“I like your choker is that a horse-bit?” a friend asked me at a tea party,
“Yes! This is what’s left of a pair of Gucci black patent-leather loafers that my mom wore to threads.”
I remember them as a pre-teen, they were my mom’s expensive shoes, the ones that you love and keep finding any occasion appropriate to wear them: they were too big for me and they were black and girls don’t wear black, you know, but I would play with them in the house. They were impeccably kept, as any other pair of shoes back home. There was at least one Saturday morning every month when all the shoes were out lined-up to be polished. We had few pairs which would last forever for two main reasons: good quality and care.
In truth, there’s more that doesn’t meet the eye.
The Italian way is not about mindless consumption or retail therapy, we have never been like that. History and a couple of wars made us keepers, scarcity made us frugal, poverty made us simple and appreciative of the good things.
Why is that though that Italian style is considered expensive? You make do with what you have, but always remember to keep your dignity high and show respect for others by going for the best you have, whether it’s a suit or bone china for an afternoon coffee.
Buy few (or fewer) but shoot for the highest quality you can afford. You don’t need to own 35 mediocre little black dresses and always show up with a different one, because there’s really nothing that you need to proof to anyone.
Quality vs. quantity.
Stay true to yourself, be confident in that one little black dress that makes you feel like a million dollar, you’ll automatically feel attached to it and make the money you have spent on it worth.
How to accomplish it?
Let’s pretend you have been invited to a summer wedding or the office holiday party.
If you want to do it the Italian way, you first search in your closet: it’s comfort, it’s confidence, it’s easier, less time consuming and stressful. It’s like farm to table, you know the seeds you have planted and you enjoy the fruits.
Slow fashion is like slow food, it’s all about taste: educate your palate as well as your sense of style, be curious, creative, unique. Because at the end when you talk about Italian style food is always involved, you indulge in a great al fresco dinner as well as in the process of buying that navy blue blazer you have been dreaming of or selecting the fabric of your new shirt.
Finally, we don’t do cheap: fast food is as bad as fast fashion, because as the saying goes “garbage in garbage out”.
Plan, strategize, prioritize, edit, fix, modify, re-use and know what you are worth.
Challenge: do an approximate calculation of all last year’s spur of the moment useless purchases and write the total amount in the comments. We’ll check what you could have bought instead that you would be a proud owner of.
I start to break the ice.
$570 worth of everything un-worth t-shirts, pants, sport gear, discounted shoes among other clutter
I could have bought instead:
1 pair of Gucci crossover slides or
1 Out Of Order watch or
2 Raison d’Etre bags,
1 made-to-order Calavida gold and stones rings and 1 pair of velvet Del Toro slippers
1 double breasted blazer, a pair of pants and a shirt by J.Crew
About the Author
My name is Francesca Belluomini and I was born in Viareggio, Italy in the bucolic region of Tuscany famous for Florence, where Marquis Emilio Pucci and Guccio Gucci were born. As I nomadically traveled the world, I continued to find joy in mixing everyday fashion, local market finds with those sartorial staple pieces that accompanied me everywhere. Indeed, having lived in cities where fashion happens, like Milan and London, has forged my knack for fashion. I believe that “a noteworthy moment cannot be mass-produced”, which is why styling takes place in an almost ritualistic, detailed manner. Soon it will all be in a book, The Cheat-Sheet of Italian Style a 10-step manual on how to wear your wardrobe the Italian way.