Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Fashion Report

This photo is from a very exclusive shop window in St. Tropez. Obviously a fall outfit. Sara and I loved the shoes.

Well, I know all female readers are on the edge of their seats waiting on a first hand European fashion report, since everyone knows that trends usually start there and migrate over to the States in due time. Well, it appears that modern telecommunications and FedEx's delivery of print media may have speeded-up 'due time'.

In years gone by, like in the Beatle Era, I found the London Look to be at least a year, and in some cases, 2 years in reaching us at the shopping center level. Then about 5 yrs ago, it seemed we had about a 6 month or one season lag, but not so anymore.

Just about every look we saw overseas, we have seen here as well, with one big, no make that skinny, exception. SKINNY is IN----no one is fat in Europe. Maybe one person could stand to drop a few lbs (like maybe only 10 lbs) per city block. If we saw a very overweight person, they were a tourist, usually from the States, occasionally from Germany or some cold place. Some middle age Asian's are a bit thick in the middle, you know middle age spread, but not the French, the Italians, Spanish, etc...at least the ones that are out and about that we saw.

To help keep them skinny, Europe assists in providing as many stairs as possible. Handicapped access is limited, stairs are in. Make that flights of stairs are in. Buildings are built so that you might go up a bunch of stairs to go in the front only to go down stairs to the main or reception floor....that sorts of thing. One would almost think that I had specified 'Third Floor Please' on my reservation forms, and keep in mind that what we call the first floor, they usually call "0".

My observation, in Italy, street dress is becoming more casual. Fewer working women in little black dress and heels, more in tight jeans with wide turned up cuffs. Midriff/tummy exposure is way in. (see skinny notes above) Skirts and worn way low, jeans are worn low and tops stop just above belly button. This is acceptable dress for bank tellers as well as travelers. We were surprised by this. Bras, if you must wear them are to have tiny clear plastic straps. These straps are pretty skimpy and stretchy so you can easily get the jiggly no-bra look with this type of undergarment. Otherwise, bras have colorful straps fully exposed. Camisoles are big. Cleavage is IN, all ages. (Trim and fit bods, remember.)

Heels with jeans are big, and this includes walking on slippery cobblestones and up and down hundreds of stairs. The shoes are mostly strappy heels and mules with embellishments. All ages. No panyhose--what are those anyway--do they still make 'em?

In the shop windows, women's shoes either had verrrrrry pointy toes or very rounded blunt toes if they were not open toe.

In Italy, saw more color and less black slacks/white blouses than I did 5 years ago. The women are wearing the same voile batik made-in-India skirts that W-M is selling here. Wear them slung low (see note above, then see skinny)

Jeans have goofy torn and stitched places and those odd bleached places same as the ones in our mall jeans shops on men and women. Most women's jeans have wide turned up cuffs about mid-calf.

Men are wearing lots of variations on Nike type shoes. Pull ons, no laces, wierd laces, straps, all sorts of odd driving shoe looking sneakers. Men wear sandals too, all types.

Young men with longish hair often wear stretchy headbands , the type that you'd only see on girls in the States, plus I saw some longish haired men wearing the rigid plastic headband things w/ tiny teeth that we called 'bandeaus' as children. iPods and earbuds are in w/ the subway set.

Asymetric hemlines are all the rage. Hems cut every-which-a-way and often unsewn and frayed. In fact, frayed edges are big on everything, pocket edges, etc... new stuff is sold that way.

All variations of Lime Green are much seen, deep avacado-ish lime is popular, as is tourquoise. But then, we were in the resort type areas a lot. Large and long necklaces with chunky beads spaced between sections of skinny cord or tigertail are IN.

Full skirts are everywhere. Very,very sheer skirts are very in. sometimes opaque fabric skirts have sheer layers that hang a few inches underneath. This looks odd when it is a taylored twill skirt with a chiffon frayed tattered layer hanging out the last few inches, errr..., make that centimeters.. Get out those sewing machines girls, this is a way easy look to come by DIY.

Another popular look in skirts is the taffata or poplin fabric skirt with volumous amounts of fabric and tabs and buckles in various places that bunch it up here and there for no particular reason. This is a fun look for the really skinny minnies only.....anyone with any bulk instantly looks like a truck tarpolane train wreck or a bundle of damage goods with a human body trapped inside.

And in England girls are wearing those droopy long hangy-down scarves around the neck. In fact, on the Underground, we saw girls in 85 degree stuffy traincars dripping with perspiration still sporting a droopy hot scarf wrapped 2 or 3 times around her little adolescent neck. Didn't see that silliness much outside England.

Overall the guys in Europe dress pretty much like our guys, mostly t-shirts (tight over fit bods) just way fewer polo shirts, more variety in shoes and in England, where bankers and such still wear suits, they tend to wear more beautiful suits than is typical here and they are taylored to actually fit the wear's particular back, shoulders, arm length etc..they fit better.

European mens' woven shirts show a fair amount of vatiety in things like diagonal stripes instead of the usual vertical. They tend to be cut rather trim fitting, like the trim fit on rodeo shirts.

We did see a lot of tatoos and body piercings amongst the young general population. Not too many of the over-the-top downright scarry types, but lots of 20's and younger people, men and women with one nose thing, eyebrow thing, etc...of course, one is 'too many' to me.

If I think of anything else to add, I will. Lundy


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