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I'm a 21-year-old journalism student. I spent last semester living in Florence, Italy. These are my adventures.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Diversity Diary #6

Fashion. It's not really high on my daily priority list. I certainly don't want to look like a slob, and I'd like to think I do a pretty good job of that. 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° 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 on 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.

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