The desire to fill a wardrobe with stylish clothes is fueled by the daily passing of store windows. Italians have a knack for grabbing a customer’s attention at a glance. Roman shop owners cultivate long- lasting relationships with clients, in a way that major store chains could never compete with.
Before I ever visited Rome, I knew the items in my mother’s closet that came from the Eternal City. While shooting on location for a film they were cast in together, my mother and Michelle Pfieffer passed days scouring the boutiques among the cobblestones.
A green poplin shirt that Michelle bought for my mother solidified my devotion to fashion longevity. Rome’s stores are also devoted to this concept, with proprietors curating their wares with a concentration on lastingness and durability.
Here is our short guide to shopping women’s clothing, divided by neighborhood.
The store, opened in 1999, brings together a savvy, curious and international clientele. Today, after nearly twenty years of researching style, George's Donna stocks globally- renowned brands such as Tagliatore, and Chie Mihara, as well as innovative labels, such as Chiara Bertani's ethereal knitwear, shirts and Bagutta dresses (made using archival fabrics with signature prints from the 70s and 80s). Via della Rotonda, 5.
In the heart of the historic center of Rome, a small fifteenth century church is home to the concept store DANA Roma. Born from a collaboration between architect Dana Keilani and the architecture studios of Noses and Pslab, the welcoming space merges an art gallery with a women’s clothing store. The highly- curated selection of both art and fashion offers customers the chance to shop artisanal Italian brands, and find statement pieces that will have them racking up compliments. Via del Pellegrino, 167.
Our dream buy: Enamel “Love Nest” bracelet by Bela Louloudaki.
A discreet storefront, with simply decorated windows, lets the clothes speak for themselves. Knitwear, and soft, easily wearable scarves and jackets in silk, linen and cotton are their specialty. The brands at Iaia are made for women with work to do, that don’t want to sacrifice style. Here you will find contemporary Italian labels dedicated to quality basics you can wear every day. Via del Piè di Marmo, 43.
What we want: the Porselli ballerina flats from Milan.
Piazza di Spagna
This ready-to-wear brand is 100% made in Italy, and targets a woman with a minimalist style and a discerning eye for materials. Although it can be found in multi- brand stores in New York and throughout Italy, the Rome store is a special experience. Often you will find the designer herself tailoring the pieces on her devoted customers. Great work- to -evening clothes in geometric prints inspired by the facades of modern Roman buildings, Chiara Baschieri delivers style. Vicolo dell'Orto di Napoli, 7.
What we want: the namesake Messenger Bag in Ice Grey .
Santa Maria Novella
While it’s known around the world as a symbol of luxury, it seems right to shop at the age- old, Florence- born perfumer’s headquarters in Rome. An experience in the history of alchemy, the staff are incredibly helpful and warm. Shelves are stocked with tinctures and soaps, each accompanied by an explanation for its use. With a range of products from liquors to candles, there is something for everyone. A great place for gift shopping or treating yourself. Corso del Rinascimento, 47.
What we buy: Rose Water - the recipe for which dates to 1381 .
Re di Roma
This is one of the most fashionable stores we know. Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Alexander Wang, and Off- White are just some of the brands that you can find inside this massive luxury shop. With an eye on hot trends, this store caters to fashion mavens. If you’re in the neighborhood, it’s worth a look to check out their sale section, where previous season items are discounted. Via Appia Nuova, 30.
What we want: James Perse Shirts and Mother jeans.
Walking towards Piazzale Appio, make a right onto Via Tuscolana and you will discover Bio Chic, a perfumery dedicated to organic cosmetics. If you’re looking for all -natural alternatives to the usual Italian pharmacy brands, here you will find products, from baby sunscreen to hair masks, with sustainability and quality control in mind. They also offer shopping events, make- up courses and bridal packages (all with an organic promise). Via Tuscolana, 15.
What we go for: Alkemilla Lip Balm in Cinnamon flavor.
Not everyone likes going through the racks. But if you do have the patience to do so, Sophintage is a treasure trove of unique finds. Animal prints and bright colors are mixed in with classic cardigans and costume jewelry. The owner, Sophie Talarico, really underlines the message of re- use, both in the design of the store and her selection of women’s clothes, shoes, and bags. Here, second- hand is fresh, inspired by the British idea of vintage shopping. Via Donatello, 77.
What we go for: Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses.
On one of the busier shopping streets of Rome lies this bewitching store. The striking architecture and Scandinavian design displays give Alternative character and charm. The attention to detail is also apparent in the selection of the brands. With a pulse on international labels, luxury materials feature heavily. Cozy sweaters and comfy boots are wardrobe staples that will make the fall to winter transition seamless. The window displays alone will keep you coming back. Viale del Vignola, 69.
What we want: Suede chestnut Dansko clogs.