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What My 90-Year-Old Nonna Has Taught Me About Style

Quality Over Quantity, Always

Nonna immigrated to the United States in the early 1950s with her husband, my nonno. Naturally, I had to ask her if she liked fashion in Italy better than in America.

Unsurprisingly, she said Italy without hesitation, referencing her first time shopping after arriving in the U.S.

“I had to go to a communion, and I didn’t have a dress. I told my friend to bring me someplace to buy one.

” She made a very disapproving face and continued, “Oh, I didn’t like it.”

She told me that the dress wasn’t sewn well, and the seams were all sloppy, something she would never stand for in her own sewing work.

“I said, ‘Why did you bring me here?’ and my friend said, ‘It’s a little cheaper.’ I said, ‘Don’t worry about it.

I’m not buying this dress.’”

While my grandfather, a longshoreman, and grandmother, a stay-at-home mother of four, didn’t have much money to spend on things that weren’t vital, such as food on the table, Nonna’s always appreciated quality over everything else and has an appreciation for what makes a piece of clothing valuable, special, and worth saving for a long time to come.

“I would spend more money on a good dress,” she said, despite her small budget at the time, “but I would have it forever.”

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