I heard a lot before I left the US about how well-dressed Spanish women are. “Be prepared to wear heels ALL THE TIME,” was a common warning. Jean shorts, sweats, and any sandal resembling a flip-flop would be completely out of place here, I was told. Many well-meaning souls advised me to leave out shorts all together – and this when I was headed to a part of the country that averages 90 degrees in September.
Now that I’m here, I’m beginning to realize there’s been a little bit of exaggerating going on. First of all, shorts are completely commonplace – yes, even jorts. Granted, you won’t see them on women over 25 generally, but for the youth of the day it’s no big deal to show some leg. Secondly, not everyone dresses well here. (I can hear the gasps of shock from across the Atlantic.) There’s an epidemic of poorly-worded English message tees, and I think if I see one more psychedelically patterned drop-crotch pant (where do they find these things?) I’ll go insane. But when the women get it right, they really get it right!
Take this charming young lady, for instance. Those preppy loafers are the fall shoe of my dreams. Really, everything about her outfit is simple – plain tee, cotton skirt, structured bag – but together, it creates a cohesive outfit. I’m dying to channel her ladylike style in the near future.
plaza de alfalfa
The classic sensibility of chic youngsters is pretty obviously inspired by the previous generation. This woman is the epitome of put-together casual – I’m sorry, but linen wide-leg jade green slacks? WITH A LEOPARD BELT? I have found my people. I never want to leave.
plaza del salvador (excuse the quality, settings got messed up on my camera.)
I think the most striking thing about Spanish style is the complete lack of layering. These women manage to be chic with just two pieces – a top and a bottom. I’m so used to seeing street style snaps of girls swathed in coats on top of twelve sweaters on top of neon tanks that the simplicity of Spanish fashion is just plain refreshing. This woman lets the embellishment on her shoulders do all the heavy lifting, then adds a few simple extras with bangles, a woven belt, and desert booties. So cute, and so easy to put together!
Since I’ve been here, I’ve found myself paring down too. I’m sure it’s partly due to the extreme heat – it’s only now starting to cool down to anything below 32C – but it’s also a side effect of living amongst these classically chic ladies. And yes, there definitely are more well-dressed women here than back home – no Columbia fleece vests in sight!