The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Ask BB: What to Wear While Sightseeing in Italy

I'm getting married in Positano, Italy in early September of this year and will be spending 5 days in Rome as well. It is supposed to be in the mid 80's. Could you please give me some outfit ideas for sightseeing? I'm 25 years old, 5'3" and 110 lbs. —Megan

First of all, congratulations! I can't think of a more romantic place to say "I do." Regarding sightseeing, I'm picturing an equally romantic combination of casual skirts and feminine tops, paired with comfortable shoes and a small crossbody bag. Bring a lightweight cardigan that you can toss over your shoulders when you're in a museum or touring a cathedral. I was in Old Navy the other day and saw lots of stylish items under $30 that will work well for your trip, and I've included some of them in the outfit ideas below. Click on any item for shopping details. Buon viaggio!

Outfit idea #1: Italians have a reputation for being stylish but you'll see a wide range of fashion tastes represented on the streets of Rome. Blend in by wearing this white ruffle top and blush skirt - both are supremely comfortable yet pretty.

Outfit idea #2: A patterned skirt and colorful top always make a winning combo and will look good in your photos, too. Try to pack a small crossbody bag and matching shoes that you can wear with any outfit (I've shown a couple of options for footwear but each would work interchangeably with any of these looks, depending on your style. It's worth paying a bit more for comfortable shoes, too. These are from Athleta.)

Outfit idea #3: Have fun mixing colors and patterns - travel style doesn't have to be boring. Also note that I've intentionally omitted short shorts and flip-flops - leave these at home, you generally won't see Europeans or other international travelers sporting these wardrobe items (except by the beach).

Dear Readers, what did I miss??


OMG, a wedding in Positano, amazing. I've lived in Italy since I graduated from undergrad in 2007, and the one thing I learned after working in Rome for a summer is to LOVE WEDGES. There are so many great wedges for sale right now, and they are SO MUCH MORE MANAGEABLE ON COBBLESTONES -- seriously, the Roman cobblestones especially ("san pietre", or "little saint peters" -- a la san peter and the rock on which the Vatican is built, supposedly) will chew up any stilettos. Go for a wedge if you want to wear heels while in Rome and around little Italian towns. And don't forget your sunglasses!!! The bigger the better over here, although it seems like lately EVERYONE wears raybans and only raybans. Have fun, and congratulations!!
#1 Rachel on 2011-07-22 09:07 (Reply)
What brand is the cardigan from the frst outfit?
#2 Erika Ortega on 2011-07-22 09:41 (Reply)
Erika, you can click on any item and it will take you to the site to shop; that cardigan's from Old Navy.
#2.1 Maria on 2011-07-22 10:04 (Reply)
I was in Rome early Sept of 06.
Best advise I could give (that I wish someone told me) is bring a very comfortable pair of flat sandals! I walked around so much during the days that my feet were killing me. all I had were my heels, a cheap pair of flats and sneakers. When i was there in Sept it was too darn hot for socks and sneakers.
Any way I hope this helps and Congrats!!!
#3 Gigi (Homepage) on 2011-07-22 11:03 (Reply)
These outfits are perfect for Rome! I've been several times and always pack differently for an Italian vacation. Rome is so stylish that you don't want to look like the average, American tourist. You will come away with amazing fashion ideas - the women there seem to pull off high fasion without effort. I'm always in awe.
#4 jo on 2011-07-22 12:37 (Reply)
I was in Rome for part of my honeymoon last September. One thing you definitely need is at least one skirt or dress that is long enough to cover your kneecaps. Some of the historic churches have extremely strict dress codes, and it is NOT OK to show your knees and shoulders. The dress code enforcement can be spotty sometimes, but you don't want to risk being tossed out!
#5 Nikki F. on 2011-07-22 12:58 (Reply)
I just spent four months studying in Rome and all of these outfits are perfect! BB is right about short shorts, I only ever saw young teens wearing any shorts higher than mid-thigh. Definitely stay away from rubber flip flops but any other sandals would be fine. Though I warn you, if you walk around all day in sandals, you're feet will end up pretty dirty. Rome is most definitely not one of the world's cleaner cities haha. Also, I would recommend not wearing any clothes with English writing on them. That's like sign shouting "I'm American!" and believe me, Italian guys will be swarming around you. Even when you're with your new husband. They are nothing if not persistent!

oh and just a tip, I work at Old Navy and tomorrow morning summer dresses are 50% you might want to stop in and see if there are any dresses you like, for your trip or just for fun :-)
#6 Natalat on 2011-07-22 21:45 (Reply)
I have lived in Italy since 1992 and can confirm this is good advice both from BB and the other readers! You definitely want to wear something that covers your shoulders and reaches below the knees for visits to important churches. I missed the cathedral of St. Francis in Assisi because my bermuda shorts were considered too short.

Comfortable shoes are super-important because you will be walking a lot. Try to avoid leather soles because you can slip and fall on the stone pavements.

I would also recommend bringing hair clips to hold your hair up on really hot days. Sunglasses and sunscreen, too!
#7 saretta (Homepage) on 2011-07-23 07:35 (Reply)
All of this is great advice! I honeymooned in Positano and Rome last June, and would definitely agree that comfortable shoes are a must. Many of the "streets" in Positano are actually staircases - so be prepared to do a lot of walking!

Positano is known for its linens, so it's a good opportunity to pick up a nice airy skirt.

For Rome, I'll just add that a cute crossbody bag is a good idea to keep your possessions secure when walking along streets or taking buses to various sites. There are plenty of pickpockets in areas heavily populated by tourists, so it's just something to be aware of.

#8 Daria on 2011-07-23 18:26 (Reply)
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