It finally happened, 10 years later and I’m back in Spain. Although, last time I was here things around me looked a bit different.
Of course, that was 2006, and I was a 16-year-old high school student living with a host family, away from home for the first time. I’d always thought of Europe as this super cool, very chic far away place where women always looked their best, hair in place, whispering sweet nothings in beautiful accents that I didn’t understand — and I was more or less correct.
When I arrived in Spain, I was into bell bottoms, tight Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirts, and anything from Hollister — so you could say I didn’t really have that much style. But I was fascinated by the way Spanish women dressed. Everyone had stylish dark clothes, fitted jackets, cool boots, and a general feel for their personal style. It all felt very mature and I wanted to be a part of it.
What I remember from then is a Spain where everyday life felt far more formal than it did in the U.S. Teenagers chose riding boots over sneakers for casual occasions, and instead of the normal JUICY sweatpants I would put on in the morning before school, they dressed in a sweater and corduroys.
Before long, so did I. I began opting for flowing, button-up blouses, no longer reaching for the usual T-shirts and sweatshirts. Cortefiel, Zara, Mango and Sfera became my best friends. I even traded out my normal Jansport backpack for a stylish “sports bag” from the local Corte Ingles.
Spain was quickly making its way into my closet. By the time I was done with my year abroad, I acquired enough new clothes to send three boxes back to the United States, my parents and host family were appalled and I was officially a new “Spanish” women.
Before Spain, I only wanted to wear what was stylish or trendy, but I began to choose clothes that suited my body, something I noticed Spanish women did almost naturally. How fabrics looked against my skin, or what style neck best suited me —these things were suddenly important to me.
And let’s not even get started on the jewelry! I acquired so many pieces of new earrings, bracelets and necklaces that to this day I still have the remains of my last journey across the ocean. I started to grow up, at least in terms of my fashion sense.
After 10 years away from Spain, I’ve finally headed back for a three-month adventure. I tried to keep in mind while packing the more or less sensible attire that I had seen in my previous travels, and I was sure to bring the best of the best!
Still, I had to wonder — is Spain still the same?
Or have they entered an era of the “anything goes style-wise,” much like New York City. Are people more daring with their fashion choices; or do they still play it safe? I’ve only just embarked on my journey and have yet to see but if I need to adjust my style choices I’m sure I’ll have no trouble running to the closest Zara to do so. After all, it is Rebaja season!