocking, I know.

Having spent a few summers in that kind of heat, I’ve finally refined my packing list (read: still bringing at LEAST one big bag to check in. Sorry, honey.) and found the staples that I’ll be bringing with me to wear in Italy for the summer every single year.

 

01: The little black dress

Gretchen Reese wearing a little black dress (LBD) in Bologna, Italy. This image is part of a guide on what to wear in Italy in the summertime.

Where would we be without the little black dress? This is easily one of the most grabbed items in my closet – and the best part is, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one. I keep about five versions of the LBD in my travel wardrobe to make sure that I have all of my occasions covered. A maxi dress for formal events, a cotton midi for afternoon trips to the winery, a floaty mini for evenings on the terrace – you name it.

A little black dress is so versatile, and can be worn countless times and styled up or down. Here’s some of my favorites:

 

 

02: Silk camisoles

Now – silk has been a staple in my wardrobe for years. It’s one of the best fabrics for high heat and humidity because it’s naturally cooling and super lightweight. At least four to five times a week, I’m grabbing a silk cami from my wardrobe to toss on – whether it’s for date night or for a day exploring a new city. It’s even a great option for quick errands because it’ll go with anything from denim and linen pants to a mini skirt and killer heels.

Here’s some of my favorite silk cami options, even some that you can WASH (yes, you read that right) and are under $50:

 

 

 

Gretchen Reese wearing a silk maxi dress from Roberto Cavalli to a wedding in Molfetta, Italy. Get more wedding guest dress inspiration and learn what to wear for an Italian summer vacation on gretchenreese.com

 

03: The maxi dress

I know I mentioned this with the LBD category too – but I can’t even count how many times a maxi dress that I can toss on and go has saved me SO many times. And not just because I don’t have to find anything else that matches them.

Actually, I take that back. That’s exactly why.

I’ve even made them my wedding guest dress staple – in fact, I’ve popped a couple of my favorite maxi dresses, for casual outings or Puglian weddings (which, let me tell you – deserve a best-dressed moment), that could work for your next trip to Italy:

 

 

04: The comfortable shoe

You’ll easily get your 10,000 steps a day when it comes to an Italian summer vacation. And because of this, it’s important to have great shoes. I’m a huge advocate of all leather or natural material shoes, because polyurethane (pleather/vegan leather) will make your feet hotter than the devil’s oven. And not in a good way. Same goes for PVC.

Just make sure you give them a couple of wears before you take them on a five-mile-per-day itinerary. I’ve linked some of my favorites here:

 

 

05: All linen everything

If there’s one fabric other than silk that you can find me in all summer – it’s linen. Linen shirts, linen pants, linen shorts – basically, anything I can get my hands on. It’s the perfect casual material to throw on after a trip to the sea, or for a quick aperitvo before dinner.

Pair with a some leather sandals or a pair of trainers and you’re good to go.

 

 

Gretchen Reese wears a gown by Likely NYC to a wedding in Bologna Italy. She shares this dress and other options for casual and formal weddings in Puglia, Italy and other Italian wedding inspiration. Read more at gretchenreese.com

 

06: For the guys – a well-tailored suit

You know what they say, gals like guys in a well-tailored suit. And spoiler alert: it’s totally true.

Because of the intense heat in Italy – it’s easy to want to throw on a linen shirt and pair of shorts, which can be great – but if you want something a little bit more elevated, try a linen suit. Still lightweight, but a luxe look that will look and feel great all night.

It’s even boyfriend-approved.

 

 

All in all – the theme for any summer vacation in Italy is light – in color and in weight. Light textures, light fabrics, anything you can to beat the heat. Just remember that depending on where you travel to, you may need to bring something to cover your shoulders (like a church, for example).

Buon viaggio!

 


 

Here’s a pro-tip: if you want to follow along with everything I’m wearing in Italy – check out my LTK shop.

It’s got all of my essentials and more.

Or, if you want to edit your travel photos like a pro – check out my editing presets. They’ll take your photos from good to jaw-dropping in just one click!

 

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