What makes women in a particular city, say Paris, look so Parisian? Likewise, what makes women in Rome, look so Italian?! Here are some decoding bullets:
Jewelry (big, bold, and lots of it!)
Trendy or beautiful shoes
Loose locks of hair
One really big statement piece
Clear style statements of confidence
Mani/pedis are a must
Fully styled professionals
Luxury denim is styled upscale
Lips and Mascara
Here are some other style helpers:
Helmet that coordinates with scooter
Leather (Italian) handbag
Leather (Italian) jacket
Here’s what I don’t see on the streets of Rome worn by Romans:
Bottom cleavage/muffin tops
So let me describe a few of the beautiful Italian women I have seen so far, but haven’t gotten photos of:
Woman #1: 60s/70s — Black hair — skinny skinny
Hosiery with large criss-cross design, flat black suede shoes
Black sheath dress trimmed with short fringe
Black leather jacket
Giant pearl and gold necklace, earrings, multiple rings
Woman #2: 40s/50s — brown hair — average build
Wide-legged, over-dyed, oversized denim cropped jeans in a melon color
Matching oversized straight cut car length jacket in same melon denim
Extra-long print scarf down to her knees in a print of melon/neon green/red
Ankle boots, mid-height heel, trendy in light tan (Italian leather, I would bet)
Woman #3: 60s — salt and pepper hair — athletic build
Cropped gabardine pants in dark green
Open-toed suede shoe in cognac with a chunky stacked heel (Italian leather)
Silk print blouse — three shades of green with some purple for good luck
Leather jacket in cognac (Italian leather)
Cream-colored helmet & matching cream and black scooter
Silk chiffon scarf in pale green
Leather brief portfolio in cognac (Matchy-matchy I love it!)
Each of these women had a certain striking air of confidence, and of assertiveness. I got the sense that they didn’t put too much focus on matters that didn’t directly involve them. I also sensed that they weren’t looking for style approval, but rather that style was their medium, under their control.
In the same vein as a second semester home-ec class in 1977, here is a genuine muffin. Not cake batter in the shape of a muffin, but a not-too-sweet muffin with the coarser crumb that defines old school homemade muffins.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees-this is always the first step.
List of ingredients-get them gathered with the proper cooking utensils second.
Week 1 Frankfurt, Germany: Build around Brooks, Ltd. LoDo Shirt
This is the second blog planning my packing list for travel to Frankfurt, then on to Johannesburg, South Africa. I am using my inspiration shirt, named after Denver’s Lower Downtown, hence the ‘LoDo’ part of the shirt description. LoDo is where Brooks, Ltd. atelier is located and is also the part of town you see college students, out-of-towners, and business folks mingling together at restaurants and venues.
I might have mentioned that I have “packing anxiety” and that has driven me to plan this trip well in advance. So, I am testing out my one-suitcase bullet wardrobe plan, beginning with five ways to wear the LoDo shirt while working, drinking kaffee, and shopping in Frankfurt, Germany. Oh, and I should tell you, I am going to be eating like a German foodie.
Here’s the bullet list for 5 choices for the first week of five weeks on the road:
Lilac cotton zip-front LoDo shirt, that doubles as a lightweight jacket
Navy slim-legged pants (J. Crew)
Silk floral shell — vintage from the 80s
White lightweight cotton turtleneck (think of the movie ‘Something’s Gotta Give’)
Black vintage Chanel Logo T-shirt (best all around T-shirt ever)
Black ballet neck tea-length dress
Black waterproof loafers (Hunter)
Black logo tennis shoes (Coach)
Silk print scarf
Rhinestone necklace (J. Crew)
These five choices easily fit into the suitcase with plenty of room for next week’s challenge– 4 weeks in Johannesburg!
Managing time apart from my husband, partner, best-friend is work. Emotional work. Slogging through the day, remembering to build in those activities and behaviors that feed into a positive aloneness takes effort. I have to think about how I am taking care of myself. Hence the hashtag #hyggetaughtme, see Instagram for my attempts at self-hygge.
However, once the airline ticket is purchased, the emotional work seems to lighten! It’s easier, knowing that travel adventures are just around the corner! My best friend and hubby-boy is absolutely the best travel companion–he was a History major–and loves to do research. As we visit each place, he talks about historical events and figures, as well as cultural interests while I scout out local food, art, and museums. So, now to the style factor and…Let the packing anxiety/excitement begin! (Breathe in, breathe out!)
Let’s start with a list of activities in Frankfurt, Germany:
Walking on cobblestones
Having kaffee und kuchen with friends (everyday)
Walking through the park, riding the U-bahn
Eating out in the evening
Museum (Natural History, Modern Art)
Walking by the river
List activities in Johannesburg, South Africa:
Visit wild animal parks
Go to markets
Find reasonably safe food to eat and still feel like we belong on the Food Network
Next list the weather:
Frankfurt in June = Seattle in June
Johannesburg in June/July
Now how to pack one suitcase for two cities for over one month…Hmmmm….first attempt. Here’s the bullet list:
African wax print skirt (authentic African Wax Print produced in Holland)
Yellow vintage polo
Yellow/Gray/White/Black print knit skirt
Camouflage pants (doesn’t really camouflage hips like I hoped)
Cargo pocket pants (for animals to destroy)
White cotton men’s s/s shirt
White rain shell
Charcoal wool sweater
Heather gray cotton v-neck sweater
Green felt hat
Rain coat, leopard print
Linen Blazer, cream, black trim
Purple/Mauve/Pink Ikat Print (not authentic, I can assure you)
Traveling to Berlin for a weekend had me solving the weather problem: rainy, humid, hot, sunny, and chilly, and windy– all in the course of three days. On top of that, it was my 16th anniversary, so I knew that at least one nice dinner was on the itinerary. Other than a nice dinner, we planned to go to museums, see a memorial to fallen Russian soldiers, see the Berlin Tiergarten Siegessaeule, a monument honoring victories in the “unification” wars. We also planned on seeing Charlottenburg Palace, and hopping a bus over to Potsdam to wander around Sans Souci, built by Friedrich the Great inspired by Versailles. In addition, we couldn’t see Berlin without going to the Helmut Newton museum. So, comfortable shoes were a must — there was so much walking on cobblestones, dirt paths, steps, and streets.
Here’s my bullet wardrobe reminder. I followed prevailing fashion advice, neutrals–white, gray, black–with one predominant accent color–petal pink. After all, it was my anniversary and I certainly wanted to look light and feminine, summery and happy! Additionally, I wore some beautiful Alexis Bittar jewelry that my hubby had purchased for me a few years ago.
Rain windbreaker: packable, white
Trenchcoat: short, pink, not super waterproof
Dress: pewter, lightweight, comfortable, nice enough for most restaurants
Jeans: black motorcycle
T-shirt: floral, Balmain
Tank: floral, charcoal
Sneakers: white converse
Walking cross trainers: black and white
Scarves: microfiber pastel print, pink mesh, linen white print
Vintage accessory: charm bracelets
A few Berlin highlights: There is a street called Strasse Juni 17th — so if that is your Anniversary date–it’s perfect to celebrate on that street, on that date.
Strasse Juni 17th looking at the Seugessaeule, or Victory Memorial. There was a bicycle race that day, Juni 17th!
The Reichstag — the German capitol building with the flag flying in the wind!
When I go to Paris (or Prague) and I only want to take one suitcase, I look at the weather, decide on a “look” and then write down what I will take. Here’s a reminder of a Bullet Wardrobe that has worked for prior trips taken in spring and summer to these wonderful cities. You’ll notice the simplicity of color choice: black, which 1) rates high on the style index, especially when spending time in art museums and cathedrals, and 2) transitions into a decent dinner look with a little extra eyeliner and jewelry. Accent with white, if you have salt and pepper hair, and forget an accent color. Yes, minimalism is all the rage. Let the scarves do all of the work.
Here’s the Bullet wardrobe list:
Jeans: skinny, black
Jeans: moto, black
Jacket: Lightweight Black leather biker
Jacket: Satin Bomber–Black, Olive, Burgundy
Sweater: Black hoodie
Shirt: L/S Button up Silk, Black (dress up or down based on shoes/jewelry/scarf)
T-shirt: S/S Vintage Chanel Logo Black
T-shirt: Sleeveless, lightweight & drapey, zebra-striped print, vintage Saint Laurent
Walking shoes: Black and white power walking shoes with inserts (a must for cobblestones and hills!)
Walking shoes: Black Converse are lightweight, stylin’ and still okay for walking
Pumps: vintage or just old? Zebra-striped pony pumps for when you want to go out at night!
Two scarves (because you’ll buy at least one on the trip): silk red and purple floral, lightweight animal print
Umbrella (which you could lose and so you will purchase another one)
Now that I’m comfortable with my 50’s appearance, it only took 5 years, I am helping myself remember which packing plans have worked best for me here in Europe. This post covers our trip to see the WWI history in Verdun. The weather forecast was rainy; the itinerary included light hiking in the woods, staying at a pensione in the country, and going to a community flea market.
Bullet wardrobe for a long weekend in Verdun, Lorraine, France over the July 4 holiday.
Jeans: stretchy, straight leg
Knit shirts: L/S french stripes
Shirt: Crisp, white button down
Cardigan: White, light weight
Rain shell: white, packable
Rain coat: mustard yellow tin cloth
Down vest or wool pullover (wished for on trip)
3 scarves: linen, vintage silk, microfiber
Hiking boots: should have been waterproof, legwarmers were a plus
Focusing on wearing white makes selfies seem lighter and somewhat more flattering. Using the old wardrobe rule 2 neutrals+1 accent color keeps it simple. Remember that in these wet, cloudy, and breezy climates, layering allows accommodation for temperature fluctuations. The folks in Verdun were kind and in the country, were just like all country folks-hospitable and pragmatic.