Believe it or not, I am not one to judge a book by its cover (No… seriously). God knows that I certainly had a distinct, wacky sense of fashion back in my high school days, often dressing like the bastard love child of Prince and Madonna (see photographic evidence below)… But though I am now in my 30s, and although I’ve toned down my clothes, hair, and makeup quite a bit, there is still a girly-girl part of me that notices and appreciates tasteful fashion.
Unfortunately, Buenos Aires is not the place to find it.
As y’all know, I have been living in here for a good 7+ years, and in that time, there isn’t much that I haven’t heard or seen here by this point. This also includes clothes.
So, without further adieu, this Fashion Police wannabee presents, “Fashion Bashin’ – The Good, the Bad, and the (F)ugly: Buenos Aires Edition!”
Let us start on a positive note first with …
- Pretty scarves – Though I’m not a scarf wearer, scarves appear to be a fashion staple here, regardless of the occasion, regardless of the weather. Pretty much all types, sizes, materials, colors, and patterns are easy to find. Typically worn “necktie” style. Simple yet classy.
- Clunky, colorful jewelry – Easily found at local ferias, overpriced, trendy boutiques in Palermo, on the blankets of materos, and any place in between. I’ve found some interesting stuff, but as with most things, you often have to sift through a bunch of junk to find something unique. In any case, I approve!
- Shirts with English (or Engrish) Printed on Them: The influence and status of English in Argentina is undeniable, including in what is considered de la moda. Though I’ve seen some grammatically and orthographically incorrect English on clothes, it doesn’t matter, it’s always a hoot. Please see Exhibit A.
Moving on, The Bad:
- Harem pants – Since I came to Argentina, for the life of me, this has struck me as one of the dumbest facets of fashion here. I just cannot understand how this is considered tasteful, and I can’t understand why the trend has refused to die. It wasn’t flattering for MC Hammer back in the early 90s and it CERTAINLY isn’t now on Porteñas! Tapered ankles and drop crotches? NoNoNoNoNoNo.
- Older women who dress waaaaaay too young – It isn’t hard for me to spot women my own mother’s age who dress in mini skirts, spaghetti strap tops, and too tight clothes. It looks cheap and sad. I am not being ageist, but I am just not feeling the GILF look. Sorry.
(Side note- No image for now… I’m not about to photograph random old women in the streets. Yes, I am weird, but a creeper, I am not).
- High-as-hell platform shoes –
(For whyyyyy???). Kind of gives me very sad Spice Girl-reject vibe. I can’t help but cringe when I see these mile-high monstrosities on display in shoe stores. Footwear like mile-high birkenstocks just seems unnatural to me. I reiterate, while I am not an authority on being classy (*as I use my keys to scratch my leg just now*), if you’re wearing any kind of shoes with a sole or heel greater than three inches, you’re going to look like a stripper. I would know.
- Camel toe shoes –
Another trend that just never goes away. No. Just no.
- Piercings, Piercings everywhere! – I have had my own ears, nose, and even belly button pierced during my stupidly impressionable days. However, piercings in your septum, cheeks, labret, between your eyes, and other conspicuous, unorthodox places above the neck just don’t seem very appealing to me. I can’t help but wonder what these people do for work.
And finally, The (F)ugly (Yick):
- Size Availability (or Lackthereof) – It seems to me that clothes here are generally sold in one of two sizes- XS and S. At a bodacious US size 16, I simply can’t buy clothes here- they are far too small. A few years ago, when I was winter coat shopping on Calle Florida (admittedly my first mistake), I came across a lovely red coat that seemed to be my size… And it fit! I tried it on again in front of the saleslady, who voiced her seal of approval:
“Te queda muy bien… Y aún mejor cuando te bajes unos kilos… [Pausa breve] Por motivos de salud!”
“It looks great on you… And even better when you lose a few kilos… [Brief pause] For health reasons!”
*Grumble Grumble Grumble*
- Talles Para Gordos/Talles Especiales – As I am apparently a big ol’ fatty fat-fat by Buenos Aires standards (at least according to the aforementioned saleswoman), if I ever do need to resort to buying something here, I must find my clothes in specialty stores. I can distinguish these stores by their signs boasting, “Talles Especiales” or “Talles Para Gordos” (“Special Sizes”/”Sizes for Fat People”). Yes, really. Curvy? Full Figured? Plus Size? No… Just fat.
What they do have in their selection tends to be garments that not even my grandmother would have worn. Elastic waist bands, unsightly flower prints, and muu-muus everywhere!
- Craptastic Quality & Expensive – It’s bad enough that the clothes here often seem to fray after just the first wear, but they are easily at least twice the price for what I would pay in the United States. My kingdom for a TJ Maxx!
So there you have it. Fashion bashin’ in Buenos Aires. Is there anything that you might add to any of the lists? Anything you would change? Let me know! -V.V.