Up on the blog today we are taking a break from our usual posts and welcoming a guest writer—Nina. She is the voice behind A World of Dresses, a website dedicated to travel, fashion, and stories about living overseas. Nina has been living in Spain for three years, working as an English teacher and freelance writer and is currently located in Logroño, Spain. Since we don’t consider ourselves to be nearly as fashion-savvy as Nina, today she is sharing her take on what you should know about fashion in Spain.
Without further ado, we present Nina:
As someone who loves fashion, shopping in a different country is something that I love. I also love to people watch and figure out the trends and styles in a new place. Moving overseas has simply been an excuse to add more things to my closet since I’m actually living in Spain. Luckily if you like fashion like me, you won’t be out of options.
This is a quick guide to fashion and shopping in Spain. You’ll find insight into how Spaniards dress, where to shop and what expressions or words you might need to know.
How Spaniards dress
In general, Spaniards are always put together when they go out in public. Back in the United States, I would often see people going to the grocery store or Starbucks in sweat pants and flip flops. In general, American men dress pretty casually as well, unless they have a reason to dress nicer.
When I say put together, I don’t mean like a suit and tux always. What I mean is a nice pair of jeans, a nice shirt and some nice sneakers or boots. You might see high school students wear more relaxed clothing to school or obviously see people in workout clothes on their way home from the gym. However when Spaniards meet up in a social setting like a meal at a restaurant, drinks or coffee, they put themselves together a bit.
How should you dress if you get invited to such a social event? If it’s a typical meal out or a coffee, jeans, a nice shirt and nice shoes would work fine. If you’re going out drinking and dancing, you might want to scale it up a bit. Some dance clubs won’t let you in if you’re wearing sneakers. Typically men wear jeans and a nice button down while women might wear a dress, a short skirt and top, or jeans with a cute top.
My favorite shops
One thing I love about Spain is in general how affordable the clothing is. Like anywhere, you can find more expensive shops and more budget-friendly shops. Here are a few of my favorites that can be found in almost any Spanish city.
If you are on a budget, Primark is the place to go. While it might not be the best quality, it is cheap! They have everything from clothes to shoes to household items to cosmetics. If you need some inexpensive clothes for a night out, Primark is a great place to find them!
After Primark, I would recommend Zara. Since Zara is a Spanish company, it’s WAY cheaper in Spain than it is in the United States. Mango, Strativarius, Pull and Bear, and Springfield are some other options for affordable clothing in Spain.
My favorite Spanish clothing store is Sfera. You can either find it as a stand alone shop or a section of Corte Ingles. I always find the cutest clothes and shoes there at an affordable price!
A few fashion staples
Living over here, I’ve added a few things I’d consider to be a staple to my closet. These are things can be found at any of the shops listed above, so they’re quite easy to add to your wardrobe.
● A leather jacket. You can find this in various colors. It’s a great way to complete a look.
● Chuck Taylors or Adidas sneakers
● A few nice pairs of skinny jeans
● A cute pair of booties in black or brown
● A small purse for when I go out
In addition to this list, I’ve also added quite a few fun dresses to the mix.
Some of the sizes are the same as the United States and some are different. For example, you’ll find dresses, shirts and jackets in small, medium and large. However when it comes to pants sizes and shoe sizes, things get a little different.
Some shops write the size for several different countries on the tag. If not, you can refer to the size conversion chart in this post.
Expressions for clothing
Before hitting up the shops, you might want to brush up on some expressions and vocabulary related to clothing. Here* are a few words and expressions (aside from basic clothing vocabulary) that might be important to know:
● Talla: size
● Estrenar: a verb that means to do something for the first time. So the first time you wear something, lo estás estrenando!
● Quedarle bien: This verb is used to say that something fits you well and looks good on you.
● Efectivo: paying in cash
● Tarjeta: paying with credit card
Hitting the shops in Spain might seem daunting, but it’s a lot of fun! Now you have an idea of what the fashion world looks like here.
*If you’d like some further vocabulary and expressions for clothes shopping, check out our Easy Spanish post on this topic.