By Francesca Belluomini
Note from Flav: Today we have a fantastic article from the gorgeous fashion blogger and author Ms. Francesca Belluomini, whose upcoming book “The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style: Confidence and Sustainable Chic in Ten Struts” aims to ‘empower women to express themselves through their lifestyle and wardrobe’. Empowering women? Beautiful clothes? Sassy writing? Sign us up! Read on to get a preview of Ms. Belluomini’s style, and keep her page tabbed for news on The Cheat Sheet!
Life in the Southern Riviera is beautiful and sunny. Frankly, in comparison with our friends that endure months of snow and temperatures below human tolerance, we enjoy a sort of perennial paradise.
Miami is not exactly one of the fashion capitals. There’s actually a specific “Miami style” that pervades in the minds of those who comes to visit which is, as it were, not so much what I am trying to convey. How can we keep up with cities like Milan, Florence, Rome, London, New York and Paris, where it’s always about fashion even after the month of fashion is over?
The first rule is “don’t follow trends, rather set them”. It’s an ambitious one, I know, and it entails a mix of creativity, curiosity and an eye for the unknown, but that’s ultimately what will bring one a personal style instead of being prompted to buy from social media influencers.
Second, do it like the Italians (or the Parisians or New Yorkers) and get acquainted with the designers, see the collections when they are presented a few months before they are produced and shipped to the stores—that is, learn how to live the life of a showroom. The showroom is like a gallery, where the collections are showcased for a short period of time to boutique buyers, who place orders that are then fulfilled a few months along the line.
It’s true that my two decades in Miami may have smoothed some of my Italian corners, but people here still think I am very Italian, while Italians think I am l’americana.
In the late 50’s Renato Carosone, a musician and song composer from Naples, was singing “Tu vuo’ fa’ l’americano” (You wanna be American): well, here I am going to tell you how to keep it Italian.
- Il caffè is sacred and any time of the day is good for one, but il cappuccino is only in the morning at breakfast—it doesn’t come after lunch.
- The tailor and the cobbler are two essential members of your contacts folder, ideally on speed dial, and when they are good you would drive miles to reach them. You rarely share their number.
- Flip flops are for … never.
- You have a favorite opera composer: you are either team Verdi or Puccini and you have your reasons, memories or anecdotes for this.
- Sit down and “dress the table”, and even if you are alone set the mood and enjoy a plate of spaghetti alle vongole for lunch. Don’t feel guilty or think of how many minutes of treadmill you will have to endure later, which brings us to the next one…
- We just don’t work out.
- Set trends, don’t follow them: know your style, don’t emulate.
- Be 5 to 10 minutes late, always (yes, that includes a collection of trains and airplanes missed).
- Wear linen in the summer and indulge in porcini mushrooms in the fall.
- Leave leggings for the gym. They are not pants.
- Lingerie is serious business.
On that lacy last note, go forth and be fabulous, lovelies!