Seven Style Tips from Italians – To Stay Confident as You Age

by | September 13, 2018

Seven Style Tips From Italians To Help You Stay Confident as You Age

Italy is an epicentre of fashion, design, art and style, most of us would not dispute that. This dates back throughout their long and rich history. Acknowledging this, what can we learn from them? What do they do differently from us? We’ve all heard the tips about French style. I’m going to set out seven style tips from Italians to help you stay confident as you age:

1. Celebrate beauty at all ages
2. Life’s not over at 40
3. Be individualistic in your style
4. Dress for the occasion
5. Overall presentation matters
6. Grooming is VERY important
7. Eating pasta does not make you unattractive

I learnt these things during a 10-year immersion program I put myself on after falling in love with Italians and Italian culture in my 20s, realising that they didn’t binge drink when socialising (unlike us!), I was hooked. I studied Italian, took extended sojourns there whenever possible, had a relationship and developed many beautiful friendships which endure to this day.

A disclaimer: not ALL Italian style is great. As with anywhere, they have their diverse spectrum and you will find people who are completely and utterly over the top; covered in bedazzle; too much makeup. However, at their top end of the spectrum they are the best of the best.

1. Celebrate beauty at all ages

Ignore the notion that beauty is synonymous with youth and appreciate beauty across all age groups.

Italians have a beauty culture, it’s is very important to them. In Italian to say: oh nice, or that’s great you say: beautiful! Everything’s beautiful. This includes women and men of all ages.

They acknowledge a more diverse and individual beauty range, starting from birth. I’ve noticed that little Italian girls are constantly and emphatically told ‘sei bellissima, sei bellissima’: you’re so beautiful, you’re so beautiful. From there it continues throughout their lives. If I cast my mind back to my own childhood I don’t recall anyone saying that to me. Of course I was, just as is any child and perhaps people thought it, but they certainly didn’t say it, not like Italians anyway.

Not only do Italians talk more about beauty but they hold a less precise definition of it unlike American beauty which is based on static youth perfection by which we are extremely influenced. Italians see intrinsic beauty in things even if they are different.

Don’t get me wrong, like us they don’t love aging, but they are not as vehemently opposed to it as we are. The youth cult that we have in play in our culture which is reinforced through movies and people trying to stay young at all costs. Ditch it; don’t take it on board. Take up the Italian view of the world. Celebrate the beauty of older women such as Monica Bellucci who remain a sex symbol at 53.

2. Life’s not over at 40

As you move through the various age brackets keep evolving your style, paying attention to your appearance and living vibrantly.

I mentioned above that our culture is quite youth obsessed. Most fashion and style marketing depicts images of people who would be barley 20.

Italians, like South Americans (my partner is Brazilian), socialise more across generations. They also have a big night life culture. I have observed that this means that Italians as they get older continue to get dressed up and take themselves up and go out to enjoy nocturnal activities such as going to parties and bars.

3. Be individualistic in your style

Coco Chanel once said, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”

I mentioned above that Italians have a less precise definition of beauty than we do. Therefore, they can more individualistic style choices. They spend time figuring out who they are and how they want to convey themselves to the world.

Figure out what suits you, including colours and shapes then be yourself and use your personality. People will love it.

4. Occasional dressing

Think about where you are going and what you are doing then dress appropriately for the occasion.

Italians are more apt at dressing for the occasion and this includes being mindful of the seasons. For example, in Sydney now, we are coming out of winter during which you are likely to see many women getting around in a coat along with open toed sandals. This is partly due to our mild winters, although it’s still 7 degrees in the morning! You won’t see this in Italy.

Another thing you won’t see in Italy are women and men heading off to the office in their suit, donned with a backpack and exercise sneakers, ready for their lunchtime workout session (I’m totally guilty of this by the way, although I have curbed it a little). My former partner’s mother, when visiting us from Italy one time looked out the window and saw this custom and said: Australian women are very practical! By her tone, this was not necessarily a good thing.

My position is to not be obsessive, just mindful.

5. Overall presentation matters

Accessorise properly, iron your clothes, and maintain your shoes.

When I asked some Italian friends of mine who have lived in Australia what they though we could improve upon style wise they all commented on an apathy to overall presentation. They said we often let ironing slip of the list of things to do and words like ‘sloppy’ came up. Although we were also commended for not caring so much and for being more active, as evidenced by people wearing ‘active wear’ to places other than the gym. Some of my friends found it liberating living in Australia as they didn’t have to think as much about their presentation but picked up their game again when they returned to Europe.

6. Grooming is VERY important

Keep your hair trimmed and your nails shaped and clean with cuticles pushed back.

All Italians I know, even those up the scruffier end of the spectrum, are groomed. Even if fingernails and toenails and not painted, they are cut, filed and clean. Feet are buffed free of dead skin cells as is the rest of the body.

This is not to say that all body hair has to be removed, that’s not what we’re getting at here. To quote on of my best friends, who is incidentally a very stylish Italian woman, when we were on this topic one day: I may be agnostic, and I may not believe in god but there’s one thing I do believe in and that’s a hairy p3$$y!

There’s no risk of an Italian lover’s unruly toenails scratching your legs in bed or slicing up your bed sheets. Men keep theirs in check too. When I was in a relationship with an Italian man he told me that when he was young a beautician came to the house every week and gave all members of the family a manicure and pedicure, this included both male and female children.

Keeping yourself groomed for Italians is a part of daily life. Is it a part of yours?

7. Eating pasta does not make you unattractive

Put down the raw kale salad and eat a bowl of pasta, it won’t kill you.

Poor pasta, like potatoes, has really taken a hit in the last decade. Guess what, it’s yummy and you should eat it, unless you have a medical condition like celiac disease. But here’s a secret: You don’t eat a mountain of it all at once and you eat it al dente i.e. so that it remains a tiny bit hard. This knowledge resides deeps in an Italian’s genetic memory. Eating a mountain of it is feeding yourself too many carbohydrate portions which is never good. If you keep it al dente it reduces its GI rating to be less than brown rice.

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”
― Sophia Loren

By the way, you can also eat pizza, gelato and cakes are for breakfast but that’s another story.

Continue to explore with us at Lux Commune.



Emily is the founder and senior creative of Lux Commune. She grew up in country Australia, where her family raised sheep and cattle, producing wool and beef.  Emily created Lux Commune to share her passion for high-quality design, beautiful raw materials, sustainability and world cultures.

More like this