Milanese Magpies

Italian Street Style Embraces the Excess


It’s a beautiful thing to be a little tacky. Historically, the word causes faces to cringe and chins to drop as eyes survey their body’s choice in wardrobe or interior design or floral arrangements. “Am I tacky?” you may question yourself when the two syllables are dropped nearby like a glittering microphone.

But here’s a better question to ask: are you happy?

If the answer is yes then your wardrobe is blessed, because tacky is an adjective that could save us all.

Milan street style has never shied away from the magpie’s aesthetic. It refutes that famous bossy block quote’s advice to “remove one accessory before you leave the house” and then asks, “Who told you to chime in?”

Attention block quote: that was a rhetorical question.

You see, the industrial backdrop of Italy’s fashion week capital acts as the perfect canvas for seasoned yolo-dressing. Where the cities of New York and London and Paris compete with its designers and street style stars (shamelessly boasting their yellow cabs, red phone booths and sprawling gardens while decked in year-round Christmas lights), Milan relaxes onto a wooden bench and allows its citizens and visitors to command the attention.


If New York was a bold fur coat and London a set of stacked rainbow brogues, then Milan is a neutral suit with hems just short enough that when one leg is crossed over the other’s knee, a pair of bright yellow socks are exposed and shock the system.


If Milan was an age, then it would belong to the kind of person who believes that age is just a number.


And if you were to assign Milan a trend, you’d have to pick a trend that loaned itself to more than one meaning. Like flare — as in the shape and the dangling, bangling excess


Don’t bother pinning a decade to this city either. One woman’s 1970s is another’s whole-hearted take on modern.


You could call it tacky. Tacky or happy. But when the words become synonymous and elicit collective joy from the wearer, the photographer, and the person who clicks through pictures on a screen, no one’s going to argue. Especially not with a magpie.

Images via Tommy Ton for and Adam Katz Sinding for W and Le 21 ème.

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  • Ohhh, gimme that suede fringe jacket in slide 11. Not complaining about the excess here.

  • The Farfalla Pasta bag is just TOO GOOD.

  • Anna

    You put it into words so beautifully. I used to live in Milan and miss it terribly!

  • Andrew Chunis

    The great thing about fashion is that it always looks forward.

  • AlexaJuno

    Anything goes! Milan gets me.

  • Aydan

    The last picture slays me! I love all of this and think its all just so beautiful!!

  • Ana

    love this approach of tacky = happy. I mean I like how these women don’t seem to take themselves too seriously, they explore and express their most creative side through wackiness. I think this article and yesterday’s rerun of the Bill Cunningham documentary while ill in bed are going to make me embrace my inner careless, borderline bonkers, creative soul.
    Fashion should never be serious 😉

    Thank you 🙂

    Ana x

  • Wear what makes you happy! I love the hula doll handbag!

  • The red monochromatic number in slide 8 is sooo nice. I’ll take that & the cobalt blue fringe jacket in slide 1 – please & thank you! haha


  • Stephanie

    Awesome street style. Milan is awesome!

  • SLIDE 8!

  • It’s tacky and fabulous, just wish it weren’t so logo-driven.

  • love the green 80’s(ish) dress w/ pink cowgirl hat!!!!

  • I like some of that, like flare and fringes, but NYFW was more like me than Milan, from what I saw.


  • Victoria

    sorta obsessed with photo 26, ladies know how to rock it!

  • I love the opulence that Italy embraces


  • Sara

    This is how I feel about my square suede and hologram purse <3