Continuing the apparently frivolous but actually very serious question, "what's a girl to wear?" I window-shopped my way back home from the Via Veneto area today and this is what I learned.
That is this winter's color. You have to flaunt something grey, or you will find yourself feeling just so ever slightly out of step with all those "put-together" Italian women strolling down the cobblestones in their high heels. Purple and Bordeaux are also good,
and even a kind of Valentino red. Instead, I didn't see much of that rust color that was everywhere last year. Luckily, I have a bit of grey and Bordeaux around to pull out from exile in the depths of "cambio stagione."
At the end of her book, Mother Tongue,An American Life in Italy, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi describes this aspect of Italian life (dated 1997),
"The windows of the shops are filled with the beige and white, taupe and black clothes that have been declared in fashion. The pale desert look is put on dutifully by the old and young, the frail and fat, with an effect that shows in the center of town (note: Parma). Everyone is in the group, looking as if a glamorous safari of wealthy people from the 1920s had strayed into town......Ask in a shop for red, and a young girl will put you in your place. "No one is wearing bright colors this year. Not here." A woman who runs her own shop told me that she would like to carry light colors but she doesn't wish to insult anyone....I asked, "Why don't you just offer some bright sweaters if you like them?" Her reply: "Who am I to do that? Who am I to question the designers? I am no one."
So, we all wear what fashion dictates, or feel a bit shabby and out of place. A few years ago it was long black quilted down coats, this year it is grey wool short ones instead.
The rules are set, si fa e non si fa, I follow.