Friday, February 09, 2007

What to wear, what to wear . .(Ken & Helen) (JOS, we were not quite thru with this blog, re-read)

Ken says:
After my "Jeans and Sneakers" fiasco, two of my blog readers (both women) have asked what women wear in Buenos Aires. It seems that women--over 25--do not wear sneakers, tennis shoes, running shoes or the like unless they are exercising. What they mostly wear are sandles an open toed-shoes.

Skirts are very popular, especially those loose cotton skirts that go mid calf. You can´t really go wrong with a pair of kakhi slacks. You don´t see many women wearing shorts; if they do, they are rather long--just above the knee. You will occasionally see jeans, but they are tight, often rolled up to capri length. Also the capris are longer that in the USA going 3/4, or mid calf. If they do wear jeans, they are often rolled up to capri length and worn with a decorative belt.

Many women wear tops that are bare-shouldered. Curiously, brown is a popular color. The combination of black and white is also a safe choice. Argentinas are not overly fond of loud colors or prints. They also avoid excessive jewelry.

Hope that answers your questions.

Helen says:
Usually when Ken and I travel, he packs the BIG suitcase and I bring the tiny suitcase. I always prefer to travel very light, with the opinion that there is a Walmart in every city in the US. If I forgot something, or need something, then I can easily replace it. I would not suggest packing for BA with that attitude. First of all, there is really no one-stop shopping here. Shopping requires a little more time, and it is more of an art. You can get good at it, but it takes time. Also, clothes here are more expensive than I thought. It isn´t that you can´t get expensive stuff a little cheaper, its that you can´t get stuff cheap. You know how Penneys just gives things away a few times a year? I haven´t seen that here. So, pack what you will need. Women here dress a little better. You know how you can go the mall and just people watch? And you just CANNOT believe that people leave their houses that way? You won´t see that here. I can honestly say that I have not seen a slob once (except for the homeless). No sloppy sweat suits, etc. Clothing is tidy, not loud, and feminine. Very few shorts or sneakers. Capris are good, and lightweight slacks. Flip flops are good - all kinds (get a pedicure). Bring a good pair of leather shoes to walk in, like Easy Spirit, and you will blend in fine. Even the old ladies with saggy skin wear tank tops and spaghetti straps. Lots of dresses, skirts, pretty things that flow, yet not overly dressy. I see very little jewelry, unless it is obviously costume. I think that is for security reasons, so just leave it home. All-in-all the people here look good. As an aside, I was told before I came here how obsessed the women are with being very, very skinny - flaca. I haven´t really seen that to be true. The difference is, I almost never see an overweight person. In general, people just seem to be a healthy weight. Oh, for people who want to stay here for a while, bring your best underware, because you will be having strangers do your laundry at the lavodora.


Jos said...

Muchas gracias, Ken!

Jos said...

Muchas gracias Helen!

This was quite helpful. Although I am going to a much more laid back place (Mendoza), these are very good tips. I do wear lots of jeans and I can't stand strappy blouses as I hate my arms. I almost always wear 3/4 lenght sleeved blouses.

I am also not flaca, so I will stand out. I do love my 18-karat cold jewelry, but I will be leaving that at home.

I hate wearing sneakers, unless I'm at the gym, so I will do well in that respect.

I own quite a few leather sandals, and I'm getting the mani-pedi tomorrow!

Thank you so much for the extremely helpful tips. Too bad I won't be in Buenos Aires. . .I would have loved to meet you both.

Cherie said...

Hi Ken y Helen,
Congratulations on your blog! It's very interesting.

I'm wondering where you live, because where I live now (Boedo), and in Caballito and Congreso in the past, everyone but the very old wear jeans. Now in the summertime the women wear them with sandals, but in winter, they wear them with tennis shoes or boots.

The women certainly don't wear fine jewelry, but don't wear costume jewelry either on the street, except maybe for earrings. Generally they don't even wear makeup on the street!

Ever since the economic crisis of 2001, no one wants to call attention to themselves. And foreigners especially need to dress down and try to blend in.

The one accessory no one is without, however, is the cell phone!


Ken and Helen said...


We live in Recoleta. Yes, the young ones wear jeans, 20ish, but I only see middle aged USAmericans wearing them, not the 50ish porteños.