5 Wardrobe Updates for Spring (and Summer)

5.5_5 Spring Wardrobe Update

It’s getting hot in here!  So take off all your clothes.  Seriously.  Romans.  At least take off SOME of your clothes.  Temps are pushing 80.  Today, I was wearing a sleeveless top.  Most of the people I passed were wearing sweaters or coats.  NO JOKE.

Even if Romans aren’t ready to admit that spring is really here, I’m fully embracing it.  You know I like a streamlined closet, but here are five additions I’ve recently added to bring the spring fun.

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My fall fashion wish list

Ya’ll, it’s fall!  This time around last year, I was just incredulous about the amount of layers everyone is wearing.  Yes, there is a hint of a chill.  No, we do not need to break out the puffy coats.

I also started to realize how delicious fall in Italy is.  Porcini Mushrooms.  Artichokes.  Wild boar.  Truffles.  It is a tasty season, indeed.

Unfortunately, fall also brings more rain.  Booo.

But other than the rain, this time around, I’m really enjoying the season.  I’ve done things like throw on a scarf and boots with my tank and shorts to show the Italians that I tried to acknowledge the change in date if not in temperature.  And you KNOW I’ve been eating.

I’ve been meaning to talk more about wardrobing here generally.  Yes, I have strayed from just one shirt, but I’ve devised a new uniform of sorts.  (It is basically all gray, all the time, with splashes of crazy.)  I have made some purchases, and I’m hoping to do a roundup of wardrobe additions at some point.  But this sounds big and intimidating so it might not happen.  But know that I totally want it to.  But also know that just willing things to happen seldom works for anything ever.  I’ve tried.

Anywho, I’ve made some additions I’m quite happy with.  But after assessing my wardrobe, there are a few pieces that I’d love to welcome to the proverbial closet fold for fall (and beyond).

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Style This Challenge: Sequin Diaper

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to discuss a pressing fashion emergency.  The Mom Edit points out a pretty neat sale at French Connection: 50% off already reduced items with the code 50Sale.

Not bad, right?   Even though I’m pretty set on my shirts, I decided to poke around.  Plenty of cute stuff, the sort of edgy basics that I like.

But then I stumbled on this:

That’s right.  I can only describe this as a sequined diaper.  French Connection calls it the “Cosmic Sparkle Short.”  I will agree, they are definitely far out.  Out of this world.  From another planet.  OK, I’ll stop.

But seriously, when would you wear these?  How would you wear these?  Even pretending I was a fabulous young thing and not a mother of two–even one who loves her some skinny jeans, what situations in my life would make me think, “you know what would really work here?  My sequin diaper.”

French Connection suggests to “Channel a vintage gymnast look and pair our sequinned Cosmic Sparkle Hot Pants with woolly tights and a fluffy knit.”  I guess it would have to be a short fluffy knit so you could still see the using-this-term-loosely “shorts.”

Maybe these could look edgy under a sheer dress?  Even with tights under, I just have a hard time picturing them standing alone.  Remember the epidemic of “whoops, she forgot her pants” in Hollywood?  I feel like–for better or for worse–leggings as pants are now more accepted.  I haven’t seen as much pearl clutching on this one.  But I have not see sequin diaper as pants being an accepted phenomenon.  Is this a bridge too far?

I love that fashion feels more fun now.  I don’t know if it is style bloggers or cheaper fashion or what, but it seems like things that used to be completely fashion verboten are now complete non-issues.  It feels admittedly silly to type this, but growing up I used to be physically pained at the idea of mixing black and brown.  I once saw a black and brown and navy dress and thought it was one of the most awful things I had ever seen.  Now I wear a camel colored purse every day without even glancing at my (probably black) shoes because they both are just neutrals.  Why wouldn’t they go together?  You know what else I now consider neutrals?  Camouflage.  Stripes.  Floral.  We all have our sartorial threshold, but you have to admit fashion is just more fun now, right?

Fun enough for a sequin diaper?  I guess we shall see.  I couldn’t rock this one, but if you are fabulous enough to do so, I say more power to ya!  (Could you please direct me to your instagram feed?  I imagine you must have photos there of you, stroking a liger, sipping flaming martinis, on a yacht that is circling someone’s private island.)  I have found myself eying sequin leggings recently.  If sequin diapers catch on, sequin leggings will be totally accepted daily momwear, right?

Would you sequin diaper?  If forced to wear a sequin diaper, how would you style it?  Do you agree that fashion is more fun than the shoes-match-purse feelings of yore?

The height of fanciness . . . let’s talk utility vests

Once upon a time when talking about Roman fashion, I promised you more on what you really wanted.  You’ve been patient.  And now the wait is over, my friends.  That’s right, it is time to talk utility vests, the wardrobe essential for Roman men of a certain age.  Or any age really.  Because when asking yourself whether your outfit would be better if you added a utility vest, I hope the answer is always a resounding heck YES.

James collected all of these photos on a single commute.  Not a to-the-office-and-back-commute.  Just on a one way trip.  Granted, the photography leaves something to be desired, but when you are asking your husband to pap random Italian dudes with a cellphone, you take what you can get.  (Thank you, James.  Mmmmwah!)

So let’s get to it.  But why the birds you ask?  Or you will ask once you see these amazeballs utility-vests-in-the-wild photos.  I put a bird on it to protect the fabulous.  #putabirdonit  (I admit that pixelated faces would have been way cooler, but my photo editing skillz are only so advanced.)

Exhibit A.  Here, we have a pretty standard example of the utility vest.  Sleeveless.  Many pockets.  Probably for handkerchiefs and Parmesan.  Or whatever it is Italian dudes carry around with them.

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Exhibit B.  Did I make you look twice?  Yes, that is a different dude.  But don’t think that all utility vests have to be dark.  You can have fun with color!

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Like sand!

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Or even red!  This is actually the only red vest I’ve ever seen.  Maybe because this gent is of a much younger demographic than most utility vest wearers.  At age 40, you probably have to hand in all of your brightly colored vests.

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Here’s another youngin.  As you can see, it is never too early to vest up.

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I adore the quilting on this one.  (This is 100% not sarcastic.  I’ve been seeing some really cool quilted puffer coats as well.)  So it is good to know that you have both everyday vest and dressy vest options.  #dressyvest

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I only barely edited this photo.  That dude is killing it from a street style perspective.

And thus concludes this utility vest roundup.  The next time you’re in Rome, don’t be surprised that many of the men look like they are about to go fishing.  I’m dying to know how this became a fashion staple.  Where do they find them?  I’ve never actually seen one in stores.  And do you have one vest or a whole closet of vests for all occasions?  Inquiring minds need to know!!

#vestupson #vestlife #vestsFTW

All the rage in Milan, I mean Rome

Let’s talk fashion.  Style.  What the Romans are wearing day to day.  But first, let me acknowledge that this post would be infinitely better if it was filled with pictures of actual Romans.  I get that.  But originally this post was going to have no pictures.  I didn’t want to stealth photo anybody, and I didn’t see interactions to ask for a pic going well.  (Besides the fact that I generally have hands full of stroller navigating 45 degree angled sidewalks which does not make it easy to quickly pap someone.)

But then I had the “brilliant” idea of at least photographing shop windows.  And asking James to stealth photo people.  (You’ll see; James stalked A LOT of dudes for this post.  I think I’ll actually make that a whole separate post.  I know.  The suspense is killing you.)  So there is glare, but let there be photos!

I like to pretend that James was hiding in the bush to take this picture

I like to pretend that James was hiding in the bush to take this picture

So with that out of the way here are some generalizations about fashion I’ve seen during my two months in Rome.  I would not say this goes for the rest of Italy, or even the other side of the city.

If I had to pick one word for Roman style it would be deliberate.  An outfit may not be my exact cup of tea, but everything looks like it is selected purposefully.  People have really embraced Stacy London’s “completer piece.”  There is usually something–a jacket, cardigan, scarf, or necklace–that ties everything together and makes it look even more deliberate.

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In Rome, people dress the seasons and not the weather.  (This did not seem to be the case at Hadrian’s Villa where it seemed to be acknowledged that wearing a jacket in 85 degree weather is ridiculous.)  Temps are finally cooling, but once mid-September hit, it was all jackets, scarves, and boots all the time.  Even when it was in the 80s.  Strangely, people do not seem to be uncomfortable.  Good for them.  I’d love to know the secret.  Probably something obvious like “be from a Mediterranean climate.”

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The print on this dress. I die!

Clothing pieces seem to be a little more special.  I think this contributes to the deliberate look that is put together.  I’ve noticed pieces with drape, asymmetry, extra zippers, bits of leather, or pockets that just give that little bit of pizzazz.

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For men, styles are generally tighter.  Pants and tops.  I see collars–polo or button-up–more often than not.  When no collar, a large amount of message or graphic tees.  I’ve seen this on both sexes but more for men: a sweater over the shoulders is a prevalent fall look.  Men of all ages wear scarves.

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Men of a certain age almost universally wear utility vests.  I’d like to know how this comes about that these men look ready to go fishing or sweep streets.  Do they hand them out at your retirement party?  “Ah, finalmente, I have space for my keys and tissues!”

But really, what do they put in all those pockets?  I saw a man with a utility vest AND a man bag once.  His umbrella didn’t fit, I guess?

I’m looking forward to seeing how utility vests are styled as it gets colder.  I saw a man with a windbreaker OVER his vest the other day.  Which seemed odd, but after greater inspection, makes sense because then you can take off the windbreaker.  And stuff it in one of your utility vest pockets.  I am also seeing some jackets that look like utility vests with sleeves.  Stay tuned!

Blurry, but an excellent representation of the vest.  Many more vest pics to come.

Blurry, but an excellent representation of the vest. Many more vest pics to come.

On women, styles are both tighter and looser.  They like to play with proportion.  I have seen some amazing harem and parachute pants that would make Princess Jasmine envious.

I'm also seeing 3/4 length sleeved puffer coats.  Sadly not pictured.

I’m also seeing 3/4 length sleeved puffer coats. Sadly not pictured.

Women of all ages have great style.  A friend described what they call the “fashion mullet” aka seeing someone who appears very young from the back based on their outfit, but is much older when turning around.  I haven’t noticed this as much, but maybe just because I want to be wearing tight pants and camo when I’m 80.  I saw a grandmother wearing a sheer shirt once, but she was definitely pulling it off.

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Romans do not wear hats.  (Other than moto helmets.)  I noticed because James usually wears baseball caps, and I was hunting for an Italian alternative.  There is not one.  This is true even for kids.  When Henry wears his hats, it means I can pick him out from across the playground.  If you see someone with a hat, this is a likely indication they are a tourist.

Do not be fooled by the hat the mannequin is holding.  No one will buy it.

Do not be fooled by the hat the mannequin is holding. No one will buy it.

Or you can look at their shoes.  I have seen some fabulous shoes here.  Generally not on tourists who go for comfort above all else.  I have seen plenty of women in sky high heels and wonder how they navigate the city.  But I’ve seen other shoes that look more comfortable but still interesting.  There are plenty of boots out there now, natch.  See earlier statement about fall.

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More often than not, outfits are accessorized with a cigarette.  I truly don’t care if you smoke, but it is a peeve of mine when people walk down the sidewalk smoking.  It just makes it impossible to dodge.

I’m probably (definitely) deluding myself, but I don’t think I stick out that badly.  I like tight pants.  I’m not wearing tennis shoes.  I like jackets.  Just not in 80 degree weather.  But my pasty complexion will give me away every time.