During my first week here I was shocked to open the 600 page September issue of Spanish Vogue to a series of nude and topless photographs of Raquel Zimmermann attempting to sell haute couture pants and gold clutches in an ode to 70’s fashion…when really it was hard to ignore her breasts staring me in the face, let alone the gold clutch sitting inches away on the table. There is not one photo in which she is fully clothed. I’ve come to accept this as I flip through the pages because Spain as a country seems to be very comfortable with its sexuality.
And who would blame them when the country is full of beautiful people, beautiful buildings and beautiful food? The men: the definition of tall, dark, and handsome with an aggressive attitude and an enticing stare. The women: tan, curvy, flowing hair at least down to the middle of the back, cascading curls, wavy, it doesn’t matter. This country knows how to work it.
There is something extremely sexy about the spanish woman: long dark curly hair, tanned skin and deep eyes, usually sporting tight jeans and an off the shoulder style or some type of pastel, airy top smoking a cigarette and speaking Spanish: beautiful, powerful, effortlessly sexy. I have European envy. So what am I doing? Trying as many combinations as possible with my limited suitcase-and-a-half wardrobe so that I can look as European as possible. My newest additions include a creme-colored tunic with a ruffle detail that I wear with skin-tight jeans, flats, and a bright scarf, a black and white striped midriff bearing top that I push off one shoulder and pair with bold earrings (a look that every Spanish woman is wearing in some variation right now) and a multi-colored scarf to add to my meager four-scarf collection.
Today I woke up at 7:45 to make it to my 9 AM class and whenever I’m feeling particularly tired I always try to dress up a bit so I feel more like a productive human being. Grabbed my second skin Levis, studded nude Steve Madden flats, basic white tee, ethnically printed H&M scarf in purple, cream, and scarlet, and topped it off with my gold trimmed leather motorcycle jacket, some pearls, and a messy bun. Ready to conquer Tres Culturas y Arte Espanola. It was a winner.
The truth is, as I’ve noticed, the more fashionable, or European I dress, the more I am treated like a local. Waitresses and shopkeepers address me normally. And the more shouting and hissing of course. There’s nothing wrong with a little extra attention, right?
It’s hard to feel quite like myself when I abandoned some of my favorite and most delicate pieces at home, opting to follow the JYS handbook rules of “no sexy, no tight”…against my better judgement. Fashion is about an expression of personality and I want Spain to know just who I am now that I am taking classes with Spaniards and commanding the language. With the fall breeze brings more opportunities for scarf pairings, leather jacket appearances, tights, my cherished menswear oxfords, and of course my leather cowboys boots which stare at me from the corner of the closet every morning. I will wear you soon! Fall is my favorite season, and while this endless summer has been fun, seeing as I spent the weekend lounging on the beach in October, I’m ready to clothe myself again.
Here’s hoping I can take some of the more modest fashion hints from Vogue and still become the sexy Spanish woman I’m so envious of, at least for the next three months. Ole!