On my travels this past month I visited Italy and spent 2 weeks touring Rome, Florence, and Tuscany. It was absolutely amazing! Being in the beauty industry, traveling has become so much more than site seeing. It makes for a great opportunity to see what people are wearing, how they do their makeup, and how environment affects fashion. When you go on vacation you either dress up because you finally have more time to pamper yourself. Or you dress down to accommodate for all the walking. What I found to be the most interesting was the very noticeable difference between the Roman and Florentine women.
Our first stop was Rome. More than just fashion, I loved Rome for it’s preservation of ruins and art. It’s one thing to see art in a book, but to finally see it in person was simply amazing. The fashion in Rome was all based around comfort. The women were more casual. Since Rome is mostly cobblestone streets the women, rather than being caught dead in an unfashionable sneaker, wore platform shoes. Like their outfits, the hair was very practical – long hair in sleek ponytails. Ironically the best-dressed woman I saw in Rome was a nun! Yes, while driving past the Vatican a woman crossed our path dressed in a long white skirt and white jacket. She wore a big wooden cross. Her headpiece and collar were made of red silk. To top it all off she accessorized her outfit with a red belt and red-framed sunglasses! She was beyond fashion forward, especially for a woman in the Vatican. It was surreal! That evening I stopped to get a quick haircut at a small salon, and then we packed our bags and headed to Florence.
From the minute we arrived in Florence you could see the difference. The casual dressed woman of Rome became the well dress businesswoman in Florence. It was completely different. The women in Florence were not afraid to experiment with color. They wore bright silk floral’s, or loose dresses over silk baggy pants. Contrary to the cobble stone streets of Rome, Florence is mostly paved so everyone wore heels. The hair in Florence was even more interesting to me than the fashion. I saw a lot of up do’s and well-coiffed hair, as well as, asymmetrical haircuts and inverted bobs. And the color wasn’t limited to clothes. Women were dying their hair bright colors like pink, orange, and pastel.
The makeup was very low-key. Clear or pale pink nails, paired with very little eye makeup and a bright red lip! I was so influenced by seeing so many bright lips I walked to the nearest beauty store and asked an associate if they had a lip color similar to the one I had seen on every woman in the street. In her broken English she replied, “I’m sorry madam, we don’t have that here” Determined, I placed my hands on her shoulders, looked her in the eyes and said, “We can do this!” Together we found the perfect color – a mixture of pink and red with a subtle hint of orange. I think it’s safe to say I’m obsessed!
I spent the remainder of my vacation relaxing at a beautiful villa in Tuscany overlooking the mountains. While there I contemplated all the fashion I’d seen over the past 2 weeks and came to a simple conclusion. It comes as no surprise the world is forever being influenced by Italian fashion. It’s so dynamic and unique. The culture and environment influences it and vise-versa. The women in Italy are so well put together. Young or old they cherish fashion; it is literally a part of who they are. It wasn’t hard to pick out who the tourists were and who lived there, it was just so obvious. Even their stride was different. These women walked with purpose and confidence…and it was beautiful to witness.