Here we go!
DH and I just spent a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina! Naturally, I could not help but be curious about the differences in fashion and local style compared to Los Angeles, the USA, and the rest of the world as delivered through my Vogue and Bazaar issues.
The large shopping centers contained some really, really beautiful things, although much of it was fairly expensive compared to the rest, where you could find $10 tops and shoes on every corner. There seemed to be a big price jump for quality workmanship and materials. The higher-end stores were showing layers, embellishment, graphics... kind of a Kate Moss-ish rock-n-roll-bohemian-grunge vibe. Their summer is just ending, so the windows look to be done up for the coming winter. 1-6 show some of my favorite window dressings. I tried on both the dress and skirt from #7, but sadly they did not have my size. You can sort of see the real-life prints in #8.
The locals in the streets/subways/restaurants, however, didn't seem to be wearing the items in the mall stores, or they didn't seem to be styling them in the same ways, even when compared to the S/S sale stuff rather than the F/W items in the windows. Since there is some economic turmoil in the area, I can't help but wonder if it was because locals could only afford to shop at the trendy strip malls geared toward teens, but to be fair that is only speculation and generalization. Artsy areas like Palermo Soho showed a lot more interest in the fashions displayed in shops... though curiously, it seemed like we only ended up talking to French women finishing school there, so perhaps that is where the influence comes from?
The uniform on the streets was very casual; skinny jeans with a fitted, embellished knit top and platform/flatform sandals. Tight and/or short fits ruled - loose dresses or pants were for the tourists. No Vince or ALC-type "boyfriend brands" here. #5 shows a typical shoe window - no slim heels in sight for this walking city. Hair was almost universally long, even on older women, and matching your shoes to your outfit was common. #10 was the only street style photo I had the nerve to snap, but it shows the matchy element and typical flatforms. Her top is looser than most, though. #9 is the local artist who made my stone necklace, selling at the huge San Telmo market. Her look is on the softer, flowier side compared to the norm. The looks reminded me a little bit of some parts of Eastern LA.
Shopping opportunities presented themselves everywhere in Buenos Aires. DH not-so-jokingly complained at times that the city was made for women, without including stores that men would be interested in. Honestly, I had to sympathize with him since we only found one lonely comic shop, and that was far away from any of the nicer shopping areas.
For an overall shopping experience, the San Telmo market was the best! The market was situated on a street lined with Antique shops, good quality shoes, and a decent variety of clothing stores. Nothing as posh as those in the malls, but fun to pop into to get out of the sun. The market itself went on for many blocks, holding everything from beer souvenirs to fine jewelry hand-crafted by artisans. This is where I found 3 of my four souvenirs: the $10 pastel plaid jacket in 14, my leopardite necklace set, and a beer tee. ;)
The most fun for me fashion-wise was to browse at the Abasto shopping mall - the largest in BsAs (if you follow the link, click on "local," then sort by Women's Casual Clothing, and click on the store names to see photos of the storefronts). This is where DH had to leave me for an hour so that I could fly about and shop For Serious. As I said, I didn't end up finding my size in the items I liked (for the right price), but the eye candy abounded. Those of us in big US cities would find it small, but it was nice to have so much good quality in once place. Second place was Palmero Soho, the neighborhood I mentioned earlier with the French sales clerks. Similar selection and where I found my last souvenir: a jungle/tiger print sharkbite blouse.
There were also leather shops everywhere! Shoes, bags, jackets, and general leather stores that housed all three. But I was not tempted by these items... given the huge beef industry in Argentina, most of the jackets were heavier cow leather, too warm for my climate. And all the soft, supple, thinner lamb leather jackets I found at Abasto cost $300-$500 and up even on sale... not that I need another leather jacket right now anyway. The designs of the bags and shoes simply didn't fit my style at the moment, but there were some fun florals and monster platforms.
For fun, 11-13 show some of the costumes on display at the Teatro Colon, a fabulous historical opera house, still running. Our guide was fantastic, and it was so interesting to hear about how Argentina rejected Spanish influence, destroyed all the colonial buildings, and instead built everything modeled after (mostly) Italian and (less so) French fashions. It really made the mass of pizza and pasta shops in the area make sense!
I hope that I didn't yammer on too long about this, but I found it very interesting to contrast the fashions here with what I saw coming out of Fashion Week! Almost the complete opposite from the runway's oversized fits and dainty shoes. I would be curious to see if the runway looks ever make it to BsAs or if the bodycon fits are more entrenched in a cultural preference.
Stay tuned for my blue jacket's maiden voyage today!