Expressions of the Spring Coat

Every once in a while, I pay homage to a wardrobe item. My preferred focus is one that sits on the fine line between essential and frivolous. Between late March and early May in Rome, there is a brief window where this particular item is used, and then… it vanishes along with any hope for a cool breeze in this sunny, summery city. That piece is the Spring Coat. During this fleeting season, the city is alive with the promise of new beginnings and a break from winter’s dreary grays and browns. It’s the perfect time to wear a coat that’s both practical and stylish, and the spolverino (Italian for “duster coat”) fits the bill perfectly.

I have a small collection of these wonderful items in different shades and fabrics. I define it as a longish jacket, knee-skimming or longer. A jacket that skims the body, it provides just the right amount of protection from the cool air without overly insulating it. It’s also unlined, which gives it a lightness and fluidity that’s perfect for the season. Made from different materials such as knit, leather, light wool, suede, waterproof fabric, and even velvet, its best in a bright and light color or print – an upbeat accent that reflects the new season and a break from Winter’s sensible dark outerwear. On the streets in Rome lately, I’ve seen the trench replace the classic spolverino.

Of course what pairs wonderfully with the Spring Coat … is the Silk scarf! The fluidity and lightness of silk perfectly matches Spring’s attitude.

The Spring Coat window closes all too soon in Rome, giving way to summer’s heat and the rush to seasonally swap the closet (cambio armadio). Most people I know have a summer and winter wardrobe, and twice per year, the big switch occurs! With that, this charmed piece goes the way of all outer layers: tucked in the recesses of the armoir until next year.

Fortunately, the silk scarf transcends the seasons and has its use even in the summer…but that is an homage for another time.