The World Cup of Fashion: Italy vs. US

What's the difference between Italian and American style?

Woman in black dress on catwalk
(Image credit: Dan Lecca)

Italian women are such snobs when it comes to fashion (and I can guarantee this, being 100% Italian myself). It is of course, a sense of national pride that fuels this attitude — just like pizza, pasta, and the Colosseum, the "Made in Italy" label beneath a pair of Prada heels never fails to produce a chorus of "We do it better in the Peninsula!" from fashion addicts.

Stylish Italian women tend to go for more classic, designer-clad ensembles: Custom-fitted beige suits, sleek black dresses, and classic black or brown tote leather handbags are common sights in Milan. Accessories must always be simple but stunning; (in other words expensive).

The U.S. fashion capital, New York, on the other hand, pushes the envelope and is marked by experimentation. It's much more common to see metal studs of all shapes and sizes, colorful floral prints, neon nails and eccentric accessories in Manhattan and beyond. The style evokes the freedom implied in the "American dream," a concept that is craved abroad.

Of course, the feeling of admiration tends to be mutual — it's not at all unusual to see American women perk up at the mention of D&G and Valentino, while Italian women swoon over Ralph Lauren and Jimmy Choo. Maybe it's the distance that makes us curious. Or perhaps foreign fashion is like an accent: always sexier than the one we're used to.