Italian Fashion: The Reality


“There are so many manifestations of pleasure in Italy, and I didn’t have time to sample them all. You have to kind of declare a pleasure major here, or you’ll get overwhelmed.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Rome was a lovely break from the stoic life of an overwhelmed SAHM of twins. I chose Italy as the place to spend my birthday and our 10th anniversary because I thought we needed an indulgent, slow, languorous place to nurture ourselves and fill our souls with joy and pleasure. Italy was the right choice for all of those things.

Gilbert is right. There are so many beautiful things Italians excel at and you can easily become a sightseeing machine, which would override the whole point of enjoying Italy’s charms. I chose to major in fashion and food. Darcy: history.

I have to say that the weather forecasts were pretty off. It was colder than predicted, and I didn’t pack enough warm clothes. I layered a lot adding unfortunate bulk in photos. Or maybe that was from all the spaghetti.


On my birthday, I dragged Darcy to the chic shops near the Spanish Steps. First up was Prada. Going inside the Prada boutique was like entering a rarified museum of couture: the pristine white walls, glossy racks and intricate shoes, coats and dresses were somewhat awe-inspiring. (As were the prices.) I saw a gorgeous full-length ivory silk dress and remarked to Darcy that here was a gown that could be worn at the Oscars. “I’m sure it will be,” he responded.


We stuck to the Italian shops, going to Gucci, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Tods, Ferragamo and Valentino. To see items in person that I have seen in magazines or on fashion bloggers was a kick. I saw these shoes in person and they looked absolutely lethal.

I loved Dolce & Gabbana, where the prices were even more fearsome than Prada, but the overall atmosphere was so Italian: full of lace, corset dresses and chic sunglasses. I seriously considered buying a leopard print bag, but sticker shock put me off.


I do consider handbags (and shoes to a lesser extent) good buys. I don’t love jewelry (most doesn’t look good on me, even if I think the above Bulgari necklace is pretty fantastic) but an excellent classic handbag is something I can pass down to my daughter and would consider an investment. So I looked at the bags seriously.

After checking out the HIGH fashion, we went to a more realistically priced shopping area where I picked up a cheap faux fur turban. I thought it was rather fabulous, but mostly it kept me warm.


EVERYONE was wearing a coat like this, by the way. It was quite possibly the definitive fashion item of Italy. Honestly, I wish I had brought one. It would have cut the chill significantly!

Do you “major” in one area when you visit a place? If so, what is it?


Filed under Design, personal style

10 responses to “Italian Fashion: The Reality

  1. memories, oh the memories!

    you look wonderful, not bulky 🙂

  2. Love the pic of you in front of the Prada store — looks like something you’d see in a magazine. 🙂 Glad you had a good time.

  3. leaving no place unwalked (and unphotographed) in quaint downtown areas

  4. I major in food (no surprise there). But: we haven’t been anywhere in a long time, so maybe I have a double major I don’t know about. 😉 Love the cozy hat!

  5. You look like a work of art. Truly. All your pix are stunning, but my faves are the ones of you.

  6. Ciao bella, indeed! You look just stunning. I can’t wait to see more pics from your trip!

  7. That sparkly closed-toe shoe? WANT IT! Beautiful! I’m usually a history buff when I go to Europe. Sadly, I’m a royal history buff, so if the country doesn’t have some sort of royal history and jewels, I don’t want to go :-/ However, when we went to Paris in 2004, I do have a picture of the Chanel store. I didn’t go inside (why torture myself?), but I couldn’t go to Paris and not take a picture for me and my friend Amber. I like food too, so I’m looking forward to your food post!

  8. Pingback: New Years Musings | Too Many Fish to Fry

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