La Diva Della Via: dressing like a Marchigiana
“Vintage, unique, one-of-a-kind clothing. And you can only get it here!”
His salt-and-pepper hair goes well with his wrinkly face, and he wears a striped sun-kissed shirt with shorts to match. Captain of a clothes booth at Urbino’s Saturday market, he uses his words as bait to reel customers in; I am one of them.
“Ciao bella. What do you need?”
“I’m shopping for clothes to look like I fit in here.” I tell him about the floral patterns and lace tops that a local friend recommends, and the comfortable harem pants that everyone here seems to wear. He responds by tossing a white beaded blouse straight at my chest. Matching pants, floral dresses, and sequined tops follow.
My job at the market is done; my journey complete.
My journey began the moment I first set foot in the Piazza Repubblica, Urbino’s main square. Everything about the location was right: The sun was setting while the sky turned a burnt orange, and I could taste the beer and warm pastries in the air. But something was wrong. Wearing a pair of boyfriend jeans and a lime-green crop top, I looked completely American. No wonder everyone stared. Everyone around me was covered up, and, compared to American fashion, their style was conservative.
Turning to my left, I noticed a pale man with dreadlocks wearing an oversized graphic T-shirt, loose fitting jeans shorts, and black sneakers. A dog walked by his side, leash-less. To my right was a middle-aged woman wearing a dress of colorful patterns complemented by a bright floral scarf and three-inch heels. But by the piazza’s fountain, which was directly in front of me, there was a group of young women all dressed differently. One had on pants in a floral print, another had on a tank top covered by a lace shirt, and the others wore what looked like genie’s pants, with a dramatically lower crotch. They all managed to dress comfortably and still look stylish.