LYDIA'S BLOG: Diversity Diary No. 6

Mar 6, 2012

But my general fashion goal is blend in.

I'm not so good at that here, especially with a wardrobe that was limited by a suitcase. I'm an avid wearer of tennis shoes, which immediately singles me out in a sea of boots and heels.

I had gotten used to it though. But what I can't wrap my mind around is Italians' apparent obliviousness to the change in weather. Thursday reached 70 F — clearly not jacket weather, yet every Italian I passed was still wearing a pea coat or puffy coat. Most of them had scarves on.

A man passed me on a bike wearing a giant coat, thick gloves, a hat and a scarf wound tightly around his neck and face. I was in awe. I was in a T-shirt in 70-degree weather, yet I was the crazy one.

When I went to Viareggio, I decided to pull out my Chacos (also not the most fashionable footwear at all). I knew it was still a little cold for sandals, but only by a few degrees — and I'm usually warm anyway.

Sandals in March. Who cares? Well, clearly Italians care. As I walked onto the train, a group of people didn't even try to hide their opinions as they stared at my feet, turning their heads as I passed them.

"Yeah, that's right. Sandals. Take off your gloves, fools," I thought to myself, but soon tucked one foot under my other leg and that foot under Caitlin's seat across from me.

I continued to get similar looks from locals in Viareggio. One girl in particular gave me a rather nasty look as she sized me up on the boardwalk. What's it to you? I didn't get it.

And even though my feet were pretty cold after the sun went down, I had no regrets about my footwear.

Sunday, I saw a man in Billa wearing flip-flops. I paid close attention to see if he was American. He was without a doubt Italian. That immediately validated my shoe choice the previous day.

I'm marking this one as a victory for me and my Chacos.

Editor’s note: Former Grand Haven Tribune intern Lydia Coutré is spending a semester in Italy. She is a junior at Kent State University, studying journalism. Her blogs during her stay in Italy will be posted here and at http://lydiaislost.blogspot.com. All photos by Lydia Coutré.

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.