Northern Italian Street Style

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I’ve mentioned a few times that it is customary for Italian families to stroll.  “La passeggiata” is to Italians what tomato sauce is to spaghetti – a necessity!  This family was out for their mid-afternoon walk at 5 pm, when the stores have reopened from the “Pausa Pranzo”lunch break, and the whole city comes to life again.

 

 

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In fact if you are ever in ANY mid-sized Italian city and you feel as though the streets are deserted I encourage you to wait until after 4 pm and then reevaluate!

 

Codes of Conduct

 

My younger sister visited me last week.  It was so great to see her and her boyfriend, and it was a little weird to think that nearly TWO YEARS has gone by since the last time we were together.  That’s just the way it is when you live on the other side of the ocean I guess!

 

One of the things I often found myself explaining were the many unwritten rules that Italians live by.  Foreigners just can’t seem to get their heads around things like:

 

A cappuccino is for breakfast:

You rarely see an Italian having a cappuccino at 2 pm.  The cappuccino, usually made with whole milk, is reserved as a breakfast drink.  The idea being that it is very filling and heavy on the calories so you’ll want to have it for breakfast and not after lunch.  After lunch you can have a regular espresso, or an espresso “macchiato”, one “marked” with a bit of warm milk.

 

You Don’t Walk While Eating …. or Even Drinking:

You will rarely see an Italian munching on a sandwich while they walk.  I remember in Toronto, you would see people on the subway chowing down on their lunch, or walking with a big pita or hotdog in one hand and a coke in the other.  Italians believe in stopping for their meals.  Even if you are in a rush and need to grab something from a “bar” (another Italian word for a cafe/pit stop), you still stop and consume, instead of pay and eat while you go.

 

The only exception to this rule is if you are under 6 years old, in which case you have a constant bread stick or piece of pizza being offered to you by your parents at any given time!

 

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Dinner is after 7:30 pm

This one was HARD for me at first, as I was usually STARVING at 6:30 pm!  You will rarely find any restaurants open and serving before 7:30 pm in Italy.  The best way to stave off hunger is with an aperitivo (from 5 – 7pm) (I’ve written about the aperitivo, Italian “happy hour” here) or with a tea and cookies (from 3pm – 5pm).  Everything has its place in Italian culture, which brings me back to this lovely family.

 

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What They Wore

I love how this whole family was dressed well for their mid-evening passeggiata without being over dressed.  I’ve written before here about Italian “Regional Dressing” and how every area of Italy has its own style.  You can practically tell who is from where just based on their clothes.  I could tell from afar that this couple was from Modena!  The stylish dad was wearing a type of “montgomery”, (how Italians refer to duffle coats, which I’ve written before about here), and Hogan shoes.  I had never even heard of Hogan shoes before living in Modena, but in Northern Italy they are just as well known as Nike!

 

This pretty and stylish mom was wearing a real fur coat.  Wearing real fur is absolutely normal in Modena, and for the next few weeks I’ll be sharing different looks from all walks of life in real fur.  This wasn’t really planned but EVERYONE I’ve been photographing is wearing fur!

 

 

Strangely enough, it is not a very hot debate here regarding animal rights because people consume less, in general, and buy “the best”, meaning the real deal.  Most women over the age of 18 have a real fur coat and they wear it YEARLY until it needs repairing not until it needs to be replaced.  You’ll often see groups of “Signore”, upper middle class women, over the age of 50, all in their big fur coats and hats in a “bar” (cafe) having cappuccinos together for breakfast!

 

These rules of conduct amongst Italians were some of the things that bothered me 7 years ago when I first moved here.  Now, they are the things that I love.  These unwritten codes give me a sense of stability, culture and comfort. If only I could muster up the courage to wear my mom’s vintage fur coat from the 60s.  The Canadian in me still thinks it is wrong, the Italian in me thinks it is perfect for the weather, looks incredible and is probably better to wear it than letting it sit in a closet for another 40 years!

 

What do you think?

 

 

Now onto YOUR style…

#REASONSTODRESS Real Mom Street Style Linkup

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week! If you would like to co-host the #reasonstodress linkup I would love to have you, please feel free to email me at reasonstodress@gmail.com ! Thank you to my co-host last week Ada from the Elegance and Mommyhood!

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  • Clairejustineo

    Lovely outfit, great coat..

    Thanks for the invite :):)

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  • I love fur. There I said it. I have a couple myself however I had to leave them back in Virginia this time because I had about a 150lbs of luggage!

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    • NEXT TIME Madaline!! I used a shipping company to get like 10 boxes of stuff over here. You should ship it, then buy a ticket to Bologna and we’ll go have cocktails in our fur together! BTW Italo is having a 9 euro sale with Groupon this week, all trains departing form Rome are on sale!! And THANK YOU for linking up, I will visit you, comment and share this afternoon!

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      • OMG. Thank you so much for letting me know about the train tickets! I want to take Pietro to Florence for his birthday!

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  • I think actually stopping to eat is a very good thing for your metabolism 😉 But I admit I had to get used to some shops being closed for a long lunch break. Of course, nowadays there are plenty places, especially the big malls, or shops that belong to big chains, that don’t close anymore.

    Cappuccino in the afternoon? I’ll totally do it! Not right after lunch so. But as merenda? Certo. Then I’ll be told I’m barbaric 😉

    Alex – Funky Jungle

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  • I know. That’s the thing!

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  • Zaz

    It’s a tricky one about real fur isn’t it? In many senses it does feel quite wrong, although we don’t hesitate to wear leather shoes or carry leather handbags, unless you’re very conscious of these things. I am (like a typical Libran!) in the middle – I figure if I’ll eat it I’ll wear it. Thus I would wear rabbit and leather, but pretty much nothing else fur-wise, possibly fox as they are so rife they do need culling to protect farmlands and animals (although I am against hunting as a sport). I love your window into Italian culture Angie. Thanks so much for hosting this lovely linkup. X

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    • Yes, that is a very good way of thinking about it. I work with leather and so does my husband’s whole family so needless to say I don’t have much of an issue with leather. I also eat rabbit…and horse meat. It’s totally a thing in Italy. North Americans would cringe at the idea of eating a horse yet no one seems to be too upset about horse hair “cavallino” fur on designer bags and shoes. Thank you so much for joining the linkup Zaz, I would love to have you co-host whenever you want!

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  • Eh, si.. ‘Fare due passi’ is a must! Too bad here in Dubai it is too hot for due passi.. Buona giornata!

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    • Really? Too hot to take a walk? What are some of the average temperatures?

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      • Dubai has 7 months of summer yearly and during this time temperature could go all the way to 50 degrees. During the ‘winter’ it is mostly like spring in Italy and that happens for a couple of months. Now the temperature is about 25. We take advantage of this time of the year to be outdoor, but most of the time during the year we stay indoor or go to the mall which after a while get so boring

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  • Sorry, typo error.. your sister and her family

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    • Actually I should clarify my post, this is not my sister or her family! Every week I take random stranger’s photographs!!! I know its a little strange!

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      • Yes, I actually realised that after I posted the message! It’s not strange, I did Dubai Street Style too last year 🙂

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  • What a gorgeous and super chic family! I love all your picks from last week, all great looks.
    Marta
    http://www.sweatersstripesandsweets.com

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    • Marta I’ll have to check out your post today perhaps I’ll feature you next week because it has been a while, you also always have great style.

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  • We are always rushing and I think it’s great that Italians stop to enjoy their meal! It probably results in less stress in the long run! I don’t think I could hold out until after 7:00 though! What a cute family! Love their style!

    Jill
    Doused
    In Pink

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    • I would almost be fainting by 7, but it is amazing how you get used to it. Now we never eat before 8:30!!! Hmmm, that’s probably because I can never seem to have dinner ready before then!

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  • Thanks for the feature, lady! 🙂 Great link up!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  • ADA

    Everyone in Italy is so perfectly dressed for that casual-chic, urban look: moms and dads. What a stylish, beautiful couple. Oh and hey thanks for the shout-out!

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    • your welcome Ada, thank you so much for linking up. Your casual chic style is just as great as any Italian’s!

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  • Such a lovely and stylish family! I always so love reading about the Italian culture and differences in our societies. Sounds like such a breath of fresh air at times. Thanks so sharing, Angie!

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    • It is a breath of fresh air….as long as your not standing behind someone that is smoking…which in Italy is also VERY common!!!

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  • Happinessatmidlife

    Very stylish family. I think it would be tough for me to eat dinner this late too. Before my son, I ate that late but now we eat around 6 and we are starving.

    Alice
    http://www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Hope to see you for TBT Fashion link up.

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  • Thank you so much for featuring my look Angie! Every time I read any of your posts I want to go back to Italy. I love everything italian, from food to fashion they know how to do it right and enjoy life! Great street style look as well 🙂
    Nora
    http://www.jacketsociety.com

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  • Catherine

    I love to read about italian way of life, great post

    Catherine
    Joly Look

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  • I’m half-French, so I am very well-versed in many of these customs. I think stopping to enjoy a meal is a very good habit. We North Americans eat on the run far too often, and I don’t think it’s good for us. Please share more about life in Italy; I enjoy reading your posts about it!
    I think it’s fine to wear vintage fur in the manner you’ve described here. I have a few pieces and I wear them in a similar manner.
    Thanks for hosting the linkup again!

    Alicia
    spashionista.com

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  • Tracy Miller

    What a stylish family! I would have a hard time eating so late but I’m sure I would get used to it like you did.

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  • Love these insider tips and your shoes!! Thanks for linking up!

    xx, Leah / Eat Pray Wear Love

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  • This is definitely a stylish family! I remember when I was studying abroad in Spain and visited Milan for a couple of days, everyone was out at night strolling the city and looking like they just came out of a fashion show. I was impressed. Thanks for the feature! ~Cynthia

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  • C.K. @ 50 Days of No Grey

    Love the Italian Street Style family! Here on the West Coast, we are definitely more casual.

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  • jess

    First of all, thank you for featuring my neutral outfit! I appreciate it 🙂 Second, I love your series on cultural info on Italy. I still hope to see part of the country at some point, and this is very interesting. I didnt know about the cappachino, knew that dinner was later than what i eat it. Nice photos of the family, love the woman’s shoes and her hubby’s style. Great coat on her as well. I wish I was there!!

    Have a wonderful week!
    from the link up, please stop by, jess xx

    http://www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com/

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  • So, do they get their fur coats repaired rather than buy new ones? Where would you even take a fur coat for repairing?

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  • Chrissy

    I’m so happy that we visited!! Love you guys and I loved just hanging out, walking around the town and stopping to eat… A LOT!!!

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  • They are a lovely family! It is funny the ‘rules’ of different societies. My cousin is spending a year living with my family in Malaysia and she’s getting quite the education in what’s appropriate and not appropriate in that part of the world.
    My great-grandma had a lovely mink coat she wore for several decades, before she died when I was just a few years old. When I was in college, my grandma offered to give it to me, as I have the same small frame as my great-grandma, but I knew I’d never dare to wear it in my college town because wearing real fur in that town would definitely draw people to come up to you and tell you exactly how ill they think of you. So, the coat has been hanging in my grandma’s closet for twenty years…

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