Notes from Rome Part 3

Advertisement

This post represents the last of my notes from Rome. Things which work well in one locality don’t always travel well to work in another – just ask anybody who’s brought back a pair of cowboy boots from the US. Nevertheless, they can get you thinking in the right direction.

Things to consider and lessons to learn:

Trainer Shoes

rome-footwear

I expected to see plenty of elegant slim welted Blake Stitched leather shoes when in Rome. Not a bit of it. It seems Italians know the limitations of Blake Stitched shoes for wet weather as well as the rest of us do. And so they pick entirely practical options with rubber soles. These came in two forms; by far the most popular is the trainer shoe – as pictured above. This half-breed footwear is one I’ve warmed to in recent years. More practical for lengthy periods of ankle work than straight shoes, but substantially more elegant than trainers and luggers. The other shoe type to be found was chukka boots, again with heavy duty Dainite Rubber soles. However, in each case the preferred material for the upper was suede, even in wet weather. Brave fellows.

Simple Colour Pallet

The prevalence of suede footwear fitted very well with the reserved colour pallet that most men exhibited; the suede being used to add texture and interest. Black, Navy and Beige – particularly in the trousering department were the colours adopted – not a lot of grey surprisingly.

Although entirely in keeping with the season, it’s not a colour pallet to excite the imagination. However, the clever mixing of texture within this limited colour range provided depth and interest. So a black shiny synthetic puffa jacket might be paired with beige moleskin jeans and brown or black suede trainer shoes. There is elegance in simplicity, and that is the fundamental lesson here.

They Know The Value of Scarves

value-of-a-scarf

It seems curious that a peoples’ of the Mediterranean should show the greatest appreciation for scarves. The chap pictured above is typical of what I found and saw. Take a very simple colour pallet and use the scarf to add an additional note, breaking up the monotony and effectively providing your personal style cue.

Fur Collars

I’m a fairly open minded sort, but you’ll never convince me that what my wardrobe needs is the odd fur collar. But the Roman’s wore them prolifically and so they credit a mention at least.

Layering and The Appearance of Layering

adrian-holdsworth2

I’m a big fan of layering clothes, it’s almost an obsession. The Italians are masters at it, so it is not surprising that they’ve taken it to a different level. Whatever your size the one disadvantage of layering clothes is that, while you’re adding depth and texture you’re also adding bulk, which can thicken or straighten your silhouette. This is true no matter what size or shape you are.

The Italians have worked around this by creating jackets with zipped inlays (as demonstrated by the chap in the Photo, Adrian Holdsworth of London’s Volpe). This creates the illusion of layering without the bulk.

And there in a nutshell is my weekend in Rome – minus the hangovers.


Advertisement

Andrew Williams blogs at BespokeMe and is based in London. His clothing label Bulldog & Wasp represents his philosophy that style is a frame of mind not just a state of dress.

Comments

  1. J.H. says:

    Considering that many – maybe even most – chukka boots are made of water-repellent suede, I wouldn’t consider them to be a wet-weather footwear for “brave fellows”. They’re very practical and require less maintenance than calf leather ones. Just a quick spray of suede protector once in a forthnight or two.

    I wear my suede chukkas in scandinavian winter and spring – latter being especially wet and slushy, due to all that melting snow. They won’t let the moisture through.

    So, I’d consider that choice of our Roman cousins a smart and well educated one.

  2. Andrew says:

    That’s interesting you say that. That really isn’t my experience in the UK. But if what you say is true that makes a lot more sense.
    A

  3. denys says:

    Spot on commentary. I lived for two years in Rome. If you keep your eyes open and have any interest in clothes everyday has lessons in what works, looks good, and that quality counts.