FASHIONABLE ITALIAN WOMEN OVER 50 | 1010 Park Place
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FASHIONABLE ITALIAN WOMEN OVER 50

All Photographs ©Brenda Coffee
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Florence took my breath away, especially the Florentine women over 50. They are the epitome of style and elegance. While they acknowledge some fashion trends, others they ignore. I spent five days in Florence and never once saw a Florentine woman over 50 wearing an off the shoulder or cold shoulder blouse, ripped or skinny jeans, leggings, capri pants, camel toes or flip flops. It was the American and the Asian tourists who wore trendy clothes, usually every trend at the same time.

If I’m to be brutally honest, the American women were tacky looking compared to the women of Florence.

MORE Magazine used to drive me crazy with what we “should” wear in our 20’s, 30’s, etc. I don’t want anyone telling me I can’t wear a particular style or dress youthful. I believe #StyleIsAgeless. That said, the contrast between the Florentine women’s way of dressing versus the American women was eye opening, starting with me!

The first day I explored Florence I wore my pale green kimono from Anthropology, blue jeans and silver Italian sneakers I bought in New York City. Boy did I get some stares and not good ones! Even so, I loved how the breeze blew my kimono open behind me as I walked. It was the last time I wore it, however.

Several women over 50 were wearing long sweaters or lightweight coats that hit the top of their ankles. One wore a long, dove grey sweater—the breeze blew it open behind her as she walked—with a matching long dress underneath and flat shoes. She made me wish I’d been wearing that!

Another woman wore various shades of cream and tan with caramel suede sandals and a tan and grey woven bag. All of the women were chic and classy.

“Classy… “ That’s the word I would use to describe the women over 50 in Florence.

Think Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O, Grace Kelly and Catherine Deneuve, who’s still elegant and fashionable at 74. None of these women ever tried to dress younger than they were, nor did they look matronly. They were sexy, chic women who radiated self-confidence.

My favorite outfit was worn by a 45 plus woman: an olive, pleated, midi-skirt—from Zara—a long, boxy, short-sleeved, cream, lace blouse and cream espadrilles with ribbon ties up her ankles and a cream Gucci shoulder bag. That was as close to wearing more than one trend, together, as I saw, but she elevated the look to a 10, not a trendy.

My friend, Val @mamavalveeta03, disagreed when I posted this photo on Instagram saying, “…her ensemble doesn’t work at all for my lifestyle.” I agree, Val. Mine either. I’m struggling to find an affordable look for my current lifestyle which is sitting in front of a computer all day, going to the gym three days a week and raising two, rambunctious puppies.

Are any of you searching for a new look because of a change in lifestyle?

My challenge will be to find clothes with an elevated, chic feel to them, but that are more casual. I love Brunello Cucinelli, but even on sale, he’s out of my price range. Val also likes the “sporty way” American women dress, but if we’re not careful, we can look like we’re always on our way to Home Depot to buy grout cleaner.

I talked to a 30 plus Florence fashion designer, whose mother does all of the sewing and knitting. She told me Zara and H&M are hurting their business because young, Italian women would rather buy cheap, and quality doesn’t matter to them. Perhaps that’s because 40% of Italian youth are unemployed, and/or maybe they’re loving the accessibility of fast fashion.

As I explored the streets, the fabulous museums and thought about the over 50 Florentine woman’s style, it was impossible to forget Florence was the heart of the Renaissance. That influence is still seen and felt everywhere.

Fifteenth-century Florence was where writers, painters, architects, jewelry makers, craftsmen and philosophers thrived. Florence also bought superior wool from other parts of Europe, then cleaned, spun and dyed it into the world’s most exquisite fabrics for the Medici’s and the other wealthy families of Europe.

Because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, what happens if Italy is, indeed, breeding a generation who doesn’t appreciate quality? One day will they design for Italian couture houses from which the rest of the design world will take their cues? If we’re guided by, and playing to, the lowest common denominator, those of us who want quality may find fewer pieces that are even further out of our financial reach. A sad polar opposite to the Renaissance.


73 Comments

  • Reply Janice Quinn September 29, 2017 at 5:59 am

    Brenda, I have spent lots of time in Umbria/Tuscany, my father’s side of the family being Italian. After Paris, these women are the chicest on the planet, no fashion victims there! I loved reading your posts from Italy. Ciao!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Hi Janice, How blessed you are to have the wonderful Italian lineage and to spend lots of time there. I’ve returned with a newfound love affair with the people and the country. My trip has influenced the way I’m thinking about everything from fashion to food. So happy you enjoyed my posts! Thank you. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Lisa Furnari September 29, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Having lived in Italy, one of the things I noticed was that Italians have fewer clothes but much better quality. Americans have lots and lots of cheap outfits that never quite look right. Please don’t even start me on the ripped jeans on older women rant. It looks horrible!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Bingo, Lisa! You nailed it. My other rant is 50 plus women, wearing mini skirts and sky high heels, acting like they’re 30. Even if you have a kickass body, there’s something off and kind of sad about that, and again… I’m not trying to tell anyone what they can and can’t wear. It’s just an observation. Thank you so much for your comment, Brenda

  • Reply Pamela Lutrell September 29, 2017 at 7:56 am

    I actually made enemies writing on my blog that the fashion industry was laughing all the way to the bank because they got women to spend large amounts of money on jeans with holes in them. I absolutely hate some of the trends out there and hate it that our generation has bought into it so much. We can learn a lot from the Italians and the French. I really enjoyed this post, Brenda.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Thank you, Pam. That means a lot coming from you. I’m sorry you experienced that, but you’re so right. There’s a 50+ social media movement, I know you’re aware of, that’s taking our demographic in the wrong direction. I felt that way before I went to Italy, but now I’m saddened by it. What can we do? With your magazine, perhaps we should brainstorm an article. I’m getting lots of positive feedback. Brenda

  • Reply Anonymous September 29, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Brenda,
    Thank you for writing about this! I’ve found myself in such a quandary with my fashion sense of style – I’m lost! Leaving NYC for Dallas 3 years ago has put me in a real fashion funk.
    What are your favorite affordable sites to get this “look”?
    Hugs!
    Maggie

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Hi Maggie, There are millions of us… 74M to be exact in the U.S. alone, who are in this dilemma. Your question has given me the topic for my next Fashion Friday post! I’ll see what I can put together. Thanks so much! xoxox, Brenda

      • Reply Mamavalveeta03 September 30, 2017 at 12:09 am

        This is where I get hung-up on the concept of a “higher calling” in dressing. It’s SO darned expensive to dress really well! Granted, you featured the woman in the high-low ensemble with the Zara skirt, and she looks great. My favorite Florentines are the woman in the long grey sweater coat and the other woman in cream and tan shades…I’d LOVE to look like that in my clothes! But I have a suspicion that those are women of means,and quite frankly, I can’t imagine going over to the library to grab a book, then to the post office to pick up our mail dressed quite so elegantly! That would be quite a sight 🙂 . I often wear cashmere v-necks and white jeans with booties (no heels for me!), and I feel sexy and chic…even classy…when I do. I live in a small town where the locals already look at me funny because I don’t wear old tourist logo sweatshirts with leggings or pajama pants to shop at the grocery store (my pet peeve! I’ve even seen them in the airport!). So, I feel that there is a sort of “context” when it comes to dressing, and yes, it has to fit my lifestyle and the community in which I reside…to a certain extent.

        I totally agree with you that there are way too many American women that seem to have NO sense of style. So where do we go from here? There can’t only be 2 ways to dress: Elegantly or Tastelessly. So what’s the middle ground for us independent American women that want to look great on a budget?

        It was fun people watching vicariously through you, Brenda!

        • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 1, 2017 at 9:29 pm

          Hi Val, I know what you mean about not being dressed insync with those around you. I’ve always been that woman and haven’t minded until recently. Cashmere sweater, white jeans and booties sound very chic to me, so I’d say you’ve got that covered and aren’t at the extreme end of either spectrum you mentioned. Now that I’m not married, working in an office with other people or serving on a board of directors, I’m searching for that middle ground as well and will keep you posted. Glad you liked my photos! Brenda

  • Felicia Leuschen
    Reply Felicia Leuschen September 29, 2017 at 9:30 am

    We need more articles addressing this. Great article.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Thank you for letting me know, Felicia. I value your opinion and think you’re right, so I’m going to work on more Fashion Friday posts like this. Did you read my previous Fashion Friday post? http://www.1010parkplace.com/invest-classic-clothes/

    • 1010 Park Place
      Reply 1010 Park Place September 29, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you! I’ll work on it!

    • Felicia Leuschen
      Reply Felicia Leuschen September 29, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      So well stated. I agree with you 100%. I just wish there was a solution to this problem. It seems as though this is strictly a money maker for designers who feel that there are more profits to be made from the younger crowd who follow every trend that is out there. We are much more selective as to how we want to dress. I have never been a follower and never will be. I want to still feel sexy but in a much more classic and sophisticated way. I will not be intimidated by these designers that try to make us feel as though we are ancient and have no voice or opinion that is worthy of their designs. My goal now is to find a very gifted and talented tailor who will make my clothes to my specifications, until that is designers wake up and here our voices and realize that “we baby boomers” will spend much more than most of the younger generation on clothes.

    • Louise Mireles
      Reply Louise Mireles September 30, 2017 at 1:03 am

      Loved Florence,great article

      • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 30, 2017 at 3:11 pm

        Thank you, Louise! I appreciate it that you took the time to let me know. So special. Brenda

    • 1010 Park Place
      Reply 1010 Park Place September 30, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Betsy Forbes Brock Youth sells!! It leaves us out in the cold, but they don’t care! I talk with a lot of brands, and they’re run by young people so they look at things through their eyes! It’s so difficult to find affordable pieces for women of a certain age that are youthful but don’t make us look foolish.

    • 1010 Park Place
      Reply 1010 Park Place September 30, 2017 at 9:32 am

      Felicia Leuschen I deal with lots of brands and when I tell them we’re the wealthiest demographic in history and spend more money than all the 26-39 year olds combined, they just seem to look straight through me. Of course I’m talking to that age group. Very frustrating!!

    • Betsy Wyatt Saab
      Reply Betsy Wyatt Saab October 1, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      1010 Park Place it does. But those of us with a few more years on them have the money to buy. I still don’t understand why there isn’t more importance put on my age group. No problem with me as I have a dresser or two who looks out for me. It’s the overall styling that gets to me

      • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 3, 2017 at 10:10 am

        Betsy, Youth sells! When I started 1010ParkPlace a couple of years ago, brands weren’t interested in talking to me at all. For the most part, brands and their ad/PR agencies are run by Millennials who don’t get it. They’re only interested in their demographic. They don’t care about “following the money trail.” Thanks to Instagram and women like you and me, brands are beginning to incorporate our age group into their campaigns, but we have so much further to go. I really like your input. Thank you! Brenda

    • Felicia Leuschen
      Reply Felicia Leuschen October 2, 2017 at 12:01 am

      Could not agree with you more. When I think of glamor, style and grace there are a few people that come to mind. Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, the list goes on. They all really knew themselves and chose clothes that made them look just stunning. My son, who is a hair designer always tells me, ” mother be yourself and don’t be intimidated by what the trends in fashion are. Confidence makes anything work”. Now if we could only find a way to make designers appreciate our age group and not be afraid to break out of the mold and do a line geared to our demands.

      • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 3, 2017 at 10:13 am

        Felicia, Your son has given you the best advice possible! How wise of him! There are several women “of a certain age” who are designing clothes for us, but they, too, are missing the mark with skirts that are too short, too V-neck and no sleeves. They’re trying to be “all things to all women” and as a result, missing the mark with both demographics. Thanks again, for your comment. So insightful. Brenda

  • Reply lynn September 29, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Let’s hope America has a fashion Renaissance. You just verbalized what everyone talks about. Thanks for writing about it.

  • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 10:48 am

    An “American Fashion Renaissance!” That’s brilliant, Lynn! Let’s all work on that, together. I can express my opinions all day, but without your feedback and ideas, I’m in a vacuum on the other side of your computer screen. Love this! I will use your idea! Thanks so much! Brenda

  • Reply Joanna September 29, 2017 at 10:55 am

    What I noticed about the women in Italy was the easy elegance of their outfits. I had carefully packed to cover all scenarios but found myself lacking. My outfits felt uninspiring even boring. So…I went shopping. Lol And was shocked by my visa bill once I arrived home – euros into dollars. Yikes!
    I’m not one to follow trends. I detest jeans with holes in them on any age. Do you really want to look homeless?
    I do try to look current but in pieces that I feel comfortable wearing. Leave yoga pants for the gym, short shorts or dresses to the young, oversized, body clothes on the rack, etc. Yes, we want to look good at any age but let’s not buy into all the crazy, fashion trends that come and go so quickly and are designed to dig deep into our pockets again & again & again.
    I hope I haven’t offended anyone. That was not my intention.
    Have a nice day, Brenda.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      I love what you said, Joanna! I feel the same way, and yes, I’m afraid of my Visa bill when it comes. I thought I’d packed carefully and “au courant,” but like you, I didn’t want to wear most of what I brought. Where does this leave us girlfriends? Lynn made a brilliant comment that we need an “American Fashion Renaissance!” Hear, hear!! Thank you, Brenda

  • Reply Marsha Scotth September 29, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I’m laughing out loud at your thoughts here. You’re mostly right about the American tourists, I’m sad to say. However, my group of friends always look fabulous, chic, ageless, timeless with great accessories. I’m appalled at the airports these days. But nothing prepared me for the complete lack of concern about appearances as did Taos, NM. Wowzers. About European women, I think they need less than we do. They all buy good, so it lasts a long time, great handbags & shoes, etc. The young ones? I don’t know because they all dress as in a uniform, the same everywhere. Italy is my favorite place on the planet, I love the lake country and the Amalfi Coast most of all. And, the people !!!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Happy to discover your site, Marsha! I’ve always worn fabulous, timeless clothes… did you see my previous post? http://www.1010parkplace.com/invest-classic-clothes/ My lifestyle has changed and I’ve been experimenting with different fashion choices, and I’ve gotten off track. You’re right about the young women in Europe… probably around the world. It’s a uniform, but not our style. Thanks so much for stopping by! I look forward to getting to know you. Brenda

  • Reply Geri September 29, 2017 at 11:57 am

    I was just in Florence on my 14 day European excursion and noticed the simple elegance of the women there. I am certainly going to be incorporating some of these ideas into my decision making when buying clothes going forward. I will be 70 in December and have always felt that I do not need to “dress my age”, but have begun to desire dressing for comfort and style. Would love to see some articles on this.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      I’m with you, Geri. While women are no longer dressing their age, it is a challenge to find comfort and style. Thanks for letting me know you like this post. I’ll definitely be talking more about it. Brenda

  • Marjorie Sargent
    Reply Marjorie Sargent September 29, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Outstanding article…Florence remaind my favourite European city❤

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      I’ve been to Florence twice before, both for brief times, and I didn’t get to explore the city like I did this time. Definitely saw it with different eyes. Thank you, Marjorie!

    • 1010 Park Place
      Reply 1010 Park Place September 29, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply Barbara September 29, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I used to be all about ‘trendy’ before I was 50. Now, at 67, I’m more about classic style. I’ve gained some weight and have to take that into account but, classic will always be the best choice for ‘women of a certain age’. Great post, Brenda!
    xob

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      I’ve never been about trendy, which is why I’m amazed I’ve been experimenting with different trends. There are a number of women whose style I admire, but then their lifestyles are different than mine. As I said in my blog, my challenge is to find classic, affordable style that’s of good quality. Thanks, Barbara! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Nikki Gwin September 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    I love this! The women look beautiful and I wish we (USA) were more like that. But I have to wonder just where each one was headed. I doubt any of them were going to Home Depot, or the gym, or even the grocery store. American women can and do dress better for more formal occasions usually. At least I do. Although…. I dislike the American trend to not dress up for graduations, funerals, and other important occasions. That really disappoints me. I think I might have been the only person at our grandson’s high school graduation in a dress.
    🙂

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace September 29, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      Many Americans in the airport look like they couldn’t decide whether they were going to work in the yard of fly somewhere. That’s very alarming. We’ve become an overweight, sloppy society. To your point about where the Florentine women were headed… regardless, I know they dress with more style for those occasions than we do. Thanks for your comment, Nikki! Brenda

  • Reply Victoria September 29, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    As I have said a number of times to some of my friends who are small and tiny “just because you can wear it doesn’t mean you should”, In my opinion, Forever 21 is not for over 60.

    • Reply Brenda Coffee September 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      Victoria!! My favorite line I use for so many things is “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!” Too funny! I so agree with you. Forever 21, Free People and a number of others are not for us. Thanks so much, Brenda

    • Reply Mamavalveeta03 September 30, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Or, as my 19-yr. old daughter calls it, “Finally 22”! 😉

  • Reply Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski September 29, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    I love all your shots of Florence Fashion over 50. I can’t imagine the stares for what I wore when I was there in December. It was cold and I had to pack light. They sure know how to dress with class, though.

    • Reply Brenda Coffee September 29, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Rebecca! I got stared at as well. Don’t you know they’re used to us? I took a heavy jacket because it was supposed to be 54 degrees the night I went to see the Rolling Stones. Unless I had a hotel room, that jacket stayed tied around my waist… A killer look for sure!! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Laurie Stone September 29, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Fascinating, Brenda. You have such a great eye for those wonderful details. Makes me want to go to Florence.

    • Reply Brenda Coffee September 29, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Hi Laurie, Always happy when I see you here! Thanks for the compliment. Florence may be my favorite city! Brenda

  • Reply Bryce Warden September 29, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Makes me miss our vacation in 2016…..3 weeks in Italy, 6 locations. Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Orvieto and Rome. Our best meal was in Florence. So stylish and the food (drifts off into a happy land of memories). Loved your post.

    • Reply Brenda Coffee September 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      Thank you, Bryce! I enjoyed my 16 days in Italy more than any trip I’ve taken in a long time. It was exactly what I needed. Brenda

  • Reply Sonia Lovett September 29, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    I loved your comments. I am a European woman raised in Buenos Aires and schooled in Europe. I believe the difference to note is two fold. The clothes they purchase are classic and the best quality they can afford. It’s not like in the US where we have 10 white blouses of iffy quality. They might have two well fitting ( tailoring is key) white blouses which they take good care of, Their fabric choices are typically neutral solids. That allows for more flexibility. They wear jewelry, typically handed down and invest in handbags and shoes. It doesn’t have to be a staid uncomfortable outfit. Nice fitting jeans, a good white T and flats can easily take you to Home Depot. A little perfume helps! PS there are no adequate words for airport attire here. Cheers. @stylebeyondage.com and stylebeyondage on insta

    • Reply Brenda Coffee September 30, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      Sonia your style suggestions are exactly what my mother always told me. She was a model and a buyer in couture. I’ve followed her advice my whole adult life and bought one really nice piece in the fall and one in the spring and if they’re classics, they all work together and you have them forever. I still love my black leather pants and sooo glad I didn’t wear them last Saturday to see the Rolling Stones in Italy as they would have been ruined. Did you read my post today about that? http://www.1010parkplace.com/angel-rolling-stones/ Beyond anything I could have imagined! Thank you so much, Brenda

    • Reply Sonia September 30, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      I loved your Rolling Stone story. It was so poignant. You are such good writer. And a little nuts judging by that adventure. I love it! You would be fun to travel with. I found you on Instagram and started following you.

      • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm

        Sonia, You’re adorable! Yes, I’m probably a bit nuts. I’ve always been an adventurer, and it’s hard for me to pull back and watch from the sidelines now that I don’t have a spouse and am a certain age. Thank God, literally, for angels! Thanks you, Brenda

  • Reply Lisa Froman September 30, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Brenda, I just got back from Italy last night. I too was struck by how beautifully the women–and men–dressed. Simple, elegant and scarves everywhere (including the men). I wanted to focus on the architecture and history while in Rome, but I was constantly distracted ( in a good way) by the beautiful clothing and stylish women. I wore a lot of black and thoughtfully picked out my clothing for the trip but I still wished I could have looked more effortlessly chic. I will be rethinking my style this fall. Lol.

    • Reply Brenda Coffee September 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Lisa, I, too, carefully picked out my wardrobe but quickly felt inadequately dressed. I hate to see my next Visa bill because I began rethinking my wardrobe while I was still there. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them. Brenda

  • Reply cindy hattersley September 30, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Brenda I just loved this article. I too like classic clothes with a bit of an artsy twist. I can’t bring myself to torn jeans even though I see other women wearing them that look fabulous! I do love my olukai flip flops with jeans and a baseball cap on days that I am not working. I am going to post this article on my facebook page. It is beautifully written. I am a new fan!

    • Reply Brenda Coffee September 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Terrific, because we have a mutual admiration society! I’ve been reviewing all of your elegant interior designs and reading your blogs. Love the current piece on Catherine Robinson. Thanks so much, Brenda

  • Reply Beckye September 30, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Love this post and love the timeless, classic style. These women exhibit class, which is often utterly missing in America! Thanks for posting, and I look forward to your next post. I love the classy look, but often cannot afford it. Please list some less expensive versions of the designer styles you find. Thank you!

    • Reply Brenda Coffee September 30, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Affordable classics… that aren’t matronly… That’s almost like “jumbo shrimp!” I will do my best to focus on these in future fashion posts. Thank you, sweet lady! I appreciate your comments, Brenda

  • Reply Dawn Bell Solich September 30, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    What a great read. Love the street photos (adding the style seems redundant here–ha!) and letting us in your head to know your stumbling, with your usual looks. When I was in Seville a few years ago, my sons and I got so many displeased stares. I’m not sure if it was because one of my sons’ shaved head made him look like a thug (lacrosse tradition) or because I wore my gold bomber jacket. I still love it, but perhaps it was the look of yet another ugly American.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 1, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Dawn, You have a gold bomber jacket? I used to have one in my 20’s and don’t know what happened to it. The last time I saw it, I’d put it on a girlfriend who was my model and who I was photographing on an oil drilling rig in Refugio, Texas. It was at night and the workers were hot and sweaty. They’d shut down the rig for a little while and let us up there. The model had long, black hair to her waist, and I’d unzipped the bomber jacket to her mid chest. At the end of the shoot, I asked the oldest worker if he’d like to spray her down with a hose…. LOL! “Boy, would I,” he said. So funny! I must find those photos! Thanks for reminding me of that adventure! Brenda

  • Reply Kona October 1, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks for the info Brenda. I leave for Italy in two weeks and your insight has helped me tremendously. Looking forward to our next lunch with my sister Lee and hearing about everything! Hugs.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 1, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      Hi Kona, Only take comfy shoes!! Two women I was traveling with thought they’d be fine in their sandals, and they weren’t! Take half as many clothes as you think you need. Eat pasta and gelato at every opportunity and devour any fresh figs and prosciutto that come your way! Can’t wait to hear about your trip! xoxoxo, Brenda

  • Betsy Wyatt Saab
    Reply Betsy Wyatt Saab October 1, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    I see nothing wrong with women dressing their age. I see many things wrong with designers leaving us out of the equation. Shame on them, o for one will endeavor to dress classy and it is a difficult thing to do.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 3, 2017 at 9:55 am

      It is hard to do, Betsy, but the good news is, we’re not our mothers’s generation. Their idea of age appropriate is a different world away that our idea of age appropriate. I’m always embarrassed for women of a certain age when they show lots of breasts and cleavage… not good, and regardless of whether you have a killer face and body or not, mini skirts make women look like they’re trying to hang on to their youth. My first husband used to say women like that were “cramming for their finals.” Thanks for your input. I appreciate it. Brenda

  • Reply LA CONTESSA October 2, 2017 at 8:30 am

    HERE I AM!
    CIAO!!!!!!!
    The ITALIAN WOMEN DRESSED TO GO OUT OF THEIR HOMES!THEY DRESS TO GO TO THE GROCERY STORE!When I lived in FLORENCE in the 1990’s I was in a JOGGING SUIT……….my husband says to me you can not go into town like that!A SILK BLOUSE and wool trousers were called for at that time.It is about DECORUM and PRIDE.YOU REPRESENT THE FAMILY!
    I’m sure it has changed now……..
    AS to YOU and your kimono.I doubt it was the KIMONO that got the stares but the SILVER SNEAKERS that you put with it………..
    I know the feet have to be comfortable!
    Once again I could SPOT AN AMERICAN in front of me a mile away………WE TEND TO STAND OUT AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY!ESPECIALLY, the MEN from the SOUTH with their knee high white socks!!!!!!!!
    Happy you had a good time!
    I left you a message on Instagram 3 days ago in the private area………..get back to me!
    XX

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 3, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Contessa! I love your input about decorum, pride and representing the family. Too many American women either don’t have decorum and pride or they need help choosing their clothes. Bingo! The silver sneakers… Here I think they’re youthful and go with everything I wear, but in Florence, they were gaudy and gauche! They were also the most comfortable shoes I brought. My other choice were a black pair of Cole Hahn/Nike sneakers that were made of braided leather, like Bottega Veneta. They’re dressy and chic but not nearly as comfortable on my permanently tortured feet. I left you my number on Instagram! Look forward to hearing from you! XOXOX, Brenda

  • Reply Esther Zimmer October 2, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I adore your observations but do wonder if dressing this way will become a thing of the past…even for Italian women. I bet the women you saw don’t have closets rammed with clothes. I expect they have less, but better quality items and tend to stick to a colour palette so that everything they buy can be mixed and matched. Even if they don’t have a ton of money they look for items in natural fibres because they know these items wash and wear well and can be worn for years to come. However, people don’t think about dressing this way anymore, they want something new to wear not just every season, but every week! Fast fashion is not only ruining the planet, but our sense of taste. I’m personally trying to figure out my wardrobe for a year on the road! Essie xx

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 3, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Essie, Your observations are spot on. Italian women don’t wear prints, either… something I’m sensitive about because I only wear solid colors. Prints are too busy. Too many colors and often it cheapens the look. Your wardrobe for a year on the road… Woah! Now that’s a challenge! I’d do exactly what you’ve described: a color palette that can be mixed and matched, and perhaps you add things like a Chong Sam blouse you pick up on your travels. I’m excited you’re doing this! Please continue to blog for us about your travels. Love, Brenda

  • Reply Doreen McGettigan October 3, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Brenda, I really enjoyed this and all of your posts on your trip. I love the long gray coat and out of my comfort zone I ordered a red one a few weeks ago. I wore gray wool pants with it and black booties. I got so many compliments while at a retreat in the Poconos last week. Comfort is key for me, no more heels (pumps occasionally.) Welcome home, I bet your puppies were happy to have you home.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 4, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Hi Doreen, Sometimes out of our comfort zone can be a good thing if we’re remaining tasteful and it’s a look that speaks to the way we want to dress. It sounds wonderful! I can’t even wear pumps anymore, and some flats. I’m in a real foot “bind.” Just picked the puppies up yesterday. Yesterday I went through “training” with them, so the success of their three weeks in school depend on me!! Yikes! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply kim October 4, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Brenda, Just finding your blog via Cindy at Rough Luxe who shared it. I love this and couldn’t agree more. People speak of French women having style, but every time I go to Italy, I find the women so beautifully dressed (and the men), it’s inspiring. Really makes you want to invest in good shoes, good sweaters and quality things. I was just working on a blog post about my trip to Rome this summer where many of the women remind me of Audrey Hepburn in the late 60s with short, chic hair, big sunglasses, and lovely simple clothes. Looking forward to reading more of your blog! Kim

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 4, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Hi Kim, I agree! The women and men in Italy are beautifully dressed. They’re more elegant and classic. I think we talk about the French women because they make great casual clothes look easy, like something we can do, but for the most part, we don’t. American women have become obsessed with the notion everyone “should” wear skin tight leggings and ripped jeans with our butts and camel toes in full view, but unless we have a shapely figure, I’d like to suggest we wear a top that covers those areas. Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you, again! Brenda

  • Kim Fleming Wheeler
    Reply Kim Fleming Wheeler October 4, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Love this especially the part about looking like we are going to Home Depot for grout! I shared this on my Northern California Style page.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace October 4, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Kim, I’m glad this resonated with you and am grateful you shared it on your site! I’ll be stopping by and look forward to getting to know you! Thank you, Brenda

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