Buenos Aires Fashion Report 2014

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. 

Local Style
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!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Catnip replied 7 years ago

    Very interesting report, Rae.  Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  • Adelfa replied 7 years ago

    Fascinating, Rae. Super different from San Jose, Costa Rica. There the women wore classic, dignified cuts and colors, with high heels no matter how far they had to walk! Interesting about throwing out the Spanish influence. Thanks for the bulletin!

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Can't type a lot today because my wrists and arms are sore - but THANK YOU. Love this report, Rae. Have yet to visit Argentina. xo

  • replied 7 years ago

    Great report, Rae!

  • Kristin L replied 7 years ago

    It sounds like you had a great time on your trip. Thanks for the report!

  • Aubergine replied 7 years ago

    So fascinating to read this and look at the pictures! Shopping, history, pasta, beer, summer during the U.S. winter -- clearly I need to make a trip there!

  • MsMaven replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for the great report.  Did you shop on Florida?  That used to be a major shopping street, more for the middle class.  I wonder if the shopping malls have changed all that.  

  • abc replied 7 years ago

    Great report, Rae. Thanks for taking the time. It's also interesting to note the fashion differences (and some similarities, hello bodycon!) between where I am (Mexico) and BA.

    I'm secretly glad to hear the leather weights are thicker, I need lightweight jackets so now I won't have to beg for a work project in BA so much since leather goods was top on my list if I were to visit.

    Thanks again!

  • TraceyLiz65 replied 7 years ago

    Fantastic report with amazing thoughtful details!

  • Sona replied 7 years ago

    so fab to read this detailed report. very intersting! the flatforms remind me of the crazy fitflop revolution in Bombay. crazy how a fad can be so widely adopted!

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Rae, this is amazing! Thank you for sharing this fascinating report with us. I love your photos. And just look at those shoes! I love to see the world through Fabbers' eyes. :)

  • kkards replied 7 years ago

    Sounds like you had a great vacation and learned and saw a lot. It's so interesting to me both how universal somethings are, and how quickly fashion trends spread. And yet how local others are.

  • LACeleste replied 7 years ago

    I enjoyed this Rae!  Thanks!

  • MsMary replied 7 years ago

    Wow, thanks for this!  Super interesting report and great pics!  And I love your new plaid jacket!!

  • JulieJohn replied 7 years ago

    Great write-up, thanks for the details and the fun photos. I feel like I just went shopping with you! Looking forward to the blue debut.

  • Windchime replied 7 years ago

    What an insightful report, Rae! It's really interesting to see styles and trends in another part of the world. Just yesterday I read that black and gold in combination are going to be prevalent this fall; and there they are in a store window in Buenos Aires! Thanks very much for compiling this.

  • replied 7 years ago

    I agree with JJ, I feel like I've just been shopping and sightseeing with you. Thanks for the fab report.

  • JAileen replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for an interesting report. Your jacket is adorable!

  • Gracie replied 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed the report, photos and your observations. Very cool plaid jacket!

  • Caro in Oz replied 7 years ago

    Thanks Rae - this is really interesting, next best thing to being there.

  • Marmee replied 7 years ago

    Fascinating!  Thank you for taking the time to share this with us.  I love the jacket and denim shorts combo in the last photo!

  • Thistle replied 7 years ago

    Excellent report. For thoughtful and well described.

    I hope you had a fab time!

  • karymk replied 7 years ago

    This was the best thing I read all weekend Rae, so thanks! I love the windows and the styles in them! I would have gone nuts.  I want to see your jewelry!

  • shevia replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for the report! So interesting - especially about the flatforms. 

  • Sveta replied 7 years ago

    So fun - thanks for sharing, Rae!
    Love the plaid jacket!

  • deb replied 7 years ago

    Great pics and wonderful report. Thank you!

  • Freckles replied 7 years ago

    Oh my, you had fun!  Fabulous report, thank you.

  • replied 7 years ago

    Wow, sounds like you two had a fabulous trip! I'm really digging the volume on volume in number 1. Thanks for the photos and the great write up, and don't worry about ever writing too much. There is no such thing! ;)

  • rachylou replied 7 years ago

    Very interesting! I LOVE your blue jacket. Argentina seems quite *conservative* to me, fancy but conservative... but I don't know. My fourth-grade bff - her husband's family is from Argentina, and perhaps this colours my view.

  • CocoLion replied 7 years ago

    So interesting!  The local style seems to embrace prints and body con/short skirts.  You know, there is something life-affirming about prints and body con.  It's the opposite of oversized clothing in neutrals.

  • Dana replied 7 years ago

    How fun! And thanks for the report. I have a friend who is an image consultant from Brazil. She told me most of her clients wear their clothes very tight.

    South America will be our next big trip, and I've just begun reading, so this was a fun surprise. We are def going to BA. Did you go anywhere else?

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Dana, yes, we took a day trip to Puerto Igazu to see the waterfalls - must do if you can! Epic views. I should put up our vacay photo album link in the OT section so you can get an idea. :)

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