Rewind to three weeks ago: my alumni association hired a stylist to speak to us. She gave an interesting demonstration on how to tie scarves, then asked for questions. I seized on the opportunity to brag about my upcoming trip to Spain, and asked what I should wear in Madrid. This was my first time in Spain, and based on stories from friends I imagined that everyone in Europe would look and dress like Victoria Beckham. The stylist’s only advice for me was that it was winter so I should make sure to bring a jacket. Great use of her fashion degree.
Anyway without professional advice, I was basically flying blind. To pack, I pulled out every recently-bought piece of clothing that I considered to be fashionable in the current era. For my arrival in Madrid, I settled on black pleather leggings (pleggings) and a mint sweater with a hand-crafted bronze bird necklace. At the last minute I decided I could survive 40 degree weather without boots and just brought flats.
Even before I’d left the airport, I found myself tallying up everything I did wrong. Here are the things that I wish the stylist had told me.
- Bring boots. I didn’t see even one Spaniard in flats, and for good reason. My feet were freezing.
- Don’t wear leggings. Everyone – I mean everyone – was in jeans (I thought that was an American thing?), despite it being a work day.
- Cover your butt. The crop-top thing is pretty popular right now in the US, and so is showing off a nicely toned butt in tight pants. Apparently Madrilenos are not big bootie lovers, however, because girls and guys alike were sporting huge baggy sweaters that covered everything.
- The women keep their faces and hair very natural during the day. Everyone’s hair was very simple – no bangs, no braids, etc. Just hair left down around their shoulders.
I definitely felt like I stood out on the street as a tourist, which is what I’d been trying to avoid. But it didn’t stop me from enjoying myself, and at least my outfit looks pretty cute in the photos.
Jeans, sweaters, and boots on the subway in Madrid
My Madrid outfit, day 1 of vacation