The Milanese uniform - even at grocery stores!
Are you expected to bring your A-game everywhere you go in Milan? Yes.
At least that’s what I assumed initially. No one wears flip-flops here in Milan – ever (though they might be spotted behind closed doors). The Milanese go grocery shopping in style - I've seen LBDs, polka dot midi skirts with adorable blouses and loads and loads of heels. On the other hand, the only times I’ve caught fleeting glimpses of track pants have been when they are paired with a sports bra and sneakers.
Milan has been home since 2017 and I'm still not used to it. Back in India, I made frequent visits to a popular street market where I loaded up on different colours and prints of ‘Rocksters’ (flip-flops in bright colours) – I’ve had pink, gold, black & white polka dots, the works. I even brought along a silver pair to Milan. Guess how many times I’ve worn it?
Back in Bangalore I paired pyjamas with a tee and rocksters to pick up my groceries from the neighbourhood store. Now, I wear semi-formal trousers, a top, a pair of low-heeled shoes, drape on a scarf and apply a dash of make-up to go pick up my take-away order from the near-by ‘Cinese Ristorante’. Silver lining: gives me a lot of photo ops!
The 'Milanese’ have an unspoken mantra: ‘black makes everything more fashionable’. It’s true, I know how often I find myself filled in a bus with black coats and black boots. I look down at the street belowmy window and spot black leather jackets, black dresses, black jeans, black blazers, black hoodies. There are the blues, browns and greys – but they blend into the black sea. Pops of red and pink can be spotted on rare occasion. And the two times I’ve seen yellow in the last 5 months – it was an umbrella!
The more I scrutinised and analysed, I observed classics, trendy street style looks and a lot of the trend I like to call Gen XL. Did a whole lot of over-thinking and I came to the conclusion that my Milanese look was a lot about comfort and monotones. I just had to amp-up my own at-home look next time I went errand-hopping. So I paired loose cotton flared pants in black with a white tie-front cropped tee and sneakers. It was still ‘a tee and pyjama comfort level’ but it worked for the fashion conscious streets of Milan.
When it comes to fashion, I’m quite moody and dress according to what I feel like at that time. I don’t fit into a particular box and I love to experiment. Usually it’s just re-inventing classic looks or a blend of something trendy with something safe and easy. Which made it pretty easy for me to adapt; and now I like that I can own my own every time I step out here in Milan – one of the world’s most formidable fashion capitals.