Fashion in Barcelona

With each day that passes, I can absolutely say to you that my confidence is growing.  The things that intimidated me a week ago, a month ago, 3 months ago no longer do so.  I’m sure there will be things that still scare me for a while – the phone for instance.  But for the most part, progress is being made and that’s a good sign.  I’m not so fearful to put myself out there and to make a mistake.  My Spanish is slowly (and I mean slowly) getting better and by default, my ability to communicate thereby reducing my fears of the unknown.  One of my fears that I still need to conquer – shopping.  Believe it or not, shopping for clothes makes me anxious just reliving my experience with the 2 hours to shop for one pair of shoes!

The spring is slowly arriving here.  Though it’s kind of felt like spring in New England all along here.  Other than a few random days, it’s been in the 40s, 50s and even touching 60s here since we arrived.  Lots of rain which is on par for New England as well.  Though in the last few weeks I’m seeing posting from friends back home about beautiful 70 degree weather which we have yet to have here and I’m jealous!!  I thought part of the reason we were moving was for the beautiful weather.  I’m waiting Barcelona – bring it on!!!  However, with spring comes spring fever and with that, the desire to shop!   And for those that know me, I’m a shopper at heart.  Josh keeps telling me how much we are saving with no Target, Toys R Us or Baby Gap here – the plus to that being that we can do trips like the upcoming ones to Valencia and Paris.  The downside – I love to shop!!!

I have to say one of the things I love and admire about Barcelona is that it is a complete melting pot of fashion.  While I have seen many people that I have referenced as having a style like the 80s threw up, I admire their confidence in themselves to just pick the first three things out of their closets and just throw them on, matching or not.  For me, a Type A personality, that’s just not realistic no matter how hard I try.  Things MUST match!!  No mixing black and brown here much less contrasting colors and patterns!  Though I did dare wear black and brown one night and felt like quite the rebel.  Sad, I know… I promise to improve my rebelliousness and maybe mix a few patterns in there or something sometime soon!  It’s just the preppy in me.

So it’s really hard to describe the fashion here because it’s so ecclectic but to me it reflects the easy going people here, they don’t look like they tried to hard to get ready and yet they walk with such confidence you would think that they were sporting the next new styles to walk the runway.  Are they just being creative, stretching their budget, being fashionable or just simply have bad taste?   I have no idea, but I see this as an opportunity to break free of my preppy self and explore the world of trendiness.  I have definitely felt more confident about the fact that I can’t screw up so to speak – fashion in the US is definitely very different than it is here and while there are days I definitely feel like I stick out like a sore thumb, I think with effort I may be able to fit in yet.  If I can’t speak the language, then I will at least dress like I belong here.  Ok, attempt to dress like I belong here.

On Tuesday Alefiya came to watch Liam and off I went down to Passeig de Gracia which is a big shopping district.  I had 2 stores in mind for my shopping.  Zara which can be compared to Gap and Massimo Dutti which would be more like Banana Republic.  Zara was immediately across from the metro station so that is where I started.  Now I’d like you to keep in mind that I have really not even been inside a clothing shop since arriving almost 3 months ago (I know, seriously how am I functioning at this point???) – just some window shopping.  99% of the time I have Liam with me and I know that initially I need the ability to focus on sizes, styles, etc.

So off I go into Zara and it is a huge store with I will say a limited selection.  Though I like seeing the same thing in 10 different colors, I was rather surprised to see that here – maybe not the variety of colors but of patterns.  Same shirt, different pattern.  I saw very few smalls – all were medium and large and Xlarge – and they had labels that showed it was this size in the US too (yeah the mediums were def more like a US small).  I sorted thru the best I could and took about 10 items into the dressing room.  First off, being an experienced shopper I should have dressed more appropriately.  Skinny jeans are the in thing here – I should have worn mine instead of my green khaki pants with my navy All Star sneaks.  Because honestly none of the shirts I tried on looked good with those pants which makes sense since I would never have worn them with those pants.  I considered trying on jeans but the one pair of skinny khakis I tried on made me never want to try on pants here again – too tight, too long and just too tight.  Did I say too tight twice?  Yeah, too tight.  And I have lost about 7 lbs since arriving in Jan so I think it might just be the style.  Who knows… it’s Spain!  However, not all my efforts were in vain – while the too skinny pants wouldn’t fit me, I did find a great spring jacket which I also needed and I bought 3 tops.  Am I in love with the tops?  Not necessarily but I also couldn’t leave without buying more than the jacket.  That’s just me.  I think that’s a trait that Josh doesn’t particular care for – that I just had to buy more than one item and couldn’t be satisfied with that one nice jacket.  I had to buy 3 so-so shirts to make myself feel like less of a shopping failure.

But I’m not a failure.  You see, I went into the store.  I looked around.  I picked up items to try on.  I managed to get a dressing room AND I bought stuff.  That felt good.  It was like coming back to the land of the living again!  However, I also realized that wanting to look cool and having the ability to look cool are 2 different things.  Apparently I must shop with a cool partner who can help me out in that department.  I can compromise with that.
I spent a good 2 hours in Zara just poking around.  Never made it to the other store but that’s ok.  There is plenty of time.  And my hope is that I can dress up some of my existing wardrobe with some accessories – more jewelry and scarves – everyone here loves scarves (I bought my first one on Sat).  Still on my agenda for the spring – short boots.  Apparently no one wears flip flops here which means I’m screwed because I think I brought at least a dozen pairs and I live for flip flop season.  I guess they wear short boots with sundresses.  I may need to buck that trend… not sure I’m ready to give up my cute LL Bean flip flops quite yet!  Maybe the American way isn’t so bad after all…though when I come home in 2 years, you may be surprised just how trendy I’ve become!!!

Julie

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