Italy has historically been divided and the traditional dress matches the region
more than it does the nation as a whole today. The similarities came in basic pieces
of clothing as women tended to wear a dress and men generally wore pants with a
shirt and perhaps a vest or coat. Embroidery was common on the clothing and with
seasonal changes the clothing also varied drastically. Colors also varied, but for
special occasions brighter colors were generally worn, although most everyday clothing
was simply white, grey, or black.
Today some of these clothing items can be seen on special occasions and local holidays,
but no one wears these traditional clothes regularly today. The Italians prefer
modern western-styled clothing and Milan is considered one of the fashion centers
of the world so the styles are always changing and it's impossible to argue
that the Italians are fashionable. Despite the ever-changing fashion, the diversity
in clothing is great.
As a visitor to Italy you are free to wear any western-styled clothing that suites
you, but wearing shabby clothing will get you odd looks, especially in the cities.
The most important thing to remember is to dress for the occasion as most churches
require you wear long pants and cover your shoulders, while business settings and
nice restaurants often have an even more formal dress code. If in doubt, dress on
the more formal, conservative, and stylish side.