Coming to Seville with my street clothes and crop tops felt like an opportunity for me to show off my perfect, newly solidified style. Immediately upon my arrival, however, I felt out of place. There were no graphic tees or ripped jeans in sight only nice sweaters, stylish pants, and long coats. Spain is also a Catholic country and far more conservative as far as clothing goes, so my crop tops went back in the closet. It felt like nothing I brought would fit in here.
The Shopping Scene
I hit my first European mall and was a little in shock. The vibe of these stores is a mix between Forever 21, the sale section of Target, and Shein, AKA complete chaos. The most popular brands for young women are Zara, Stradivarius, Pull & Bear, and Bershka. These stores are generally a whole lot cheaper than their American counterparts with some sale items costing as little as €2. In my home state of Nebraska I struggle to find any decently stylish clothing, but these stores have fashion in surplus. Flare jeans, corset tops, puffer vests, platform heels, truly everything I was not brave enough to wear before. Being able to create my own European style was just so exciting.
I have been here for about a month by now and have found my own style amongst the European clothing scene. I find that instead of taking one look at me and opting for English, most people finally speak to me in Spanish. I would have never imagined myself wearing flare jeans or platform boots on the daily but here I am and I’ve never been happier.
What I Wish I Knew Before
If you are planning on visiting Spain, pack light on clothes. Basics are a must. Plain shirts, turtle-necks, black jeans, etc are all essential things to have to build outfits out of. Also, banish your athleisure clothing during your trip. I have not seen a single Spanish person sporting athletic clothes outside the gym. You will completely reinvent your style and embrace it.
Europeans take pride in their appearance, never leaving the house without makeup, brushed hair, and nice clothes. Although most Americans prefer sweatpants and a messy bun when out and about, I find the sort of cultural pride in appearance to be an oddly empowering thing and something I will take back with me to the US.
Tessa Fiore is a student at University of Nebraska Lincoln and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying with ISA in Seville, Spain.