Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Intermission: the tale of the linen jacket (Sorrento log 7A)

I lay the blame at John Le Carre's feet. His books are filled with dodgy Brits wearing crumpled linen jackets, and in the same way that I have learned geography and history from his books, I have also learned a little dress sense. I bought a jacket in Prague which is a very nice jacket, but it's not made of linen. I bought a jacket in London which is lighter than the Prague jacket, but still not linen. I'd near enough given up the idea of buying a linen jacket.

I should explain why I want a linen jacket: sometimes I would like to dress slightly smarter than I usually do. The jackets which I have seem too formal and certainly too hot for Israel. A linen jacket might well be smart enough but also cool enough.

We were walking the alleyways behind Piazza Tasso in Sorrento on our first evening when we came upon a row of shops selling ladies' clothing in linen. My wife bought a very nice linen jacket for 32 euro. We thought that maybe my time had finally come and that we would be able to buy for me a linen jacket, but no such luck. There are plenty of shops selling ladies' clothing in linen, but none for men. Apparently the Positano fashion industry likes working with linen, but they make mainly (if not exclusively) for the signora.

That evening I tried googling linen jacket Sorrento and obtained an address on Corso Italiano, the main road. I knew that this address was the other side of Piazza Tasso from us, but I had no idea how far. When we returned from visiting Pompeii, I had the opportunity of finding the shop (the train station is on "the other side" for us). I walked along the road, looking for the shop, but didn't find it. After I knew that I had gone too far, I turned back and looked closely at the street numbers. As it happened, occupying the number which I was looking for was Emporio Armani - quite a coincidence. I entered and asked the shop assistant whether she knew where the shop which I was looking for was located. She said that maybe it was in Piano di Sorrento, which is a different place altogether. While I was there, I asked whether she had any linen jackets - there were some suitable items, but a quick look at the price tag dissuaded me. True, it's Armani, but I think that 650 euro for a jacket is a bit out of my league.

We tried other shops but no one seemed to have what I was looking for. The only jackets we found were formal suit jackets, not linen. On the Amalfi coast trip, we saw again plenty of clothes for women but none for men. On a whim, we asked our tour guide, Vanessa, if she knew anywhere in Sorrento which might sell such a jacket. She mentioned a few places; somehow the conversation turned to Capri, and she said that there was a large shop in Ana Capri which almost certainly would sell such an item. We added this to our list of activities for Capri.

Today, we were in Capri. As chance would have it, we arrived in Ana Capri just outside of the store which Vanessa mentioned, so we went in. They had plenty of jackets but seemingly none made of linen. We asked a sales assistant and she took us to an aisle where there were linen jackets of several colours: cream, grey, light blue, dark blue and black. I would have liked light blue but the ladies were of one mind that the jacket had to be either dark blue or black.

Unfortunately they didn't have in stock a jacket in dark blue (let us not forget that my arms are shorter than they should be for my waist size) so I tried several black jackets until we found one suitable. The sleeves had to be shortened slightly, but the shop had a seamstress who could do the alterations. We left the jacket to be altered then did whatever one does in Ana Capri (see separate blog) before returning to the shop and picking up the jacket.

The price? Let's say that it's somewhere between the price of my wife's jacket and the Armani jacket. It's certainly the most expensive piece of clothing that I've ever bought, but that isn't saying very much.

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