The Sicilian fashion is a stunning medley of traditional and modern styles. First of all, you must know that in Sicily, fashion is not only clothing, but also accessories, shoes and precious fabric you can wear whenever you want. It does not matter if all the items of the Sicilian fashion are made by popular brands or unknown designers, because these items are themselves a brand! Here is what happens to the Sicilian things: just be Sicilian to be a brand!
However, the fashion of Sicily is also more than a brand; it is the brightest symbol of Sicily’s culture and tradition and the greatest witness of the identity of Sicily’s people.
Just for the aforementioned reasons, I decided to write a post to drag you to the wonderful world of the fashion made in Sicily. Read the subsequent paragraphs to know more.
Traditional Sicily fashion
In Sicily, the traditional fashion was made of clothes which were worn on the occasion of religious holidays or historical reenactments. Often, these local events gave rise to the so called Sicily street fashion. These ancient clothes are still used in small inland villages. However, some of these traditional clothes, such as the handkerchief on the head and the apron on the gown aren’t worn not even in their modern version, anymore. The traditional ladies and men’s fashion in Sicily consisted of several clothes made with shapes, materials and different colors. Furthermore, traditional clothes for the daily life were different from the ones for holidays. I explained these differences in the paragraphs below.
Traditional Sicily women’s clothing
The typical Sicilian women’s clothing was made of:
- the fadedda, a linen, cotton or lame long skirt slipping up to the feet, fastened with a waist belt and enriched by a petticoat,
- jippuni, a heavy blouse made with the same fabric of the fadedda,
- a coloured handkerchief put on the shoulders and pinned on the breast,
- azur socks,
- black shoes,
- a cloth on the head.
Depending on the zones of Sicily, some women wore the so called cativellu or l’amuscinu, in Sicilian. It was a black handkerchief put on the head and dropping up to over the knees.
In other zones of Sicily, this clothing was also known as traditional Sicilian shawl, also called “a sciallina”, in the Sicilian language. Before becoming a top rated item of Sicily fashion, this suit was used in the winter by old women and by the ones who was about to age. The shawl marked a sort of sunset of the feminine charm, in the past centuries. In a particular way, the traditional black shawl was worn by Sicilian women during funerals.
Truth to tell, Sicily women always were black dressed from the head to the feet to mourn their deceased ones. That way of dressing was used to exhibit their grief in front of others. Today, shawl is one of the most demanded symbols of women’s Sicily fashion. Just think that I have a wonderful wool black shawl I also wear in the winter over colored evening dresses. I am not a Sicily fashion blogger, but as a Sicilian woman, I love wearing Sicily fashion items.
After the 1950s, the Sicilian shawl became a symbol of feminine seduction and charm, thanks to stunning colored and creative models, not only in wool, but also in cotton thread and lace. Sicily lace would deserve a post aside, because its story is as ancient as the one of Sicily’s fashion is. Sicily shawl can also be crocheted. That is another unmissable cloth in your wardrobe. Lace and crochet shawls are the most refined clothing that a woman can wear to boost her femininity and get sexy and seductive.
The Sicilian shawl is handsewed through the forgotten arts of embroidery and crocheting. Today, it is hard to find embroiderers in Sicily. Maybe, you can still find old Sicilian embroiderers in the small villages of the provinces of Palermo, Catania or in the secluded villages in the province of Enna, such as Agira. Lace is often the final decoration of a dress made with another fabric, such as silk or organza. This decoration needs a challenging work of embroidery with needle and wire to develop a perfect trim on a dress.
For this reason, black lace refined dresses are suitable for evening, while refined white lace dresses are suitable for wedding. Crochet shawl is instead one-piece clothing made with crochet cotton thread. You can wear this fashion item on your shoulders to embellish your evening dress. This type of clothing is still a trendy item of the modern Sicily fashion. Often, it is not so easy to find wonderful models of Sicilian shawls. Fortunately, I found this online shop, where you’ll be able to buy this marvelous symbol of Sicily fashion.
The crochet shawl are made in other European countries, because, as I already said, crocheting is a lost art in Sicily, by now. You can still find Sicilian artisans for another traditional fashion item, namely Sicily scarf. That is a cloth made of silk by true Sicilian artisans who still live and work in my beloved island.
The Sicilian scarf, also called foulard or “u fazzulettu”, in Sicilian, is handmade in pure silk and painted with showy colours and traditional scenes of Sicily, such as lemons, Sicilian carretto and prickly pears (see the image above). I have two of them: one depicted with lemons and another black one with glitters. The Sicilian silk scarf is usually wrapped around the neck in the mild season, forming a perfect accessory for every occasion, by day and by night. It can also be worn over the shoulders as a shawl. You can buy original silk scarfs, made in Sicily, on this online shop.
Traditional Sicily men’s clothing
The traditional men’s clothes were also different upon the various occasions of life. The simplest suit was the one of peasants, because made with the so called vrachi (short trousers) made of goat leather; also the male blouse was always made with goat leather, because was more resistant and waterproof. The traditional Sicily men’s fashion also included fur shoes, the so called shoes of “pilu”, covered with a piece of leather on the tip. These shoes were used by farmers and peasants during the long working hours in the fields, because they needed to keep their feet warm and protected from winter cold.
The other symbols of traditional Sicily fashion for men were:
- velvet trousers, closely fastened with belt on the knees and opened on the sides instead of the front,
- an azur and green waist belt, usually made of fabric,
- the so called panzera, namely a waistcoat with brass bottons,
- the jippuni, a black velvet jacket with many pockets,
- the unforgettable coppola, made of black fabric for workers, brown fabric for farmers and azur fabric for sailors.
Another symbol of traditional Sicily fashion for men was the pompom, used as a tie by peasants.
Today, also the items for Sicily men are in high demand, especially velvet trousers, shirts and velvet jackets.
While some clothes were abandoned and forgotten, some items went through the centuries to shape the unique Sicily’s fashion style launched by famous designers but also by other Italian fashion companies, such as Imperial, which has seats in the North of Italy and in Agrigento and Messina, in Sicily. That is the first made in Italy brand which sells stunning clothing with the prices of an outlet.
Sicily fashion accessories – crochet Sicily bag
As said at the beginning of this post, Sicily fashion also includes accessories such as caps, shoes, bags and jewels. Among these items, there is also an extremely delicious one to wear in every occasion, namely Crochet Sicily bag. This fashion item, also called Sicily bag uncinetto, is a women’s bag finished with another forgotten Sicilian art I already mentioned: crocheting. Through crocheting, which must be performed with a particular needle, the bag is decorated with shiny cotton fabric and turned into a luxury accessory. This women’s bag has been designed by Dolce and Gabbana and is very expensive. Luckily, if you buy this item by an unknown designer, you can buy it at a lower and affordable price. You can do the purchase on this online shop.
After this wonderful parade of brilliant fashion items, I can only tell you to buy and enjoy all of these symbols of Sicily fashion, because, in my island, fashion is the token of a timeless tradition.
Dolce & Gabbana campaign 2014