Out to the Designer Outlets, or Under the Frigid Tuscan Sun
Posted by Andy Steves in on September 15, 2010.
Through my school in Rome, John Cabot “University,” students have the opportunity to take advantage of various day trips. I signed up for two--an organized trip out to the designer outlets near Florence, and a trip to the Tuscany region where we tasted wine, visited a hill town and had an afternoon feast made with local ingredients.
I thought the designer trip would be a good opportunity to pick myself up my first suit ever and some Dolce & Gabbana skivvies. I did both. The week before the trip, I spent some time shopping around the Spanish Steps in Rome to see what was out there. In January and February the Saldis (sales) are still going on, and if you’re lucky, you can find discounts of up to 60 or 70%. I tried on some Zegna, D&G, Versaci, Gucci, and others. I learned two things while shopping. First, to get any attention at all in these nice stores, you have to dress up a bit. And second, as soon as you say you’re interested in a suit, they pull out all the stops. One store I went in to brought out juice, bottled water, and peanuts and crackers as I tried on different makes. I knew once I found the suit I would know for sure. Well in my preliminary searching I never found one.
Fast forward to this designer outlet trip. I tried on some Prada and Gucci but still nothing. Finally I stepped in to Ungaro and tried on a dark blue suit with very subtle pinstripes. It fit perfectly. I thought it over for an hour and had some lady friends come check it out. When at least four girls approve of anything related to fashion, I usually say it’s a safe bet. They concurred so I got it. The next stop was the Dolce & Gabbana outlet. After looking through their suit selection, I was happy with my previous decision. Then I rifled through their underwear pile. I found two pairs that would fit: one camouflage and one navy with the Italian flag on the front. I snagged both.
If there’s one thing I don’t like in this world it is spending money for an opportunity to spend more money but then not spending more money. You take the time and spend the money to go somewhere thinking “OK to make this trip worth it, I have to spend money. But I have a budget too and each time I spend money it hurts the budget…and I don’t want to do that too much either.” You get the point. For me it was worth it, I had friends though that didn’t get anything and just spent the whole time listening to the whiny voices of East coast girls running around with daddy’s credit card just looking for more ways to blow money.
The next day was another early morning. This time I had bought a ticket for a day trip called “Under the Tuscan sun,” which involved going to a hill town called Pienza, doing a wine-tasting in Montepulciano, and eating a three-course feast out at an agriturismo. Pienza would have been cool if we hadn't gone with the same 50 loud East Coasters from the day before. The wine tasting was at a pretty interesting place, but I wasn’t a fan of the wine. I think it was Brunello, which apparently has won awards, so I’m an idiot, but it’s my taste. And the feast was pretty good. It just felt like my experience was stamped out of a cookie cutter, and I was doing the exact same thing as too many other people had in the past. It was a good trip, just not a unique one, the kind that really is memorable.
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