Ladies of leisure

Fashion & coffee: the two unfailing pleasures of the Italian way of life

The two pleasures imbedded in Italian culture and way of life, especially for women: fashion-shopping and having a coffee. I must say I know few women who don’t enjoy both. It’s an irresistible combination, an expression of pleasure and a way of being.

Coffee is the most consumed beverage in Italy and a major export commodity. Most people, and especially those who have travelled to Italy, are aware that the day begins with an espresso or a cappuccino. Just as in the morning a woman would pair her work attire with a pair of wedges or small heels, a suit jacket or a trench coat, it is also a way of expressing how she feels. An Italian woman knows how to express how she feels (just ask a man!). Just as coffee is the first point of call for the day, so is what you are wearing.

Fashion is one of the things that Italy is renowned for. Most of Europe’s leading fashion houses were born there and reside there. Italy IS fashion. Every major city has streets lined with boutiques. Clothes made with quality, precision and love. Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice. You name it, they have it. From the super expensive to the affordable. It’s how you wear it, work it and feel it. Italy is the Mecca of fashion. What you wear says a lot about you and how you present yourself is important. For an Italian woman it’s part of her being, her ways, her life. Very hard to disagree with that.

The culture of coffee drinking isn’t just about the drink itself. Sure, we all have our favourite way of drinking it, whether it be a macchiato, espresso or cappuccino. It’s what coffee does. It brings people together. It’s a ritual that allows people to connect, relax and be. It’s the social aspect of coffee that makes it beautiful. How many times do we say or hear “Hey let’s meet for coffee?” It’s a way of being that’s become part of us because we love what it represents. Connecting, talking, laughing, drinking, meeting new people, just being.

There is something therapeutic about the ritual of sitting for a coffee. Even sitting alone watching people whilst drinking your coffee. It’s a break; it’s a form of unwinding, and taking a moment to watch the world go by. When travelling to Italy you will most definitely notice the vast number of café bars that have lots of tables outside and people sitting, talking and observing. Italians take the time to do that. To just stop. Take it all in then continue the day. With the busy fast-paced life that we lead we should do more of that. Maybe Italians got it right. Take the time to smell the roses. What better way to do that then to have a coffee?

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