Italy has been a firm favourite of mine since my teen years. I don’t know if it’s the fashion, people, food, scenery – most likely a combination of all four – but it feels like a place I can easily fit into, a place where my dreams seem a little more exciting, and even a little closer. This year, we headed to Lake Maggiore, situated in the north of Italy (and a stone’s throw from Milan – another post on that coming soon!). Surrounded by the awe-inspiring scenery of the Italian lakes, the little town of Stresa where we stayed is a place to easily abandon life’s stresses and sink into a holiday that seems only of the fictitious kind. The towering, tree-topped mountains meet the velvety calm of the blue water seamlessly, presenting a scene of the most majestic beauty. Emerging from the mountain’s cavernous tunnels that make up the autostrade, the arresting scenery seemed less oppressive, but more ready to welcome you into a holiday of leisure, and a relief from ‘real life’…
Strolling into Stresa, hotels line the promenade with palatial decadence, their guests meandering the streets outside with understated elegance. There’s a sense of glamour. But don’t mistake me, not the caked-makeup, false lash, heel-clad glamour that’s often forced upon us in England. Here, it’s stripped back. This European style is reflected through every sense of their environment and culture. It’s an endless scene of laid-back cool; from the slightly crumbling but vibrantly painted walls, to the sea of worn-in Hermès sandals.
Each time I visit this fairytale country, I’m caught off-guard by the sheer style that the Italians evoke so instinctively. Nestled in Stresa’s side-streets is a weekly Friday market, where local older ladies don their oversized earrings and shirt dresses to pick up fresh fruit. But there’s nothing strained about it. Even the women with fuchia-painted lips and perfectly quaffed hair walk with such ease that you think they really did ‘wake up like this’. Whenever I travel there, I leave with a new take on style. I’ve learnt that a jumper slung over your shoulders looks a million times better than actually wearing it (duh!?), and that nothing is better than a fuss-free, low pony or bun.
In fashion, this season has definitely been one of blue hues! So what better way to be sartorially ticking boxes, as well as fitting into the surroundings of the deep blue lake, than to wear candy-stripe blues. I only took this small Gucci bag along with me – which I was actually so thankful for! On holiday I never reapply makeup during the day, so it was the perfect size for just fitting my phone, lipstick and money. As for my Olympus Pen EPL7 , I managed to take that around my neck (perfect for when I wanted a quick snap of something!).