I put on my jeans this morning, and then, took them off. The heat of Milan and the idea of being miserable in heavy pants have both prevented me from wearing my canvas mates. Taking out my jeans this morning, still freshly pressed from Montreal, I cannot even begin to tell you the longing I felt to wear them. People here do where jeans, somehow, but I think I would die if I tried to pull of the same. I had such a sense of longing for my jeans, a prolonged desire to wear them, pants that were such a staple in my daily fashion in North America.
It's hot here, 35°C. Jeans just don't seem like viable two-legged solutions to fashion dilemmas. In this type of weather, it is really nice to feel like you are wearing nothing. If you sweat then, like I do at night (which I love, cradled by warmth into sleep, a small breeze is always welcome. Something about heat feels great, it might be that I get sick so often in winter or air conditioning... not a nice feeling. but i digress...), then [yea, go look back to the beginning of the sentence to continue the train of thought] it is not any fault of yours or your clothing. It is just the heat of the night. To make a long story short, I haven't worn jeans since I have arrived.
Funny side note, as I was writing this I was given a photo project profiling the Martelli group, an Italian company that makes stonewashed jeans for Diesel, Replay, Gucci and Armani. The universe works in mysterious ways...
Yesterday I went downtown after work to shop around, see what is still on sale, what might be good purchases. I fell in love with a very strong green at United Colours of Benetton that unfortunately didn't fit and looking at the shape, cut and fit of the light pants I was wearing, was catapulted into thinking what is my personal style? what would be suitable to me? what should i own, what are essentials, what can't I pull off?
Being in Milan, more than any other city I have spent an extended period of time in, develops my eye for clothes, fashion combinations and overall looks. I've zeroed in on interesting details: lace-up sandals, string of pearls as a bracelet, hair mullets that actually look good, colours that stand out (yellows, greens...). What I like in other people doesn't necessarily work on me, as Carly nicely pointed out when I tried out a pair of jeans a few weeks ago that were Italian in its many details: 'The jeans are so Italian, but it just isn't you'. I admire many people here for being well groomed and put together, for wearing clothes that fit and that show off their good traits and tastes.
So I took up the issue with Marina last night who had gone shopping with Carly that morning in an attempt to find her some hot items for fall. In the end, Marina came out with 3-4 items and Carly with nothing. See, Marina has honed her skills, born and raised in Milan, since she goes shopping once or twice a week. What you will see depends on the mood you are in, what you think you need. Here windows change at least once a week, at most every two weeks depending on the season as Luisa Cervesi let me know about her shop (really cool recycled materials used for bags... check em out: www.riedizioni.com/Products.html). Matching colours, types of clothes, after a bit of time, becomes second nature. Carly had been surprised at Marina's matching a blue collared shirt with a green jacket so quickly and instinctually.
As I left Benetton, mind buzzing to define my own style, I passed by a store called David Mayer (www.davidmayer.it) which I think was true to what I like: simple, well-made, sophisticated. Loud t-shirts, prominent brandnames, millions of pockets and complicated details... all things I can't pull off. Give me solid colours, simple uniform details, a good pattern, subtle tailoring. Marina would later suggest that the 'look' (I don't want to sound like some sort of fashion-obsessed shopaholic, just an aesthetically conscious individual) I had going was a play on intellectual: collared shirts, nice shoes... inspired, smart, above the riff-raff.
The shopping I had done before Milan has either been in stints (Thanksgiving sale escapade with Susie) or with my mother (we have a good time and pretty good luck)... and actually sometimes clothes just arrive in the mail that my mother thinks would go well. I have never taken what I wear so seriously that I am always looking, always browsing like La Marina. To be always conscious of what you own, spotting items that go well with others while browsing, thinking of the bare essentials that you always need. Usually I shop for one item (remember the linen pants mission of july 1? or the outfit hunting post baggage loss?), but I think there has come a time where I need to be more aware of all of what I own, what works for me, what doesn't and own whatever I wear, whether it be lazily casual or dapper and fancy. And thus the fashion hunting continues...