I love this 1929 photograph of these Texas ladies who were probably not as old as they appear. The woman on the left looks like she isn’t wearing a bra or perhaps gravity—and nursing lots of babies—shifted everything south. The other thing that jumps out at me is their apparent lack of joy. They seem to be permanently annoyed, which makes me sad, but in many ways, their life was harder than ours. They also lived through World War I and the Great Depression, so that might account for some of their grim demeanor.
If I could go back in time and tell them I’m thinking about what to pack for my trip to Italy next month, they’d think I’d lost my mind. By 1929, Benito Mussolini had dismantled all semblance of Italian democracy and made himself dictator!
Even so I’d tell them I’m going to Italy with eight women from around the country, including our tour guide, a friend—who’s a certain age and who takes women on tours of Europe—plus another friend I met while walking down the street in New York City a few years ago. She’s a New Yorker who now lives in Florida, and we’ve met in NYC a couple of times since our first meeting. The last time was earlier this summer. We refer to ourselves as the other’s doppelgänger! It’s spooky how many things we have in common, down to the brand and color of paint on our walls. Five days before we join the rest of the group for a week in Tuscany, my Florida friend and a woman who’s the art coordinator for a well known Showtime® TV series and I are meeting to explore Florence and the surrounding area. At the end of the trip, I’ll say goodbye to everyone and take the train to see the Rolling Stones concert in Lucca!
After years of taking women to Europe, our fearless leader knows all the do’s and don’ts about packing. She strongly suggests we bring one carry-on bag so we don’t run the risk of having lost luggage that takes forever—if at all—to catchup with you. I’m reminded of Kim Alexis and her trip to Italy last year where she only took a backpack! Sorry, girlfriend! No can do! While I’m only taking one carry-on packed with clothes, I’m also bringing a weekender with cosmetics, purse, iPad, etc. I’m also bringing my black suede jacket, lined with black, curly Mongolian wool. I’ve named it my Lauren Ezersky jacket because it looks like something you’d find in Lauren’s closet. She’s the queen of cool, black duds. Since the Rolling Stones will be outdoors, at night, in the Italian hills, I’m thinking I’ll need that jacket. I’ll have to wear it and my black leather boots–very rocker chic–on the plane because they’ll never fit in my bags… Am I too old to wear rocker chic? Who cares?
Both Kim and our tour leader suggest we pick one basic color, such as black, tan or gray, and pair them with bright shirts, tees and scarves that all go together. We should bring three pairs of pants, six tops and two pairs of comfortable shoes: wear a pair and pack a pair. After seeing all the amazing fashionistas of a certain age on Instagram, like our own Cherie James, I’m thinking I need to kick things up a notch. I couldn’t find Cherie’s fabulous polka dot skirt in my size, and La Contessa, the Antique Goddess on Instagram has the same skirt, but it’s too big for her and me, so I’ll keep looking.
In addition to some 100 percent cotton tops, a few pieces of jewelry and a white, long-sleeved, sequined t-shirt to wear to the concert, here are a some of the things I hope will fit in my one carry-on bag:
A FUN, JAZZY SKIRT I CAN DRESS DOWN DURING THE DAY WITH A DENIM JACKET. Actually I’ve already bought the purple, satin skirt from Nordstrom’s, and I love it!
BLACK STRAIGHT LEG MID-RISE, STRETCH JEANS, BLACK LEGGINGS AND LEATHER PANTS. The jeans are great for being a tourist and the black leather pants are very rock ‘n’ roll.
Regardless of how much fits in one carry-on or what I wear, I plan on having a blast!