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Everything you need to know about shopping for clothes in Italy!
Just like food, different regions of Italy are known for different fashion specialties. You wouldn't go to Naples and not eat pizza, and if you're a style seeker, you shouldn't leave these cities without shopping their unique offerings.
WHAT TO KNOW:
You may already know that European sizes are different from those in the U.S., but did you know that Italy actually has its own clothes sizing that is different even from the rest of Europe? Before you leave, take a look at an Italian size chart to find the number that corresponds to your size at home (sizes start in the 30s). Depending on the item, you should also be prepared to go up from your usual size; Italian clothes and shoes tend to be cut a bit more narrowly than American brands. Pro tip: Before you leave, google a size chart and save the image on your phone, so you can pull it up in an instant no matter where you are.
If you're short on time or are looking for hard-to-find items from the big designers, a department store can be a handy one-stop shop. (Giada, who is a sunglasses junkie, swears the designer options in Italian department stores are impossible to find back home.) But if you've got the time, the most rewarding experience is to spend time in the small, impeccably curated boutiques that showcase the many small-scale local designers that Italy does so well. To get even closer to the source, many artisan workshops have a storefront right there, giving you the incredible opportunity to meet the person who makes your clothes.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 15, Milan
This massively popular brand promises luxury-quality makeup at drugstore prices – and it delivers! Be sure to pick up a tube or three of their cult-favorite ultra-lengthening mascara.
Via Guicciardini 1/R, Florence
This 100-year-old institution is the best of the best of Florence's glove makers. Don't leave without trying a pair made from cinghale, wild boar skin, which feels like unbelievably soft suede.