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How to Dress Like a Local in Barcelona

October 30, 2019
by CEA CAPA Content Creator

We are all learning how to adapt to a new culture and lifestyle, and the last part to feel like a true local here is to look the part too. As Americans, we sometimes dress for comfort over style. In Barcelona and most of Europe, that is not the case. Style is a priority for most. The typical everyday Barcelona city style is between nice and fancy, but not too fancy, while wearing mostly neutral colors and occasionally adding a pop of color.

For girls, a simple dress and a necklace is always a go-to. But now that it is starting to cool off, the attire is changing. Since it is getting colder, we are going to start wearing pants more. Opt for black, olive green, tan jeans or some flowy pants. Wear denim occasionally, but not too often. Choosing something other than denim can make the outfit look nicer. Next is choosing the top. My favorite look now is a cropped sweater. It will keep you warm while showing off a unique style. Another option that's popular are wearing a neutral colored shirt with a fun jacket, like a leather jacket, long coat or vest. Mix and match items for a new look every time.

harleighclothesAs for accessories, you can go simple or bold -- big earrings paired with a charm necklace or a statement necklace with studs. I prefer to do one statement piece and add smaller accessories to match. Makeup and hair should be simple. Curled, straightened, or natural hair works just fine. Makeup should be natural, maybe with some winged liner. Shoes should be practical. We do a lot of walking here, so we need support. Sandals are not good support for your feet. They may look cute, but after awhile, your feet will be very sore. Nice tennis shoes or even some black booties will do the trick. If you need to wear a nice pair of heels or uncomfortable shoes, my advice is to wear comfortable shoes while walking and put your nice shoes in a bag to change once you get to your destination.

Things to avoid are “comfy clothes.” Locals in the city are always dressed to the nines. That means no gym clothes or leggings. If you are going to the gym, there are usually locker rooms with changing areas and showers. Go to the gym in your everyday clothes, change into workout clothes, work out, rinse off, and change back into your everyday outfit. Another item not to wear are shorts. Locals here are a little more conservative than Americans, so if you wear shorts out on the street, be prepared to get some looks.

Boys are always easier to dress, but there are still distinctions in dress. A nicer T-shirt or a casual button-up is perfect for everyday wear. Denim jeans are not popular for boys, but for girls, go for jeans with no rips. Black or cargo pants are popular in this area. For the winter months, throw on a dark jean or leather jacket for some extra style. Shoes should also be practical, but no need for fancy footwear. Converse, Vans or a nice pair of tennis shoes will look great. Something that a lot of American boys do is wear a hat -- but if you want to fit in, do not wear a hat, as is not common here. Try to put the hat away and do your hair.

Just to recap, neutral colors are key. Look as nice as you can, but not nice enough to look like you are off to a ball. Last but not least, practical shoes are key. Sometimes there can be a little comfort to your style.

Harleigh Auza is a CEA Content Contributor studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, during the Fall 2019 semester. She is currently a student at the University of Arizona.

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