How To Dress Like You Live In Milan, According To The City's Most Stylish Locals
Get the ultra-elegant look.
It’s well-known that Milan is one of the chicest spots in Europe today, not only because many high-profile fashion houses (Gucci, Prada, and Giorgio Armani, to name a few) have made the northern Italian hub their base, but also thanks to the consistently well-dressed Milanese people. Just as the creative stars of the city’s imminent fashion week value attention to detail and ever-elegant designs, so do the fashionable folk who inhabit the area. If anything, it is Milan’s residents who have helped make the town’s style so covetable with their sharp tailoring and knack for making decadent accessory combinations look tasteful.
Indeed, the aforementioned merits are the foundation of Milan’s distinctly sophisticated appeal, as often documented on Milanesi a Milano, an Instagram account that posts shots of spontaneously stylish people going about their daily business in the city. And since the Italian fashion industry rose to a position of international prominence in the second half of the 20th century, it makes sense, then, that there is a retro element that is ingrained in the runway shows and the street style alike.
While the refined, almost regal style might seem inaccessible to some, there are in fact a few core tips and tricks that can serve as your means to getting the Milanese look. Read on for more insights into the fashion psychology from several knowledgable locals, as well as wardrobes must-haves and respective wishlists for this fall.
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“I’m closer to the sciura aesthetic,” says fashion illustrator and influencer Jenny Walton, referring to style that essentially belongs to Milan’s well-dressed residents over 60. Still, she finds ways to create subtly sexy moments, like with the waist-cinching Prada skirt linked below. “In terms of street style and what you see walking around Milan, for me it’s a breath of fresh air,” says the illustrator, who moved from Brooklyn to Milan earlier this year. “[In New York City,] it was mainly all workout clothes and incredibly casual, which I don’t have anything against, it just becomes a bit boring when it’s all you see. So I’m happy to be in Milan where the style is sometimes a little less casual.” She sees Milanese street style leaning more into smart-classic fashion, like modest black, white, and neutral colors on full, ’50-style skirts.
Milanesi a Milano
Scrolling through the feed of Milanesi a Milano reveals many variations on the city’s low-key luxurious, and sometimes faintly nerdy, aesthetic. From all of the looks they’ve seen, there are some common garments and accessories among Milan’s fashionable people, like friulane shoes, Barbour jackets, oversized blazers, and golden accessories sourced from all around the world. “There’s such a treasure-hunting attitude,” the Milanesi a Milano says. For the upcoming fall season, the four women behind the account (who prefer to stay anonymous) are already seeing a spike in ’90s-style suiting, corsets, and simple white tank tops.
“What I got from the Milanese style is searching for quality and care for details to express a personalized style,” says Helen Nonini, a brand consultant who’s lived in Milan since 2007. While she attends Milan Fashion Week, she doesn’t purchase pieces specifically for the events. “I buy clothes when I find them in line with my imagination, my idea of style. Every season I look for different but timeless pieces.”
The Sciura Expert
When Angelo P. moved from the south of Italy to Milan in 2014, he became so taken with the posh women of the city that he decided to start an Instagram account dedicated to them in 2016. In studying them from behind his camera lens, he’s found that while some of the city’s street style is trend-based (thanks to an effort by designers to “please a younger demographic”) the main aesthetic of Milanese women is rooted in the “classic, chic, and posh taste that the sciure have.” Though he prefers to remain an anonymous figure, his page is much-loved for the women decked out in vintage furs, fine leather and croc-skin handbags, vibrant printed scarves, and adventurous outerwear — all necessary items for embodying classic Milanese style, he says.
For Alice Abbiadati, a fashion journalist living in the city, it’s not just what you wear — it’s how you wear it. While sharp tailoring and friulane shoes are her entry point to capturing the classic style, confidence and purposefulness are key contributors to getting the full look. “[The Milanese woman] wears things that make her feel good, and even if practical, they are also chic,” such as a pair of crisp denim pants, white sneakers, and cashmere sweaters, Abbiadati explains. “She also always has something inherited from her mother or grandmother, such as jewelry and vintage handbags.”