I find clothes shopping in Italy rough, and I know I’m not the only one.
It’s not just the sales clerks that either (a) won’t leave you alone to browse or (b) won’t wait on you even when you ask.
It’s more about finding the right clothes in the right style with the right fit at the right price.
Aw, I’m just going to say it: there isn’t a pair of pants in Italy that I like, that will fit me, and that will not cost more than a plot of farmable Calabrian land.
No, I haven’t scoured every store from the Alps to the Aspromonte, but I’ve been here almost four years, and I’ve never (that’s mai) bought a pair of pants here. I’ve been able to get along with my basic, if somewhat outdated, wardrobe up until now, but another complication has been added to the mix.
Over this time, I’ve lost somewhere around 35 pounds (16 kilos) in total. It’s been gradual because I haven’t actually been dieting, per se. Eating better? Absolutely. Moving more? For sure. And so as my lifestyle has changed, so has my pants size, and as I realized last week, the old ones just aren’t even passable anymore.
Isn’t this supposed to be the fun part of losing weight–when you get to go out and buy new clothes in a size you never thought you’d see?
Yeah well, it hasn’t been enjoyable for a variety of reasons, one being that I have no idea what size I actually am. Even in American sizes, I’m not sure, but at least I know what I’m not based on my current clothes.
Sure there are handy little online conversion charts to help, but you know what? Even when I try on pants of the European sizes I (allegedly) used to be (35 pounds/16 kilos ago), they don’t fit!
I’ve concluded that it’s a problem of body type and shape rather than of size; for instance, if I find a pair of pants that fit my thighs and bum, the waist is enormous. Anything that would fit my waist requires squeezing my legs into them until my torso is held up by two salsiccie (sausages).
Not a good look on anyone, I don’t think.
Then there’s a little thing called “length” and Italians only believe in one, so it’s off to the tailor’s to spend more euros if you aren’t whatever that height is!
And don’t even get me started on the low-rise fad that won’t die.
On that subject, let’s talk a little more about la moda. Even if I could find a pair of pants that fit, finding them in a style I like would be quite difficult. Plain old jeans (oh, I don’t know, like from the Gap) are hard to find. Many have sequins or other stitching to liven them up.
Apparently I prefer my jeans rather deadened.
I’ve never been a big fan of bedazzled anything, but now, pushing 31, well, I find such jeans even less appropriate (although many of my Italian colleagues older than me don’t see a problem).
I haven’t mentioned the cost yet, but believe me, clothes are not cheap here (except for the staples like socks and underwear which you can get at the weekly market). I’m simply not willing to spend a small fortune on a pair of slutty-looking jeans (yeah, I said it) that make it difficult to breathe and sit at the same time, all while showing the crack o’ my bum to the world.
And so I’m stuck in pants limbo.
Ordering online is an option, but for how long it would take something to get here (if it arrives at all) coupled with how expensive it is to ship and, oh, have I mentioned that I have no idea what size I am? Probably not worth the hassle.
I think I just may have to spring for a cheap Ryan Air flight to London where it is rumoured (get it?) that women built like me exist.
Either that, or, fellow expat women, sisters if you will, it’s time to start an importing business.
Che ne pensate?
(What do you think?)
[tags]shopping in italy, pants, trousers, jeans[/tags]