As some of you may know from my blog post about bucket lists, I’ve been living a dream of mine for the past month walking El Camino de Santiago throughout Spain with my older brother. Now, the rest of my family has joined me for a little road-tripping around the country, and thankfully my mom brought me some stylish clothes to wear (I’ve never been so excited to put on clean clothes in my life). Whenever I travel, one of the first things I notice is the fashion – I mean duh, how could I not?! After spending more than 35 days in Spain (oof – I forget what real bacon tastes like), I think I’ve gathered enough data points to make some declarations about the styles and trends popular in the country… And let me tell you, the fashion does not disappoint!
Before touring the bigger cities, one of the first things I noticed about Spanish fashion while walking through the smaller towns is the age gap. I saw a lot of adorable old ladies on their way to mass while I walked the Camino, and they were all dressed so elegantly – floral dresses, patterned jackets, brooches, French twists in their hair (or is it called a Spanish twist when in Spain?). Even middle-age women dressed in this classy, but not frumpy, attire, which in the U.S. is usually associated with a more traditional elderly population.
The younger people on the other hand… Let’s just say, I haven’t traveled internationally enough to realize how much fashion can say about a culture. Spain, like much of Europe, is less prude than the United States in that it doesn’t deem nudity/sexuality as improper or taboo. Because of this, girls walking around in bras and extremely tight or short clothing isn’t considered inappropriate – it’s just normal for them. This took me quite a while to get used to as I saw a ton – and I mean a ton – of butt cheek, sticking out of very tight, very short shorts. Would I ever wear clothes like that? No. But if I had been raised in Spain where such clothing is normalized? I don’t know, I probably would! I found this difference in modesty so interesting compared to the States, and it makes me consider what larger role these social norms involving fashion have when it comes to feminism, gender roles, and even the effects that dress codes have in conditioning people to think and act a particular way. Well, I think I just found my next sociology project!
I’ve noticed a lot of trends here in Spain that are currently all over Instagram but that I’ve never seen in real life. (To be fair, I live in a small city in an outdoorsy state where not many people care about fashion so…maybe that’s why.) Regardless, here are a few of the popular styles here in Spain and my thoughts on them. Not to say that these trends aren’t also popular in certain places in the States, but these are just some patterns I’ve noticed in the big cities here (particularly Barcelona)!
- Wearing a fanny pack across your chest. Guys… What even is this trend?!! I’m all for the return of the fanny pack (in an ironic way) but I cannot condone wearing it across your chest. It’s not like I really have boobs, but that has got to be uncomfortable! Not to mention, it’s called a FANNY pack. I don’t know, it just seems pretty ridiculous to me. What are your thoughts??
- Sneakers/athletic shoes with dresses. This street style look has been around for awhile now and clearly isn’t going anywhere. I’m not totally against it – I like the practicality behind the idea, especially in a place like Spain where a lot of people walk everywhere. However, I feel like there are a lot of really unflattering combinations that result from pairing running shoes with a midi dress or something similar. Not sure I could pull this look off myself and I think it requires very particular pieces, but it could be done stylishly…
- Platform shoes. Ladies, platform shoes seem to be everywhere in big Spanish cities! Thick espadrilles, 90s inspired sandals, suede Barbie platform heels… You name it. There is a lot of HEIGHT happening over here. I have no problem with platform shoes, as long the height is done in moderation. I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the different, funky styles! And who doesn’t enjoy being just a little bit taller? Makes me feel powerful and badass.
Overall, it seems to me that Spanish women (but not Spanish teens) seem to be very fashionable. They dress well for every occasion, whether it be to run errands or ride their scooters to work, and they’re never without some stylish shoes. The most common outfit I’ve seen? A sundress with heels. So many dresses all around (especially wrap style), and so many heels. I could never wear high heels on a regular basis, but I love that they rock the look! And I’m all for dressing up all the time, so it makes me giddy to see so many cute dresses and outfits everywhere I look. I’ve been enjoying the fashion so much, it inspired me to branch out a little with some of my own outfits! (Hello, stripes on stripes.) The only other pattern I’ve noticed across Spain is that around half of women tend to go braless… This is one trend I could personally live without, ha!
I didn’t really get an opportunity to go shopping in Spain, but I did look through a lotttt of windows and saw some seriously cool stuff. Like the quick photo I snapped above – it’s a hat/fascinator shop! How amazing is that! It’s hard to tell, but in the back was a workshop with tons of materials and gorgeous headpieces. In Santiago, there was some sort of event going on downtown, so not only did I get to see all the women’s gowns, but I also got to check out the fascinators in their hair! A lot of them were smaller and made of feathers, just like a big hair clip, rather than the crazy ones you see at English events or the Kentucky Derby. So basically… my new life goal is to create my own line of casual fascinators for us to wear in the States (you know, for a night on the town rather than just super fancy occasions). I am ALL about big fun hair accessories and was surprised to find that some Spanish women are too!!
I could probably talk about the fashion and particular pieces I’ve seen all day… But I won’t bore you any longer! The photos I shared today are from a variety of locations, including Muxia, Finisterre, Bilbao, Montserrat, and Barcelona. Stay tuned for more blog posts featuring these outfits!
Have you been to Spain before, and if so, what did you notice about the fashion? Have a great Thursday and weekend, girly!
Miles of smiles,