The wonderful world of Sicily fashion

Sicily fashion

The Sicilian fashion is a stunning medley of traditional and modern styles. First of all, you must know that in Sicily, fashion is not only clothing, but also accessories, shoes and precious fabric you can wear whenever you want. It does not matter if all the items of the Sicilian fashion are made by popular brands or unknown designers, because these items are themselves a brand! Here is what happens to the Sicilian things: just be Sicilian to be a brand!

However, the fashion of Sicily is also more than a brand; it is the brightest symbol of Sicily’s culture and tradition and the greatest witness of the identity of Sicily’s people.

Just for the aforementioned reasons, I decided to write a post to drag you to the wonderful world of the fashion made in Sicily. Read the subsequent paragraphs to know more.

Traditional Sicily fashion

In Sicily, the traditional fashion was made of clothes which were worn on the occasion of religious holidays or historical reenactments. Often, these local events gave rise to the so called Sicily street fashion. These ancient clothes are still used in small inland villages. However, some of these traditional clothes, such as the handkerchief on the head and the apron on the gown aren’t worn not even in their modern version, anymore. The traditional ladies and men’s fashion in Sicily consisted of several clothes made with shapes, materials and different colors. Furthermore, traditional clothes for the daily life were different from the ones for holidays. I explained these differences in the paragraphs below.

Traditional Sicily women’s clothing

Traditional Sicily women’s clothing

The typical Sicilian women’s clothing was made of:

  • the fadedda, a linen, cotton or lame long skirt slipping up to the feet, fastened with a waist belt and enriched by a petticoat,
  • jippuni, a heavy blouse made with the same fabric of the fadedda,
  • a coloured handkerchief put on the shoulders and pinned on the breast,
  • apron,
  • azur socks,
  • black shoes,
  • a cloth on the head.

Depending on the zones of Sicily, some women wore the so called cativellu or l’amuscinu, in Sicilian. It was a black handkerchief put on the head and dropping up to over the knees.

In other zones of Sicily, this clothing was also known as traditional Sicilian shawl, also called “a sciallina”, in the Sicilian language. Before becoming a top rated item of Sicily fashion, this suit was used in the winter by old women and by the ones who was about to age. The shawl marked a sort of sunset of the feminine charm, in the past centuries. In a particular way, the traditional black shawl was worn by Sicilian women during funerals.

crochet shawl

Truth to tell, Sicily women always were black dressed from the head to the feet to mourn their deceased ones. That way of dressing was used to exhibit their grief in front of others. Today, shawl is one of the most demanded symbols of women’s Sicily fashion. Just think that I have a wonderful wool black shawl I also wear in the winter over colored evening dresses. I am not a Sicily fashion blogger, but as a Sicilian woman, I love wearing Sicily fashion items.

After the 1950s, the Sicilian shawl became a symbol of feminine seduction and charm, thanks to stunning colored and creative models, not only in wool, but also in cotton thread and lace. Sicily lace deserves a post aside, because its story is as ancient as the one of Sicily’s fashion is. Sicily shawl can also be crocheted. That is another unmissable cloth in your wardrobe. Lace and crochet shawls are the most refined clothing that a woman can wear to boost her femininity and get sexy and seductive.

Sicily lace

The Sicilian shawl is handsewed through the forgotten arts of embroidery and crocheting. Today, it is hard to find embroiderers in Sicily. Maybe, you can still find old Sicilian embroiderers in the small villages of the provinces of Palermo, Catania or in the secluded villages in the province of Enna, such as Agira. Lace is often the final decoration of a dress made with another fabric, such as silk or organza. This decoration needs a challenging work of embroidery with needle and wire to develop a perfect trim on a dress.

For this reason, black lace refined dresses are suitable for evening, while refined white lace dresses are suitable for wedding. Crochet shawl is instead one-piece clothing made with crochet cotton thread. You can wear this fashion item on your shoulders to embellish your evening dress. This type of clothing is still a trendy item of the modern Sicily fashion. Often, it is not so easy to find wonderful models of Sicilian shawls. Fortunately, I found this online shop, where you’ll be able to buy this marvelous symbol of Sicily fashion.

The crochet shawl are made in other European countries, because, as I already said, crocheting is a lost art in Sicily, by now. You can still find Sicilian artisans for another traditional fashion item, namely Sicily scarf. That is a cloth made of silk by true Sicilian artisans who still live and work in my beloved island.

The Sicilian scarf, also called foulard or “u fazzulettu”, in Sicilian, is handmade in pure silk and painted with showy colours and traditional scenes of Sicily, such as lemons, Sicilian carretto and prickly pears (see the image above). I have two of them: one depicted with lemons and another black one with glitters. The Sicilian silk scarf is usually wrapped around the neck in the mild season, forming a perfect accessory for every occasion, by day and by night. It can also be worn over the shoulders as a shawl. You can buy original silk scarfs, made in Sicily, on this online shop.

Modern Sicilian women’s fashion

Today, Sicily women’s fashion mantains the same traditional style, but with a more modern charm. The Sicilian dresses, for instance, are silky, soft, long or short, very colorlful and with the traditional Sicilian themes. You can buy one of them on an online shop called Orchidea dell’Etna. The shop is located in Taormina and, thanks to the power of the Internet, sells customized women’s dresses with a Sicilian style all over the world. When you contact the owner, you must provide her your sizes and the kind of fabric you want in order to get a beautiful handmande Sicilian dress.

Traditional Sicily men’s clothing

The traditional men’s clothes were also different upon the various occasions of life. The simplest suit was the one of peasants, because made with the so called vrachi (short trousers) made of goat leather; also the male blouse was always made with goat leather, because was more resistant and waterproof. The traditional Sicily men’s fashion also included fur shoes, the so called shoes of “pilu”, covered with a piece of leather on the tip. These shoes were used by farmers and peasants during the long working hours in the fields, because they needed to keep their feet warm and protected from winter cold.

The other symbols of traditional Sicily fashion for men were:

  • velvet trousers, closely fastened with belt on the knees and opened on the sides instead of the front,
  • an azur and green waist belt, usually made of fabric,
  • the so called panzera, namely a waistcoat with brass bottons,
  • the jippuni, a black velvet jacket with many pockets,
  • the unforgettable coppola, made of black fabric for workers, brown fabric for farmers and azur fabric for sailors.

Another symbol of traditional Sicily fashion for men was the pompom, used as a tie by peasants.

Today, also the items for Sicily men are in high demand, especially velvet trousers, shirts and velvet jackets.

While some clothes were abandoned and forgotten, some items went through the centuries to shape the unique Sicily’s fashion style launched by famous designers but also by other Italian fashion companies, such as Imperial, which has seats in the North of Italy and in Agrigento and Messina, in Sicily. That is the first made in Italy brand which sells stunning clothing with the prices of an outlet.

Sicily fashion accessories – crochet Sicily bag

crochet Sicily bag

As said at the beginning of this post, Sicily fashion also includes accessories such as caps, shoes, bags and jewels. Among these items, there is also an extremely delicious one to wear in every occasion, namely Crochet Sicily bag. This fashion item, also called Sicily bag uncinetto, is a women’s bag finished with another forgotten Sicilian art I already mentioned: crocheting. Through crocheting, which must be performed with a particular needle, the bag is decorated with shiny cotton fabric and turned into a luxury accessory. This women’s bag has been designed by Dolce and Gabbana and is very expensive. If you buy this item by an unknown designer, you can buy it at a lower and affordable price. You can do the purchase on the online shop of Italian bag designer Chiara Zuzolo. She is not famous as Dolce and Gabbana, but her crochet bags are wonderful and perfectly handmade. The shop is named ZouZoulab.

If you look for a Sicilian fashion designer, I advise that you buy your favourite items on the online shop of Andreina Pecoraro. She is a Sicilian fashion designer who lives in Corleone and creates handmade and stunning jewels, coffa bags and crochet fashion items at a very affordable price: from 20 to 50 euros, only.


After this wonderful parade of brilliant fashion items, I can only tell you to buy and enjoy all of these symbols of Sicily fashion, because, in my island, fashion is the token of a timeless tradition.


Dolce & Gabbana campaign 2014


12 thoughts on “The wonderful world of Sicily fashion

  1. Pingback: The Sicilian style by the two Italian fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana | SICILY ON WEB

  2. giovanni musso

    Hi Rosalba,
    I wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your passionate stories about all things Sicilian. As a second generation, proud Sicilian it is encouraging to read such love and passion about the land of my blood heritage.
    However please do not forget to tell the women of Sicilia how proud of them we really are as they are the backbone of this beautiful Island.
    There is no shame in being a stay at home mum. My mother will always in my heart and I will always be grateful for the sacrifices she made for her children. I think every Sicilian man would agree. Motherhood is also a privilege. Without strong parenting the family breaks down as is well documented in the more affluent parts of the world. La famiglia is something to be cherished, and is envied in many parts of the world.
    I wish you every success in the future. And let’s hope one day Sicily will have well paid jobs for all and sees its real potential. Sicily as it has all the resources it needs except one, the leadership and political will to stand up and be counted.

    1. Rosalba Mancuso

      Hi Giovanni, thanks for appreciating my Sicilian things. As regards your opinion about motherood and the traditional role of women in Sicily and in the world, there would be many things to say. I am proud that women made big steps forward over their life. Yes, home-stay is helpful, but non only for women, also for men. In Sicily, the traditional role of women doomed them to an eternal submission and enslavement to serve their men! Equalitarism is the great achievement of Sicilian women and I really hope that Sicily will offer them all the job opportunities they deserve. By the way, I would like you to read back the history of Sicily women to better known what they endured. Thanks again for your kind appreciation.

  3. Pingback: Sicily women, their history and their courage – SICILY ON WEB

  4. Pingback: All the truth about Sicilian shoes – SICILY ON WEB

  5. Janet

    We need more authentic Sicilian restaurants and women’s boutiques in America, esp Denver, Colorado , please!
    We need more Italian and Sicilian specialty products in Denver, too. We need Italian perfumes, soaps, kitchen ware, dishes and wines, perfumes and jewelry affordable to everyone!

    1. Janet

      And the Sicilian donkey carts should be made in Sicily.
      We need street food trucks here in America with arranci and panelle and gelatos to go. Not just NY or San Francisco.

      We need them just like in Palermo.

    2. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

      Hi Janet,
      I discussed about many Sicilian products in my posts (even about the ones you mentioned in your comments).
      They are often linked to online shops managed by Sicilians.
      Indeed, many Americans buy these Sicilian products on this blog.
      That is my personal contribution to bring Sicily to the entire world, not only to the United States.
      I’ll always do my best to add new Sicilian products to my posts so that people can buy them everywhere they are.

  6. Joanna

    Hi! I am doing research for a historical fiction novel and am looking for traditional Sicilian dress (or anything Sicilian culture!) around the mid 17th century. Any tips on where to look? What time period is the traditional dress from in your blog post?

    1. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

      Hi Joanna, the traditional Sicilian dresses are timeless.
      The most picturesque clothes were the ones of peasants described in the post.
      These dresses were used in the epoch of your novel, as well.
      The clothes of noble Sicilians, instead, are like the ones you find in the movie Il Gattopardo, based on the namesake
      novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. You’ll find many of these images in the searh I did for you: For more information, you can reach Leandro Di Maio, who published a research on the history of Sicilian clothing:

  7. Melanie

    Hello Rosalba,
    My heritage is Sicilian. I am so interested to learn more and very possibly come some day for a visit. My great grandmother left her home in Sicily when she was a young woman. The story goes she was in love with someone and had to break it off and marry someone else. This has intrigued me. So much of their lives were left unsaid. My grandmother would say she didn’t remember much!
    The woman in our family are brave and very colorful. And we all steuggle with circulation and keeping warm. I have read that can be a Sisilian trait. I have so many questions, lol.
    I enjoyed learning more about your fashion! 🙂

    1. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

      Hi Melanie,
      Thank you so much for sharing your family history with me.
      It perfectly describes what happened to Sicily women long ago.
      Also thanks for appreciating my article. As regards the courage of our Sicilian grandmothers, you can read this piece: Surely, you’ll find many answers to your questions in it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.