Matt arrived with few possessions. In preparation for our trip, he thinned out his closet to the bare minimum and decided that once in Perugia, he would build a wardrobe based on The Italian Look.
During our first week here, Matt has clocked in several hours of shopping. Armed with a few key phrases, he takes afternoon excursions around our neighborhood. Once he finds a promising store, he quickly enlists the help of a salesperson, and after trying on several outfits, turns matters over to him or her saying, “Lei decida” (You decide). This offer always brings enthusiasm. Then colors are selected, choices are narrowed and outfits presented. And that’s where Matt begins to build his knowledge of Italian style. As the hem is pinned up, he learns that Italians wear their pants higher than Americans. The same goes for jacket and blazer cuffs. Men often wear long sleeve shirts in the summer and simply roll up the sleeves if it gets hot. Jeans of all colors are worn, as long as they are tight. And a scarf should be flared in a blazer pocket unless wearing a tie, in which case, it should be smartly folded. And of course, bathing suits should be much tighter and shorter than American standards.
Yesterday, as Matt left the store, dressed in his new clothes, the owner called out, “Che fico!“ Which means something like, “That man looks fantastic!” in the Perugian dialect.