July 2020

Italian Fashion: How to Dress with Italian Style

By Barbara & Monica Abbatemaggio, Guest Editors


Defining Italian Style
Being Italian, we’re often asked about Italian Chic. For us, that means elegance, femininity, a little intrigue and mystery . . . it’s about your silhouette, slimming lines and details . . . it’s where fashion and style have no limits and beauty has no bounds, coming together to create a seamless look. That is Italian style.

But looking stylish like the Italians is not just about special occasions, how much money you spend, or the latest trends. To us, it’s about finding the easiest way for you to look good and feel great throughout the day. Whether you’re walking the dog or walking the red carpet, it’s important to be yourself, to be comfortable and confident, to enhance what you have to bring out your best.

Step 1 to Looking Like a Stylish Italian: Know Your Figure
Before anything else, you have to identify your silhouette. This is the most important thing in creating your Italian look and builds the foundation for everything else. Getting to know your figure and the best shapes and cuts that work for you gives you a starting point, focus, and direction. From there you can wear anything if it fits you well and follows your silhouette.

Step 2 in Dressing with Italian Style: The Best Undergarments for You
The second most important thing when dressing Italian is undergarments that fit and support your shape well. Good undergarments and body slimmers are no longer uncool, and they are the key to a look that is put together, tasteful, and feminine. Nowadays, we have lots of tools to highlight and flatter our bodies, no matter what our shape. From bras to body suits, knickers to Spanx, you can select from many beautiful and sexy choices that will have you looking good from the inside out.

Step 3 for Italian Fashion: Wardrobe Must-Haves
There are certain fashion staples that every woman should have in her closet, so she can take her Italian Chic look anywhere, day or night. The cut and shape of these wardrobe basics depend on your silhouette, so it is very important to understand that first.

Jeans: What to Look for to Maintain Italian Style
Three must-have colors—black, gray, and blue denim. A flattering cut to enhance your shape and silhouette. Hem lengths so you have jeans that work with both heels and flats.
Pear Shape: Look for jeans fitted at the thigh, either boot cut (but not too wide) or straight cut, and long enough to cover part of your shoe’s heel. Boyfriend jeans also work. NO skinny jeans or capris.
Hourglass Shape: Think about your waist first. High-waisted jeans work nicely, as do any skinny or close-fitting straight-legged jeans. NO boyfriend jeans.
Boyish Shape: Any jeans work, from skinny to boyfriend to capri.

Tank Tops & T-Shirts Rock the Italian Look
Great to conceal or reveal, to wear fitted or loose, to layer or not. We usually like our t-shirts a little rock-and-roll and in all the shades of our jeans, plus the must-have white.

Italian Fashion Flair with Leggings
Black leggings—high-waisted—help smooth and flatter your shape.

Skirts Say Italian Style
Pencil skirts are the favored look, in various lengths, depending on your shape and height. Stay away from pockets, pleats, A-lines, and bubble skirts.
Pear Shape: A flared skirt, especially if you have a thin waist, looks fantastic! Wear it long or knee length—just choose a fitted blouse to wear with it.
Hourglass Shape: Wear skirts at the knee, or if your knees aren’t the best, go longer. Pencil skirts are ideal.
Boyish Shape: Any length skirt works, but if your legs permit, go above the knee or a bit shorter. It’s a fresh look for summer.

Little Minidress Is a Big Italian Look
Always make sure the dress works with your silhouette. Must-haves: a little black number to dress up or down, and something bright or floral for some flair. And if you have a boyish shape, minidresses were made for you, especially when worn with boots.

Viva L’Italian Chic with Jackets, Blazers & Vests
Whether it’s a leather jacket, vest, or blazer, you can throw these on to be a little rock-and-roll or add some elegance. The right cut and length for your shape will help slim you.

Accessories Complete Italian Chic: Required-Wearing List
Accessories work to enhance and complement your height and shape, and complete the Italian Chic look. We love big square scarves, wraps, and natural-toned, wide, and super-slim belts. Other favorites: a go-everywhere messenger bag; good pairs of flats, heels, and boots (we put cowboy boots with everything); dark, opaque stockings; black and flesh-colored thigh-high fishnets; long necklaces; cuffs; and big rings with sparkle.

Step 4 to Creating an Italian Chic Look: Putting It All Together
Italian Style for Day
We love a pair of jeans, a tank top, a blazer, and heels in various shades of the same color, which gives an elegance to the look. Add some accessories, and you can create a look for any occasion. Or maybe dress down a mini dress, add an oversized cardigan, a pair of cowboy boots, and a messenger bag to rock out your day.

Italian Chic Options by Night
Make an entrance with a black pencil skirt, a great top to show a little skin, a leather jacket, a scarf, glam heels, jeweled drop earrings, and a clutch. Or, try leggings with a sexy pair of flats, a blazer, and some subtle bling.

Italian Fashion Don’ts!
A-line skirts, bad lingerie, UGGS, and sneakers when you’re not at the gym.

Italian Chic Basic Rules
It’s better to look good and feel great throughout the day than only to sparkle on special occasions. To us, every day, all day, is a special occasion. So whether you’re at the gym or at the opera, let your look tell your story. Get a mani, put a little gloss on your lips and blush in your cheeks, and feel fresh, feminine, and sexy no matter where you are or what you’re doing. To us—that’s Italian style!

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Barbara & Monica Abbatemaggio, Sorelle Firenze

sorelle-firenze-bioTwo Italian Sisters & Their Italian Chic Boutique
Sisters Barbara and Monica Abbatemaggio reflect European panache in every aspect of their lives. Natives of Florence, Italy, the designers/stylists have used their world travels as inspiration for fashion and styling clients such as Bette Midler, Paz de la Huerta (of Boardwalk Empire) and Phoebe Cates, among others. It is their old-world charm layered with modern sensibilities that put the duo’s Tribeca shop, Sorelle Firenze, on the map in 1997. The popular boutique provided scores of women with chic, eclectic fashions designed by the sisters and access to emerging brands like Florence favorites Quelle Tre, Patafisic, and Gorilla. Running Sorelle Firenze also afforded Barbara and Monica the opportunity to work 1-on-1 with patrons, offering fashion tips, and styling select clients for special events.

Sorelle Firenze’s Styling Success Means Goodbye NY Boutique
As word got out about Sorelle Firenze’s expertise in wardrobe consulting and closet organization, the business expanded to meet the new demand. In 2005 Barbara and Monica introduced home styling and event staging to their list of services. Encouraged by the new direction the business was taking, the Abbatemaggio sisters made a bold decision to close the boutique the same year. The strategic move enabled them to focus solely on their styling business and raising their infant children.

The Sorelle Firenze Method of Personal Styling
Reborn in 2011, Sorelle Firenze is now a fashion/home styling consultancy helping busy women (and men) sort through their wardrobe to create looks that are unique, elegant, fashion-forward, and appropriate. Barbara and Monica incorporate an international flair for European fashion into their work that stimulates the senses and appears effortless. They customize looks based on a client’s lifestyle, taste, and needs. Whether someone is dressing to fit her post-pregnancy body, is looking for the perfect date outfit, is starting a new career, or has a flurry of social engagements, Sorelle Firenze will create the perfect look.
Sorelle Firenze, which means “Sisters of Florence,” has earned its reputation styling discerning Park Avenue women, socialites, and celebrities. The sisters’ relationships with boutiques and high-end department stores allow them to deliver the right fashion mix in order to create a client’s total personal fashion statement.

Fashion Philosophy, Italian Style
The Abbatemaggio sisters operate from the premise that women should exude femininity in all aspects of their life. “Women are so busy these days that they forget to dress in a way that will make them appear and feel beautiful, sexy, and powerful,” says Monica Abbatemaggio. “We see closets filled with designer labels but clients who are clueless about how to put things together.” Adds Barbara: “We empower women to be stylish whether they’re going to the grocery store, the gym, or a black-tie gala. It’s about finding the proper silhouette to flatter the figure, incorporating trends, and mixing and matching textures and the right accessories.”

Fashion Winners on Reality TV
Barbara and Monica’s comprehensive approach to style was recently captured on the Italian lifestyle reality television show, Cortesie Per Gli Ospiti, where the Florentine sisters’ fashion and style aesthetic made them one of the 2010 winners.

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