8 Dec 2009

Italians Do It Better

Well, so said Madonna in a t-shirt quote that I have applied to this bella post about Italian style. Now, obviously I have no idea what she could mean, however, having just returned from a trip to beautiful Rome I can guess that the queen of pop reinvention is referring to the sexy, elegant way in which the Italians dress.

Whilst I was sauntering around sunny Rome doing my best not to get lost or make too many stops for coffee and ice cream (failed miserably), I spotted an overwhelming amount of stylish dressers, especially in Piazza del Popolo and Campo dei Fiori, both of which are bohemian parts of the city where the locals like to people watch, an excellent past time! Feigning trend spotting in the face of utter nosiness on my part there were indeed a few key elements of Italian style that I identified.

Not just for the cast of Top Gun, the Italians bloody love their shades, and aviators seemed to be the most popular choice at this time of year. The large frames and dark tint of this eyewear is practical for low winter sunshine, but retro aviators are also a fast and affordable way to add character to an outfit, especially if you are covered up in chunky knitwear that makes you resemble David Soul in Starsky and Hutch.

Slick Knits
As the days get chillier, even the image conscious Italians have to admit defeat in their outfit choices and reach for the knitwear, although, it has to be said, they wear it better than anyone else! Not for them the thick, cable knit desperation of impulse buys when you have to accept that, actually, your lips are blue from frostbite rather than from the latest lipstick from Mac. Italians plump for light and luxurious sweaters that I expect are heavily layered (H&M or Topshop’s knitwear is pretty respectable at the moment) but which still manages to give them the elegant silhouette they crave, and even when they do grab a chunky knit they are clever enough to offset it with the next point on my list…

Tight denim
Sadly this did not seem to include double denim in Rome (sorry Vanity) but it definitely did see hotties in slim-fitting, tush-loving designer jeans, often in a lighter wash than we would choose at this time of year here in Blighty. The tightness of the denim adds the necessary sex to Italian style, highlighting a booty made beautiful by oodles of pasta prepared by mama. Italian men seem to go for this option too, with straight leg styles rather than baggy, mishapen jeans that have a casual effect that they would never consider. Please note that these jeans are sleek and sophisticated with careful stitching that is sometimes hard to find on the high street, however, it must be said that Oasis jeans always look a lot more expensive than they are and fit very nicely.

The finishing touch to a great pair of jeans is an elegant or rocking pair of boots, preferably knee high, though there was a definite leaning towards funky ankle styles in the younger generation. The Italians take their leather very seriously, and as a result the quality of the footwear in Rome was some of the best that I have ever seen, and when a fab pair of jeans is tucked in to the tops of such boots you can really appreciate the shape and styling of the designs. I saw boots in all manner of colours on my trek around the city, with the most exciting shades being a midnight blue and deep green, but the Italians continue to favour the same warm, neutral tones that they have been associated with for perhaps the past three decades, and it really does suit their natural tastes. For a cheap version New Look always come up trumps for well styled footwear, but if you don't mind paying out a little bit more I would check out Next or River Island.

Ciao bella!
Apollonia Gish x

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