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:
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.