As a child you did not go to Sunday dinner at Nonna's, even during a heat wave, without your mutandine. It was as if the mutandine possessed some magical powers that fought off the common cold and the evil eye.
Nonna had a keen sense about the mutandine. If I wore it, she subtly nodded in approval. But if not she gave me a horrified look then grab at my torso, rustling my clothes hysterically.
"Jane, you notta wear you mutandine? Jane, you goin' to catch cold."
Working up a sweat in the middle of the summer I would try to assure her that I would be okay.
"No! Jane you needa the mutandine."
So she would fish out one of Nonno's (that's my grandpa's) mutandine, a great big mutandine that fit me like a dress, so I looked like one of the chipmunks and I'd put my smaller outside shirt over it.
Looking like a fool, Nonna would calm down. Better to look like a fool than be struck with a fever in the middle of July. Satisfied, she would bring me to the table for a nice big bowl of my favorite pasta, which was plain with some olive oil.