Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s internet friends, the Rondi, has asked the Manolo the question.
Happy Sunday to the Manolo!
I have a serious question for you. I have won a scholarship to study in Italy and will be spending time in Umbria in September. Naturally, I would like to avoid looking like a dorky tourist and having Italians mock me. Can you give me some advice on what to pack? I am planning to bring a good deal of black
(including black ballerina flats) but I also would like to bring my white jeans. Italians celebrate their Labour Day on May 1st, I believe, so I doubt they have a “no white after Labour Day” hang-up as do North Americans. That said, I am concerned they might look down their Roman noses at white jeans in September, or that said white jeans will cause the locals to shun me.
Please advise, both on the matter of the white jeans and in regards what to bring in general.
Your loyal fan and friend from the internets,
It has been the while since the Manolo has been in Umbria, so he turned to another of his internet friends, the Judith who lives in Umbria, for help with this question.
Here is her most informative and helpful answer.
Italians wear white everything all year if they please. I do have reservations about the jeans. It is often too hot to wear jeans until Octoberish. In addition, jeans take forever to dry and of course white jeans would need a lot of washing.
My younger friends will be wearing light dresses with added cardigans for evening and the ballet flats would look terrific with that, but may not protect your feet adequately from the relentless stone and cobble pavements. You can be sure that many Italian girls will be wearing ludicrously high heels and walking along the stone like little donkeys. It’s genetic. Those of us with a little more maturity on our bones will be wearing light weight linen pants, often black in autumn, sometimes with drawstring waists. Heat and pasta do require a bit of flexibility at least in attitude and sometimes in waist bands. Those of a lower rung on the ladder of aspirations may very well be wearing polyester knit trousers, but you won’t notice that much unless they are too tight, which is a reach in this land of the painted-on pant.
Italian girls accessorize, so doing layers works for the look and for the awkward difference between Hades at noon and Scotland at night. Scarves, gauzey sweaters, netted vests, all help disguise the fact that years of financial crisis have made cheap clothes common and necessary. When the right girls get them on and adjusted and knotted just right, they look splendid.
Cowboy boots have not died the death they deserved as summer shoes. They do look cute with summer dresses but whew!
More than anything, a confidence, a swish and an eye for the dramatic really work here. Carrie Bradshaw learned everything she knew from Italian girls.
And now you must go visit the Judith’s website, she will teach you how to cook like the real Italian
As for the shoes, the Manolo is at the moment partial to the Maria Sharipova’s Bacara Ballet Flats from the Cole Haan.
They are available in six colors, and are reportedly comfortable for the walking, practical, and sufficiently good looking so as to satisfy the Rondi’s Umbrian needs.