OK friends,since being on the blogosphere (which has only been for less than 1 year) I am “intrigued” perhaps at times a little “astounded” by the number of blogs and books about emulating the French style of dressing (OK, before you go off the deep end, let me explain).
I love reading and following these blogs, but on the other hand I just don’t “get it”. Why? I am European (I am from the UK) and have lived in both France and Italy for short periods of time, and now live in Spain,therefore I should “get it”. But for me, I have to say when it comes to dressing and style, the Italians win hands down.
If you have read any of the books about dressing in the French way (and there are many), I have personally found them very formulaic and predictable. Nearly always the formula for “French chic” includes at least one of the following items:
*flat pumps or loafers
All very nice but predictable.
However, if you go and sit in any piazza in Rome or Milan, what you will see is a cacophony of style and glamour, but none of it predictable. Gorgeous cut clothes, killer heels, designer sunglasses, lustrous hair blowing in the breeze all while zooming around on their Vespas or strolling around the city.
Caught shopping in Milan
One thing I’ve learned in particular is that when it comes to Italian women and fashion, it’s all about "la bella figura";making a beautiful impression. This expression is a way of life for women in Italy, adhered to like a religion, no matter if they are at work, at home, or on vacation.
It’s not hard to fulfill this unwritten religious obligation in a country that has given the world such brand name fashions as Ferragamo, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, and more. With so many high-end labels at their fingertips, Italian women have elevated fashion to a new level, almost to an international art form that many other nationalities aspire to duplicate.
Altho' not all Italian women can afford a full designer wardrobe, what they usually always splurge on is designer accessories; bags, shoes, jewellery etc.
Never underestimate the power of Gucci sunglasses!
I have both French and Italian girlfriends. If I am meeting a French friend, I can more or less guess what she will be wearing (in terms of style). If I meet with one of my Italian girlfriends, I never know what she will be wearing, and it will always have the “wow” factor. By “wow-factor” I don’t mean over-the-top, in a cocktail/frou-frou kind of way. I mean “Wow, how can she look so damn good just wearing jeans, a t’shirt and a butter soft leather jacket with matching bag, and not a Hermés scarf in sight?” My Italian friends never fail to astound me with their style.
Elisabetta Canalis aka George Clooney's arm-candy
And perhaps “there’s the rub” (as my good friend Shakespeare would say); because the Italian style is so unpredictable, personal, glamorous and authentic, there are no books written about Italian style, because it is something that cannot be prescribed. On the other hand, the French style can be easily prescribed and replicated, therefore losing it’s authenticity.
This is written principally about the style of women, let's not even start about Italian men!!! Even my husband was astounded by their style as we sat at a coffee shop, people watching in Milan.
I am sure there will be many of you who disagree with me, and that’s fine. Whatever your thoughts, I would love as always to hear them.
(Images courtesy of Grazia)