I believe it was the great writer Henry Miller who said, "One's destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things." Goofy inspirational quote (that I googled) aside, what I found while visiting Italy and France this August was a perspective change akin to the one Miller prophesies. Never before have I traveled so far beyond my home, and I was excited to have two weeks immersed in cultures that have been enamored with for years.
Italy and France, in my humble opinion, hold the gold standard for fashion design and creation. These cultures influence my personal style massively. Undoubtedly, the best part of the trip was immersing myself in the cultural fashion identities of the destinations. There was fashion. Fashion like I have never seen. Boutiques filled with clothing I have only seen online. Streets full of people kitted to the nines. It was incredible and inspiring. When one is travelling to areas of the world that has such a heavy hand of influence on style, it is imperative you dress the part. So, of course, I compiled a little photo journal from my travels centered around what I wore. Enjoy:
The first stop on our tour was to the famous Italian city of canals. I decided to match my fit to the laid-back ethos of the maritime destination by wearing a flowy floral shirt with some navy straight leg trousers and sneaks. Venice is a vibrant city, with water flowing at every turn, and colorful architecture. Of course my fit had to coordinate.
The birthplace of the renaissance boasted robust architecture, incredibly historic art, the headquarters for world-renowned fashion houses like Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo, some top class gelato, and Tuscan cuisine. It was also HOT. Walking around a city that is mostly stone in 90 degree weather is no joke. By now you should all know I don't do shorts, so to combat the heat, I was dripped in linen. The first outfit is a light pink cuban collared shirt with some loose fit distressed denim pants and loafers. On the next day I rocked an olive-colored, linen cuban collared shirt, blue linen trousers, Birkenstock sandals and a Prada cross body bag. "This ain't a purse, its a satchel!"
Ah, the eternal city. The Italian capital is nothing short of the stuff of dreams. Every brick historic, every corner has thousands of years worth of stories to tell. Given the grandiose aura of my environment, I had to dress with cosmopolitan flair. A loose floral shirt, some slim trousers and loafers was a great choice for a day out on the town. The next outfit is my Sunday best. You know I had to try my hand at styling an Italian-inspired approach to tailoring! I busted out my teal double breasted suit and wore it with some loafers and a white tee. I felt properly sprezzatura in this rig. For those of you lost on the Italian, sprezzatura is an ideology of dressing in impeccable and formal clothing, but styling it with a nonchalant and relaxed air about yourself. I hope I hit it on the nose.
There was no place I was looking forward to more than this. Paris was everything I dreamed and more. The people, food, architecture, history, art and fashion of the city is just breathtaking. I could spend hours rolling through how this visit to Paris made all my dreams come true, but I'll hold back (for now). The clothing, as expected, was incredible! The people dress with such intuition of styling and expression, making for some unique ideas in their outfits. If you get away from the touristy areas, the streets look like a runway for the newest collection of some cool kid brand you'll never be cool enough to own. That's the only way I can describe it! Regardless, I styled with fairly classic Parisian minimalism in mind and stayed true to my own style. Day 1 saw me in a navy suit, white sneaks and light blue tee with flower embroidery. Day 2 saw me mimicking the French flag's colors in some red side striped trousers, white tee and double breasted blue blazer. Understated, yet full of cool details.
And there you have it! A comprehensive breakdown of how I styled myself throughout my Italian and Parisian vacation! This was the first time I've ever gone crossed the pond, and it was an amazing experience I won't forget. But enough about me. Which outfit was your favorite? Have you ever been to either country? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
Words by: Avery Naman
Photos: Bella Naman