Tuesday, August 15, 2006


"I didn't get much sleep last night
thinking about underwear"

wrote Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Actually, I was thinking about water, but underwear is something else I can go on about, so I will.

Apart from the fuss and palaver it is here to buy some, I'm always amazed at the amount of the stuff some Italian women wear. It is, for instance, virtually impossible to buy a waist slip [petticoat] here, as they are all full-length. And when I watch films set in nineteenth century Italy, such as Il Gattopardo [one of my favourites, especially in its restored version] I wonder how on earth the women managed with all those layers of clothes in the Sicilian heat, even allowing for the fact that the characters depicted had servants to do most tasks for them and to fan them. Were the servants permanently umcomfortable?

Then there is the perennial strap syndrome, a problem not confined to Italy; sundresses and tops with bra straps showing everywhere. In Britain, this has only been deemed OK in the past two or three years. I can remember a time when sleeveless dresses came with litttle tie-backs inside for your straps and these were a nuisance as they used to poke out, too. And when I first came to Italy, women wouldn't go into a city wearing anything resembling a sundress. I am fairly well endowed in the décolleté area, so if I can find strapless bras I'm sure the lovelies approaching size zero can! Since coming here, though I still do my best, I am inclined to think that no one else worries about the protrusion of a strap or two, so why should I?

I've already mentioned that Sicilians don't seem to mind the cold indoors in winter, or at least not as much as Brits and Americans do. Part of the reason for this is that many wear what seem to me to be rather peculiar vests underneath their woolly jumpers: these garments come in fleshy tones of orange and pink and some have polo [turtle] necks. I wonder if I'll ever bring myself to wear one? Watch this space!

1 comment:

Maria said...

I am so excited to be reading your blog. My dad is from Sicily, a small town just outside or Parlermo called Carini. You are doing by living there exactly what I hope to be doing some day soon! I have added you to my Favorites List... I look forward to reading! ~M


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