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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dressing in Spain

A mom fabulously dressed for the playground

I am having such fun people-watching here. People seem to enjoy getting dressed in Spain. Overall, they tend to dress up more than in the States- even when wearing jeans and a T, they somehow seem more pulled-together. Maybe everything is ironed, or a woman’s bag matches her shoes or just that the cut of the pants or shirt are more trendy, almost vanguard. I love watching people of all ages- the beautiful dresses that moms put their girls in to play on the playground, the older women perfectly coifed, the heels everyone somehow is able to wear in spite of the tiled sidewalks and steep, steep hills.

Whenever I arrive, I’m always taken aback or puzzled by some trend- mullets on young guys, pants with a super-baggy inseam and skinny legs on young girls… and yet, by the end of the month I find myself thinking: hmmmmm… could I pull that look off back home? (Almost always the answer is NO, especially as I get older), but it’s fun to check everyone out and enjoy the creativity.

One thing I really like is how babies are not limited to pastel shades of blue and pink. There are lots of options available for both sexes here, to the point that I’m sometimes surprised. The other day I was in the baby section of El Corte Inglés, a very popular department store all over the country, and a woman, holding up an outfit, asked the sales lady if it was for a boy or a girl. It was overalls with puffy legs in a deep pink with a white shirt that had embroidery and ruffles on the neck and wrist. I scoffed to myself; of course it was for a girl, but the sales lady and another woman standing nearby entered in debate. “It’s for a boy.” “No, it could be either.” The three finally decided that yes, the outfit could be for either a baby girl or a boy. It has also happened a few times that people have thought Belalu was a boy, even though she was wearing what would definitely be considered “girl” colors and styles in the US. The reason she had to be a boy? Her ears weren’t pierced.

I love these fun differences of cultural perceptions that remind me what I take to be a given, doesn't have to be. It's all in our perception of reality. It's one of the reasons I love to travel- to expand my views and to keep me open-minded.

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