Thursday, April 19, 2007

(Almost) forced to be fashionable

A few weeks ago I decided to finally replace my sunglasses. My kids had stretched the frames to make them fit their grandparents' black lab, and this was not good. So I went into the sunglasses store to have a look.

What did I see? Wall-to-wall sunglasses, all with gigantic lenses. I'm not a gigantic-lenses kind of person, so I asked the man behind the counter if they had anything smaller.

He raised an eyebrow. "But, Signora." Waving a hand toward the display on the counter, à la The Price is Right, he said, "Large sunglasses are the fashion this spring."

"I understand," I said. "But I'd prefer regular-sized frames."

He shrugged, offering a look of pity since I was so blatantly missing the fashion boat. "I'm sorry, Signora. We only have the larger frames. But why don't you try on a pair? I'm sure they would suit you."

Right. Okay, then. When in Rome, right? So I tried on a pair.

I felt like a bug.

Don't get me wrong...if I dressed like a fashion plate and looked something like this in huge glasses:

...then fine. But jeans and a shirt with remnants of dried toddler cookie smeared on the sleeve just doesn't ooze sophistication. I felt more like this woman:By this time, my toddler had flung his cookie at a dog that another customer had brought into the store, and was preparing to climb out of his stroller, so I started to leave.

And that's when I spotted them. In the corner of the store was a small display of last year's glasses.

Aha! I was smug as I brought a pair back to the counter to pay the (discounted) price. The man sniffed. "Oh. I'd forgotten we even had those."

They aren't the perfect pair of sunglasses--they slope up a little, and I would have preferred non-sloping frames. But at least the lenses aren't the size of grapefruits.

Here's a picture of me in my new shades taken by my 5-year-old budding photographer:

An Italian sunglass fashion "don't", I know...

Italians really do follow fashion trends, no matter what they are. All you have to do is sit in the main square, Piazza Unità, and you can tell what's in (and what's out--if I happen to be sitting in the square drinking coffee and you're looking right at me).

Last fall, orange was in, for example. Sure enough, every second person had on an orange sweater, jacket, or shirt. And those who didn't had probably just done a load of laundry, and the orange apparel was still drying out on the balcony.

I've accepted the fact that I'll be the only person in the square with reasonable-sized sunglasses. And for anyone with gigantic sunglasses who thinks I'm fashion-challenged, I have two words for you:




Anonymous said...

Natalie, wanted you to know I have been following, and enjoying, your blog for several months now. Keep up the great work! Hope to see you and your family when you are back in Virginia. Dick Helmuth

Natalie said...

Your comment made my day! Thanks! I'll ask Karen to let me know if you'll be down this summer and hopefully we'll get a chance to see you. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Nat- LOVE your new glasses. You are always the fashion goddess to us!!!!

Love, Scnooks

TinaFerraro said...

Hey, Natalie, the new glasses look sharp! And funny, as I was reading your comments on last year's fashion, I was thinking, "yeah, like everyone wearing orange in Italy last summer," and then that's exactly what you said! In fact, I noticed a particular shade of orange, somewhere between fruit orange and pumpkin, which I now simply refer to as Italian orange. Oh--it's similar to the "Publish Your Comment" bar color here on the blogger. :)

Anyway, another enjoyable post! And fun seeing you, too!

Natalie said...

Thanks, Karen! Can't wait to see you guys this summer. :-)

Tina, you hit the exact shade of Italian orange--the "publish your comment" button on blogger--good eye! :-)