As we walk through the streets of Florence, we play the “is that a tourist or an Italian” game. Of course there are plenty of blatantly obvious tourists. But some of them try pretty hard. These are the subtle signs that give them away:
Sheer hose (or none at all). Florentines are wearing opaque tights, leggings, or pants.
Scarves outside coats, blowing in the wind. Florentines wear them inside, tied in a loose but exacting manner.
Brightly colored clothing. Florentines wear black or dark brown. Colors are for accessories.
And my favorite: Ugg boots. Nearly every Florentine is wearing smart leather boots, usually almost knee-high. The Uggs make American feet look twice as large, which is unfortunate, since often they already are twice as large as Italians’!
I saw someone across the park in Ugg boots today, and sure enough, she was calling her children in English. I congratulated myself on my exquisite perception of taste, and then looked down at my own feet, which were bare inside my neon aquamarine crocs. This may be a case of the pot calling the kettle aquamarine.
(In my defense, I had just finished yoga, one of the more common park activities in San Diego. Not so in Italy. I have yet to see an Italian doing yoga in the park, but if I did, I’m sure she would never consider it an excuse to abandon fashion. It’s going to take some work to go native here.)