OotD: Mixing Prints and Textures (Last Week*)

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So my excuse for not having posted until recently is that I’ve been balancing school and going out and attempting to get the full experience of the beautiful city of Florence. It’s really something, although I must say it is a little stressful that shopping here, whether it’s for groceries every week or a new poncho when the market booth owner is extremely persistent, is a bank-breaker. Factor in rent and my desire to go visit other cities and countries, and… well, I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it. Let’s get back to fashion, shall we? I’ve recently seen a few… shall we say, daring outfits on the street that I just have to share with you because they’re completely questionable.

When I was going out one night to the clubs with some of my girl friends, as I was walking to their place I felt rather self-conscious, in a bodycon skirt from H&M, a black lace-lined tanktop, and a black sweater. Fortunately for me, I came across a girl wearing tights as pants, so I felt much better. That wasn’t the most unsettling fashion blemish Florence had to offer. The next day, on the way to the Ferragamo museum for my History of 20th Century Fashion class, we happened to walk past the most fashion-confused old woman I’ve ever seen. She was sporting a very tight yellow dress, topped by a dark fur vest… but the worst part? Her legs were encased in white fishnet tights. With flames around the ankles. Seriously?! I apologize, but honestly most elder Italian women know how to dress their age and still look classy, so this was a very jarring vision.

The next day, my friend and I were very brightly dressed, and we thought that we might stand out a lot compared to the more minimalist and neutral-color stylings of typical Florentines. We were wrong; we happened upon a woman wearing a striped sweater and black-and-white camouflage pants. I couldn’t even. She beat us. I was done with fashion searching for the rest of the week. Fortunately the visit to the Ferragamo museum and walking along “designer street” on Via Tornabuoni restored my faith in Florence, and I can go on blogging happily.

I had the fortune of purchasing the jacket above at the Santo Spirito market near my street for only 10 euro. It’s been really lovely as an in between for my military jacket and my wool winter coat, and it’s also fairly durable in the rain. The houndstooth skirt was a gift from one of my best friends for my last birthday, and I love how versatile it is; you can really wear it with any color and add on accessories to change it from preppy to rocker or any style in between. The shirt is from Forever 21, and I love how soft the material is and how flattering the color is against my skin tone. Tights were a must because the rain and the weather hadn’t improved until recently. The scarf adds a little sparkle to the outfit, while matching colors with the skirt to avoid outfit discord.

I’ll be making a purchases post tomorrow after my outfit for today is posted. Last Sunday, I had the fortune of going to Venice for its Carnevale, and it was everything I dreamed it would be. The city was very crowded, but between all the beautiful costumes and masks and the gorgeous landscape in and out of the canals, I couldn’t have asked for a more picturesque island city. I’ve wanted to visit Venice since I was much younger, having fallen in love with movies like The Thief Lord and Summertime. The city really has a lot of history and culture and spirit, and I definitely want to make a return trip whenever I get the chance (before it sinks! yikes!) Our next Italian trip is to Pompeii and Sorrento, and I’m very excited for even more Italy. For now, I content myself with exploring Florence. Very happy that midterms week is finally over. Stay open-minded, everyone! Baci! xx

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Staying Stylish While Staying Snug

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(This is probably the only “selfie” I will ever post on here… Hopefully… Ignore the mess haha)

I am fairly slow at updating this blog, in case you haven’t realized, but I have been keeping my eyes peeled for various fashion plates and fashion disasters here in Florence. The most common eyesore I’ve noticed happens to be something very close to home, most likely because the main perpetrators are study abroad girls: leggings being worn as pants. While I am completely fine with a girl wearing leggings under a long tunic or shirt or a dress, I absolutely cannot stand when girls wear these out to class or on the street with North Faces or hoodies. It’s fine for the gym or when you’re lounging around at home, but how hard is it to put on a pair of jeans or something similar when you go outside? In fact, if it is so difficult, then why don’t you just put on a dress or a skirt? Sorry, rant over.

Anyway, from what I’ve seen most of the girls at my school dress fairly well for class, but they cannot be surpassed by the Italian girls, who are the epitome of style, teachers included. I’m not saying every girl should spend hours doing her hair and makeup and picking an outfit everyday, since that’s just not plausible and would take away the intrigue of ready-to-wear clothes. That doesn’t make it any less admirable that they put in the effort, however. It’s also interesting because the women here, most of them anyway, know how to age gracefully, in person and in fashion. Their wardrobe is age-appropriate and chic, which every woman should aspire to. The men are also very classy, whether they’re seen on the street or in the club. From my very limited pool of male friends, I can tout that the Italian men can even be more daring in their fashion than women. Brianna approved! 😉

I haven’t really been impressed with the selection in the regular stores here that you could find back in the states, such as H&M and Zara. Going for more Italian stores, or even checking out the markets, is a much better option (and probably a much cheaper one, too.) I saw this lovely tan peacoat-esque jacket in a side shop that I am dying to go back and purchase, and this was in a store not far from the 99 cento (which, by the way, is a wonderous place.) However, I am still totally willing to purchase certain basic essentials at the big brand stores when its necessary (H&M teal hoodie, I love you.) It’s really about layering pieces and mixing and matching your mass market clothes with your more original, one-of-a-kind pieces. Clothes are the perfect medium for self-expression; use them well!

An essential wardrobe addition that you can use easily to make a statement is a coat or jacket. Here in Italy, there are a few trends that I’ve noticed that are both very specific but also easy to apply anywhere in the world. I’ve seen all of these on at least 10 people all over Florence, and probably more for some of them. (sorry if some of these are a reiteration from a previous post!)

1. The quilted puffer jacket (aka the bane of my existence)

These are not aesthetically pleasing to me in any way whatsoever, but I understand the functionality and practicality of these. They come in a wide variety of colors, for both men and women, but so far the most prevalent are black, red and brown (the dark, neutral colors, like I mentioned previously, very popular.) These can be long down to the knee or at waist length, but they are always very puffy. For some reason, there are actually people who can pull these off, to my horror and delight. Perfect example, my gorgeous roommate Alla with her classic black puffer (although she could honestly pull off anything, including sweats, so maybe that’s an outlier example…)

2. The fur coat/vest

I am still in search of the perfect fur vest to layer over my jacket, as I’ve seen a few of the girls do here. In neutral colors, they add a little luxury and intrigue to any outfit, as well as texture and most importantly, warmth. I once saw a very impressive long teal vest in the window of Miss Sixty, it was totally bold. As for fur coats, they are most commonly found on the very chic old women who wander about Florence, but they look good on basically every woman I’ve seen so far. (While I’m not a supporter of actual fur items, faux fur alternatives are really cute and Macklemore would totally approve if you looked into them.

3. The military jacket (with or w/o leather shoulders)

One of my personal favorites, these usually-green beauties are perfect in lighter weather for market browsing or bar hopping. There is a specific kind with leather shoulders/arms from Zara that I’ve seen all over Florence. The jacket can add an edge to a floral dress, or it can be a good neutral to tone down a bright outfit underneath. These also come in long or short, and you can even customise your own (I added a flower patch over the hole on the back of the one I bought from Buffalo Exchange!) They also tend to have a fair amount of pockets, which is always a win in my book.

4. The leather jacket 

I’m pretty sure everyone already has one of these in their wardrobe, and if not, they should probably get one (there is faux leather out there too, for all us animal lovers!)       I very much miss my wine-colored cropped H&M jacket back in the States, but I made a lovely purchase (to be examined in my next post) at the local market for super cheap. One of the important points to make about these is that Italy is famous for its work with leather, in shoes, bags, and yes, jackets. They go with basically everything, being a classic, and layer just like the military jacket, but with many more color options. Cropped, waist-length, or long like a trench, leather jackets will never go out of style.

5. The trench coat

Another classic that everyone should own, the trench coat is another great lighter option, with the added bonus of usually making a fine rain coat (which will always remind me of the final scene in Breakfast At Tiffany’s! <3) Back at home, I have a very bright royal blue trench that I love to toss on to cheer me up or brighten up my outfit. I am still on the hunt for the *coveted* and original tan Burberry trench, but I’m biding my time for the perfect style. These have all different details besides color that make each trench interesting: belts, buttoning styles, shoulder tabs, material, etc. If you don’t already have a trench, there is a perfect one out there waiting for you! (Note: if you’re worried they’re too long because you’re tiny like me, you can always get a trench-style coat that stops at the waist. Still cute and versatile!)

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Expect another post in a day or so, finally. I witnessed some pretty horrifying fashion messes recently, and those will definitely come up, as well as some fashion highlights. I’m always really nervous about trying to snap photos of really stylish outfits even though I could just tell people I have a blog, so you may not get many photographic evidence. I promise I’ll be as detailed as possible and, as always, if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see or read about, feel free to drop me a comment or a message. I’ve been really happy experiencing all the fashion here in Florence, and I want to share it with all of you lovely people! 🙂 Stay snuggly, everyone! Baci! xx

OOtD: The Return of the Sass (in Florence!)

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This has been a long time coming, everyone, but I am finally back and plan to be in full force for 2014! I am happy to announce that I’m spending the semester in Florence, which means plenty of opportunities to peep some great fashion. It’s been 2 days since I arrived and I’ve already seen so many great shops and interesting styles among the people. From a surprise find of Ladureé (yum!!) and Tiffany’s to a street with two Zaras, there’s plenty of ways I can waste spend my money.

There are a lot of common pieces that I’ve seen so far, although whether they are good or bad is debatable. Very happy I brought two pairs of boots because they are very common out on the street, and they are both comfortable and fashionable, which important because Florence is very much a walking city. Sales on shoes are everywhere right now (just sales in general!), and I’m debating whether I will get another pair of shoes. I just bought these for the trip, they’re pretty nice, but I’ll have to be careful because they already started cutting up my feet.

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Coats here are hit or miss for me, honestly. Fur is very popular, faux or otherwise, especially long coats on older women and short coats or vests on younger. Military green coats are popular as well, with hoods or without, long or short, you name it. They’re pretty great; they add edge to any outfit. The one type of coat I don’t like? Puffy coats. I don’t care if the shape is flattering, you really just end up looking like the Michelin man. Seriously, I see them everywhere and cringe every time. It must take some type of already-magnetic personality to brave wearing one of those; that is one time I will not sacrifice fashion for warmth. However, long structured wool and trench coats are also common, and I’m dreaming of the day when I go purchase the perfect tan trench at Burberry.

As I imagined, dark and neutral colors are the dominant species here in Florence, although there is much more color than Montreal. Clothing is usually not very printed, but focuses on the cut and structure of the pieces, as well as layering on different accessories to finish the look. Most people have an immediate aura about them of luxury, even if their clothing is more on the minimalistic side. I’m excited to experience more and take notes as the next 5 months go by. I’m sure the people in school will be intriguing.

So basically the outfit was part-laziness and part joy that it was actually really nice outside today. I love love love high-low skirts, and not because they’re on trend right now, but because they give you the perfect amount of warmth and flow that a regular skirt doesn’t. It’s kind of like having a cape, but for your lower half. haha Not to mention that the neutrals fit right into the setting. Layering here is important for staying warm, so to add a pop over my black lacy tank, I grabbed my favorite coral sweater. Daytime required my military green jacket for a little coverage when not in the sun, while night brought out my wool coat to keep away the chill. A little jewelry goes a long way, too.

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We went grocery shopping today, which was really nice, so now I can cook food and do my laundry and all that good stuff. I’m finally setting in, and since we did a lot of walking, I feel pretty good and ready to take the city by storm. I’ve made friends with the girls next door, and am still waiting for my other two roommates to move in. The apartment is very nice, although it’s a bit chilly (flashbacks of my room back at AXO…) Florence is really beautiful, and even just the architecture and the people really add to the scenery. We saw a man when we were walking back who was dressed up in a costume, like a clown who’d been hit by a big gust of wind, so that was amusing. There are so many dogs and children everywhere too, including a baby who was playing with an iPhone in her stroller. I love when they speak Italian so well; I definitely want my future kids to speak a foreign language (or two!) I’m excited for orientation tomorrow, getting to pick all my classes and all that. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long so Lizzie and I can go explore and shop some more. Crepi il lupo! xx