October 24, 2007

Fashion rules

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.

a domani,


Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita said...

I have that long black quilted down coat.The thing is, I bought it last year. Now, I thought I was just one year out of step but it is really 2?? Mama mia! :)

sognatrice said...

Gah! I was going to buy a short grey coat at the end of last season and at the last minute decided against it...although recently at least I did opt for grey in a warm-up suit type thingee like the one in the window (and I almost always wear it with something in the red family underneath).

Who knew I was in style? Sort of?

Pretty coat!

Anonymous said...

When I came to Rome decades ago, the first thing that impressed me regarding fashion was the fact that older Italian women never wore pants, but skirts or dresses. The second, that they always wore darker, softer colors: somber if indicative of mourning, elegant otherwise. I then thought: How exquisitely graceful it seems to slowly become an older woman in this culture.

Today? Notwithstanding the changes in style, I still feel a woman can age beautifully here, in quieter tones.

Grey is a beautiful and elegant color. I accept it as an intelligent suggestion, not as a fashion rule.


KC said...

The coat in the last photo is lovely. I'm glad to hear that grey is stylish now, I tend to be a somber dresser, so it's never lacking in my wardrobe.

I like living in my country town where fashion is less important that it is in the cities. I do like beautiful, elegant clothing, but I'm not much of a follower. Here I feel less pressure to look like everyone else. (And that is very good for my finances!)