When I'm in Italy, I try to check out what people are wearing to find out what Americans will be wearing next year. Italians are soooo stylish and, to me, not afraid to experiment with new looks. I had never been to Europe during winter and was looking forward to increasing my sartorial repertoire.
News flash: au courant outerwear in Italy this year is the down parka with fur collar circa GAP 2001. My little brother (LB) pointed out, "that's just new enough to look out of style but not quite old enough to look cool." I insisted that if he wanted to be a trendsetter at school he should adopt this look. He said he would hold out for the full on fur coat after his successful career as a financier (good one).
At first I felt out of the loop. Was this simply an Italian winter staple? I asked an expert, my Italian BF.
He gave me a look of disgust and rolled his eyes. He wouldn't be caught dead in that jacket. He told me that clothing trends spread virally in Italy. He had never noticed it before because they are usually more subtle than a marshmallow coat with a fur collar. Now that it was in his face he determined that everyone was just a huge copy cat. During our tour of Rome we delighted in counting the number of fur collars packed into restaurants and coffee bars.
I took series of photos (a few are in the collage above) inspired by Scott Schuman, The Sartorialist and Bill Cunningham of the 'On The Street' feature in The New York Times. I used my ghetto digital camera so the photos aren't the best quality, but you get the picture.
When I got back to the states I dug out my ivory down parka with fur collar (which I believe was purchased at the GAP in 2001). I put on my favorite jeans, cute flats, and slipped on the parka. I was temporarily excited that I hadn't gotten rid of it.
One look in the mirror horrified me. Beach ball on stilts came to mind. My inner Tim Gunn was fighting it. I sighed at yet another example why Italians mystify me. They manage to turn everything into chic, even something as unflattering as a down parka.