Friday, September 27, 2013

From Milan to Missoula

From Milan to Missoula
Bailey Chauner

Greeted from an aged brick apartment complex, Turk and I are welcomed inside by a sandy blonde, slender girl with the cheekbones envied by any bronzer obsesser.  Sydney, a junior in the journalism program, recently returned to the United States from Milan, Italy.  After spending almost a year abroad Turk and I were eager to get Sydney’s perspective about living in one of the fashion capitals of the world.

Headquarters to the household names Armani, Prada, and Dolce and Gabbana, Milan is synonymous with high fashion. However, is the presence of such esteemed and often unattainable brands translated down into the Milanese local style?  We wanted to know. How does a person dress appropriately in a place where Valentino is located around the corner?  

“Buying expensive clothing, doesn’t guarantee good style,” Sydney answers.  

With a cold season that averages 51 degrees fahrenheit and 78 in the warm season, Milan has a fairly mild climate. Explaining the two occasions of snowfall during her stay, heavy winter jackets were nearly non existent. Most of the jacket market is dominated by leather and peacoats. So, what guarantees style in a mecca of high fashion designers and prestige?

Sydney continues, “most Milanese wear black, dark, and earth tones.  Very little color is worn.  The majority of people in Milan dress in a sophisticated and basic manner and add a unique article of clothing or accessory to make their look distinct.”

As she spoke, she shuffled through her closet and withdrew the three items to guarantee a stylish Milan worthy look: a leather jacket, chelsea boots, and an interesting or unique piece or accessory.

First, a leather jacket is the easiest way to look fashionable.  A leather jacket is a timeless piece that never goes out of style.  Milanese consider a leather jacket a staple of their wardrobe and Sydney was soon to follow. Her black leather jacket is individualized with statments zippers and pockets.

Photos by Turk Ismail

Second, she showed us her leather oxblood chelsea boots. Described as “worn by everyone” chelsea boots are trendy and practical footwear to ensure a local Milan worthy look. Burgundy or dark red colored boots are the most popular color seen in Milan.

Finally, Sydney dons her unique piece, a silk varsity inspired jacket. Embellished with detailed embroidery of a stitched bird and flowers, this jacket could add interest to any basic item.

Granted, the streets in Missoula and Milan pose some differences. Missoula is guaranteed more snow while high heels are practical in Milan almost year round. Missoula may not be running with ladies holding full shopping bags from the world’s most reputable fashion designers, but after speaking with Sydney, neither is Milan.

Milan is a city where high fashion intercepts everyday life and locals find their niche to express themselves through clothing. Chelsea boots, a leather jacket, and unique piece are key to channel your inner Milanese even when strolling the streets 5,000 miles away in Missoula, Montana.