Don’t you know what to wear to go to the university? What outfit should you choose at night? Where do you buy clothes? During the last years, fashion has considerably changed in Spain.
You’ll find that most Spanish people tend to dress up a little more than the average American. You will see young men wearing jeans and t-shirts or soccer jerseys, but you’ll also see a lot of people in nice pants and nice shoes. Women generally wear very feminine clothing, even if they’re wearing jeans, and they don’t tend to wear sneakers. Most people get very dressed up to go out at night, and you will probably want to, as well.
During the eighties or nineties, there were very marked fashions. People dressed all the same way, maybe due to the lack of store variety compared with today or maybe to the force of fashions. Currently, fashion is not so accentuated as before—though trends still changing—, so you can obtain your own style without being out of place. Anyway, take into account that, generally, people from smaller cities dress in a more monotonous way.
How do Spanish People Dress
First thing you should know is that in Spain people prefers casual wear. Normally, suits, high hills or make-up are only used if it is required by their job. Most of Spanish people, mainly young, prefer to wear comfortable clothes, such as t-shirt and jeans. However, there is a common idea that people —especially girls—dress up more here than in other countries such as United States for going to class.
Nevertheless, it does not mean everyone dress that way. In most contexts, weather talking about university or work, you can see a mixed bag style, as clothes are a personal stuff.
In any case, it is unlikely to find at university students wearing ties or stilettos, for instance. Customary clothing is comfortable, such as jeans, shirts or t-shirts, and flat shoes or trainers. In summer, the majority of people use shorts and mini-skirts with sandals. In any case, Spanish public universities do not use to have any clothes regulations, so as long as you do not wear anything over provocative or eccentric, no one is going to complain about your dressing.
At work and other daily happenings, the general rule is applicable, most people dress with casual wear unless companies where they work or they position require wearing formal outfit. In a design studio, for example, you will see workers with jeans and t-shirts, while in a big company or bank, both men and women wear more formal and sober clothes, as suits.
At night, clothing changes depending on the environment. In many bars, pubs and discos, people are dressed exactly in the same way they did during the day, while in other places, girls dress up more than they did for going to class, and, if the environment is a little more posh, there are even boys with pleated trousers and shirt or girls wearing dresses and a lot of make-up.
On the one hand, there are clubs in which entrance is allowed for people dress anyhow. On the other, it may happen they do not allow you to enter in some establishment with trainers or sleeveless shirts—if you are a boy—, for instance. There are not clearly defined rules, each establishment chooses its own, and that can even vary depending on the night and quantity of clients they have.
Where to Buy Clothes in Spain
Most people buy their clothes in big chains, such as El Corte Ingles or Zara. Young people use to do their shopping in stores as El Corte inglés or Zara. Young people use to do their shopping in stores as Zara, Blanco, H&M, Stradivarius, Bershka, Mango, Massimo Dutti or Pull & Bear, because they offer modern clothes at a reasonable price. That kind of stores can be founded both in the middle of the city and malls (see Shopping Complexes in Alcalá).
Apart from the most popular multinationals, all cities have a couple of streets, or a neighborhood, in which you can find small stores with more original products. In Madrid, if you take a walk by neighborhoods such as Malasaña and Chueca, you will find more modern and original clothing stores than in malls or shopping streets in the middle of the city. In smaller cities, such as Alcalá de Henares, you will not find such variety, but there is always some small store distant from the trends established by superstores.
In Spain almost nobody order their shopping by mail, a regular practice in other countries such as the United States. Instead, people prefer to have a walk, compare prices and try on clothes calmly. However, the influx of visits to online stores is gradually increasing, as well as online purchases, especially related to specific brand not sold in your city or to special sizes not found anywhere.