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What’s Going On With the Fashion in Rome?

Exploring the Fashion Scene in Rome: A Journey Through Style and Sizing Challenges

Remember the scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts' character enters a luxury clothing store, only to be turned away by snooty sales associates despite having money to spend? My shopping experience in Rome feels eerily similar, but not because of attitude – it’s the sizing situation.

Let’s get personal. As I’ve entered my thirties, my body has changed. No longer a size six, I’m now more of a size ten in US standards, sometimes a twelve due to my larger bust. Shopping has become an adventure in finding clothes that fit comfortably yet fashionably. However, Rome seems to have different ideas. Why is clothes shopping here so difficult?

To illustrate, let's embark on a shopping excursion. You can walk to most areas if you’re aiming for your daily 20,000 steps or opt for the bus – though be prepared for a crowded ride. Walking, however, offers a chance to enjoy Rome’s beauty.

First Stop: Mercatino

If you’re into resale or vintage fashion, Mercatino is a must-visit. This store buys fashion items from customers, so its inventory is handpicked. However, nothing is categorized by size – it’s organized by color and style, making the hunt for your perfect piece a bit of a challenge. Despite the effort, most items I liked were too small.

Thrifting in Trastevere

Trastevere’s Via di S. Francesco a Ripa has several thrift shops in close proximity. Unfortunately, these shops often stock predominantly smaller sizes with few options for larger sizes. Accessories are plentiful, though often overpriced in my opinion.

OVS: A Reliable Option

In the same area is OVS, akin to a Kohl's in the US. Sizes range from extra small to extra large, though I didn’t see a plus-size section. The store features current trends and attracts customers of all ages. I bought two dresses and a pair of pants, though I prefer not to support fast fashion.

Luxury at the Spanish Steps

Fashion lovers, head to the Spanish Steps for luxury brands like Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Armani, and Alexander McQueen. Even if you can’t splurge, window shopping here is a delight. However, finding a size 10? Unlikely. My favorite designer, Moschino, had a dress I loved, but not in my size. Ordering was an option, but I declined – I wanted to try it on before committing to such a high price.

Sitting on the Spanish Steps, feeling a bit defeated, I observed the diverse shapes and sizes of tourists. Given Rome's bustling tourism, why isn’t there a better selection of inclusive clothing? Europe is supposed to be a fashion leader, yet I struggled to find trendy, size-inclusive options.

An epiphany struck: Rome, The Eternal City, is a blend of ancient history, vibrant culture, and modern life. Its cobblestone streets, piazzas, fountains, and cafes offer glimpses of everyday Roman life. Despite the fashion challenges, Rome is rich with history and contemporary flair.

Just then, a Roman police officer blew her whistle and asked me to move from the steps. As I walked away, I realized Rome’s fashion scene might not cater to me, but that’s okay. I’ll spend my money on other experiences, embracing my "Eat, Pray, Love" moment instead.

Ph: Sorbis /

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