What to Wear to a Wedding in Italy

September 2, 2010

Ask The Stylist, Daily Digest

What to Wear to a Wedding in Italy

Dear Ask the Stylist

My husband would love to wear a white linen suit and panama hat to a wedding in Naples this September.  As I am not a fashion trend follower but more of a follower of hippy/vintage/bo ho styles, I really need us both to look reasonably sane.  Can you advise what we should do as a couple, can he hire such a suit to bring with us and what shall I go for?

Thanks for your Ask the Stylist question. I read this one with gusto, as I myself had a destination wedding, in Gozo (Malta) and a group of guys turned up in panama hats. It’s a great look!  One of them even checked with us beforehand to see if it was OK to wear white…a white linen suit that is! The Italian wedding sounds fantastic and I’m very reminiscent and excited writing this.

It’ll be hot where you’re going (mid twenties at least), so you’ll need something stylish and comfortable.  Men in dark heavy suits tend to stand out a bit as they look very uncomfortable in the heat.   I think you can also be more adventurous when it comes to colour as it’s so sunny, so you can really go for it with bright colours you may not normally wear.

For Him

Yes, your hubbie would be spot-on in a linen suit (Debenham’s is your best bet) or a linen waistcoat/waistcoat (try Topman) instead of a jacket is also a good look.
Other than suits, guys can go for blazers (in lighter colours) and open white linen shirts with slacks.

For nicely tailored suits, try Zara. There may not be linen and the fit is quite slim fitting, so won’t suit a larger fella. ( But you can shop online on http://www.zara.com/ from today!).

Suit Rental Ireland

A linen suit is probably not something that your man will wear again, so try Blacktie for renting a suit – if they don’t have linen they should have a lightweight suit in a neutral colour (think oatmeal or light grey) with a white shirt  – you can always introduce the linen via the shirt  (Marks and Spencer’s have long and short sleeved lined shirts).   Suit rental will cost you approx. 80-100 euro whereas buying the suit will be double that.

Panama hats

The Hat Shop, a booth on the ground floor of St Stephen’s green shopping centre in Dublin stocks Panama hats, the colour you choose will depend on the rest of the outfit.  There have been some straw trilby hats ( in brown or cream) in Urban Outfitters over the summer and Topman is another option.


Italian churches are strict and catholic when it comes to covering your shoulders, so a pashmina, wrap or shawl is key and you may need it again in the evening, if chilly. Penney’s do cheap and cheerful pashminas for less than 10 euro. Otherwise, try Tie Rack (there’s one at the airport).

Italian Wedding

Some women wear the same style dress they would wear to an Irish summer wedding – but  tend to go for brighter colours and in general the style is a bit more laid back. The colours can be super bright,  with maxis in particular giving that laid back island/coastal feel.

Boho Maxi Dress

For your own style preferences, I’d suggest a bright maxi dress.  Halston Heritage certainly has that 70’s boho look boxed off with their maxis (Brown Thomas and Harvey Nichols are your go-to shops).   If that label is out of your reach, as it is for most, the kaftans shape of this purple one from Asos makes it a good option and a ringer for the designer equivalent. The fabric on this is not silk though and you’d need to be tall (well over 5.4) to pull it off – I’m 5.2 and it’s far too long for me.

Silk maxis with skinny straps look fantastic but sometimes require a great figure. The Grecian (or Neapolitan in your case!) look is a great one and Monsoon have some beautiful silk maxi dresses, as do Debenhams.

Alternatively, a simple maxi in jersey material would look modernday hippie – this  House of Fraser purple dress would look great with gold gladiators or wedges if you need more height. Team it with a neutral coloured pashmina and a gold, double strapped hair band (from Accessorize).


You could splash out and rent a vintage maxi from Covet.ie (from 140 euro a dress rental).

If a maxi doesn’t rock your boat, then you could opt for a vintage Mad Men look which would look very “Roman Holiday” appropriate in Naples. The blue and white print 50’s dress that Scarlett Johansson wears on Mango.com looks much like this season’s Prada version but comes in under 100 (and it’s currently in store).


Shades play a bigger part in your outfit as you’ll be wearing them a lot, so splash out! Sunglasses Hut at the airport do good deals, like 25% off when you buy a second pair, so if you don’t have any nice ones, make time for some airport shopping!

Beforehand, do your research on the sunglasses hut website and check which sunglasses shape suits your face shape.

Enjoy x

Related posts:

  1. Ask the Stylist: Summer Wedding
  2. What She Wears: Maxi Dress
  3. What She Wears: Work Wear
  4. Amy Huberman’s Wedding Dress
  5. What to Wear to the Races
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6 Responses to “What to Wear to a Wedding in Italy”

  1. Orla Says:

    It is worth bearing in mind that some Italian churches will insist that knees are covered as well as your shoulders.
    I had this problem in Florence a couple of years back and while not every church is like this, some are stricter than others.
    I had a long skirt in my bag to pull on over my shorts (I was a tourist – not going to a wedding) but it would be terrible to arrive at the wedding with a shorter skirt and be told that you can’t go in.

  2. Annemarie Says:

    Thanks for that tip Orla. It would be worth asking the bride and groom too, as we only knew about the shoulder strict rule from having visited the church and spoken to the priest, so then told out guests. They took it very seriously in Malta …my sister went to Sunday Mass to accompany my Mum and was flicking through a guide book and a local nudged her in the back to stop it!

  3. jill Says:

    Oh thanks for this post, very handy. I think i’d look frumpy in the ScarJo dress, but now i’m off for a browse on the mango site!

    Cheers Orla – I’m going to a wedding in Florence in october, so i must check the knees rule – i’m 5’4″ and have never worn a long dress in my life by choice!

  4. Dub90 Says:

    Have a look at http://www.facebook.com/zerogrey!! You ll have daily news about fashion, and discounts in italian brands 😉

  5. Oakley Sunglasses Outlet Says:

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