Why do I dress 'nicely' for a quick trip to the market just to go out for some bread? I mean, I love dressing up, but really? When you just need to step out for a second? Does anyone know what I'm talking about?Bella Figura. That's what she's talking about.
As I state in my book, if *only* Americans took the time to get out of their pjs to go to Walmart, KFC or - heck - on a plane...Italians look good even when they're wearing faux-ripped jeans and a pair of Vans. So, they've let their guard down when it comes to honoring their dead...but, I still enjoy the whimsical scarf-wrapping which 25 years later I am still unable to replicate. A friend now living in Malta says that she used to ask an Italian neighbor to "do that thing you do" every time she went out of the house and wanted to wrap a scarf round her neck.
I saw an elder woman leaving her low income housing unit the other day. There she was, with her green loden wool skirt and matching jacket. Perfect hair and shoes to match. I stopped just to admire her as she got into a waiting car. It's the last vestiges of an age where unemployed men would don hats and berets in fine silk suits just to queue up for the unemployment line. I was watching history turn a page.
I was completely casual and comfortable and about to run out of the house but then stopped myself. I knew I would get "the look" from everyone had I done so. I turned right round to put on some make up, change my shirt, slap on a blazer and cute shoes...Only because this is the norm where I live. Honestly, in LA you could wear your pajamas out and no one gives a crap. But, here... I had on jeans, a t-shirt, sweater, and ugg boots and still had to do a double take and just say No.The outdoors of any neighborhood all look like it's gangland territory. But the people behind those graffiti-splayed walls....well, I pray they never let that go..even when just stepping out to pick up a loaf of bread. But speaking of bread, just don't get me started on the French and how they look with a golden baguette tucked ever so neatly under arm...