Browsing is not always part of the equation in small shops and boutiques when shopping for abbigliamento e calzature (clothes and shoes). You are expected to tell the salesperson what you want as soon as you step over the threshold. If you’re not up for hovering salesclerks, head for a department store, such as COIN on Via Rizzoli, 7 or any high-street store on Via Indipendenza, Via Ugo Bassi and Via Rizzoli (also known in Bologna as the Zona T, which turns into a pedestrian-only area on weekends and holidays).
Via D’Azeglio, Via Farini, Piazza Cavour and Via dell’Archiginnasio have many shops carrying elegant fashion items and exclusive boutiques. And if anything other than designer labels simply won’t do, then go to Galleria Cavour, located off Via Farini. More moderately priced, and yet stylish, clothing and shoe shops can, for example, be found on Via San Felice.
If you find a garment that fits well but needs minor alterations, the shop where you buy it will usually offer to do the work for a fee. Many family-run dry cleaners have someone on the premises who can do alterations for less than you’d pay elsewhere.
Mr. Cucito is a low-cost tailoring franchise that can sew on a button for you or reline a jacket, and they have a few stores around the city. For the one nearest to you, check their website www.mrcucito.net.
Sarte (seamstresses) are still in demand here, especially for weddings and special occasions. Many women can refer you to someone they know and trust. Bring a photo of your dream dress – an experienced sarta will be able to copy the design.
Bologna’s well-known zipper store Casa della chiusura lampo (Via San Vitale 2, Tel. 051.231793, www.casadellalampo.it) will make the smallest repair for you and can make that backpack or jacket like new again. They also have an extensive collection of fabrics, buttons and other accessories, for those who prefer to make their own creations and do their own repairs.