Those of you who know me know that when it comes to fashion, I typically enjoy bright, vintage clothes—clothes that might suit a teenage boy or a well-dressed old man better than a 20 something woman. While I don’t necessarily always keep up on what’s happening in the fashion world or approve of placing too much importance on clothing—or spending much money on it—it’s something I like to have fun with and notice a lot more than I used to. (There was a time, in high school and early college, when I was only comfortable wearing earth tones and loose-fitting tee shirts with puns on them.)
Now that I’m more interested in fashion, I obviously pay more attention to style wherever I am. And it’s actually quite an advantage to be a little bit oddly dressed in a different country because it’s expected for you to be different, as a foreigner. In the States I’m weird for no reason, here I’m weird because I’m not Ecuadorian. Or something…
Anyway, so far in Ecuador, I’ve noticed a few trends I love, a few I hate, and a few I’m still undecided about. Everyone here wears tighter, more formal clothes than in the States. The shoes are pointier, the scarves more European-looking, and the jackets/coats more form fitting. Few people wear flip-flops unless they are on the beach and no one really wears athletic clothing unless they are working out. You won’t see people wandering around in sweatpants outside of their homes. In fact, even the sweatpants here are tighter and somehow sleek. School children always have to wear uniforms, which consist of dresses or dress pants, collared shirts, sweaters, and often ties. Business people wear suits or nice dress pants and sweaters.
Since the weather in Quito is usually too warm for a sweater, it’s common to see people walking around with their sweaters flung over their backs and tied at the neck. This is my favorite thing about fashion here. It would be super dorky and preppy in the US, but here it’s normal. Naturally, I’ve started following suit. I think it's Ecua-dorable.
|Modeling the sweater-cape look.|
Another thing I like is the general tightness of pants here. I’m not talking about the fact that Ecua-fashion leaves little to the imagination (because sometimes that’s not so pleasant), I just don’t like how loose-fitting men's pants are in the US. If they are a certain cut, fine, but so often they’re just shapeless. There’s nothing un-masculine about letting us see the shape of your legs, boys. Come on.
The most unusual thing I’ve noticed here in Ecuador is the practice of lifting one’s shirt half way up in front when it’s warm out and just walking around like nothing’s wrong. People don’t do this in Quito because it’s not that hot, but all over on the coast I saw men with their shirts resting halfway up their exposed bellies. If they don’t have enough of a belly for the shirt to rest on, they just bite their shirt and wander around with their shirt in their mouth. It’s hilarious. Plenty of men go completely shirtless, but I guess the others are just too lazy to take their shirt all the way off? Anyway, it seemed fine to me, except I didn’t see any women doing it.
|I want to try doing this next time I go to the coast and just see what happens.|
There are two main problems I have with fashion here: hair gel and leggings. Hair gel is used in excess by Ecuadorian boys and men. I like the hairstyles for the most part—lots of mullets and mohawks and the like—but my god, the amount of hair gel is pretty sickening. I’ve accidentally touched greased up hair in the buses because of the tight quarters and no matter what I can always smell it. I don’t understand how it makes anyone look better or feel better to have so much junk in their hair.
|I found this online but it's not that bad. Imagine another handful of gel on there.|
As far as leggings go, I simply do not think leggings can ever be a substitute for jeans or real pants. This happens all of the time here. I guess there is a limit to the tightness I can handle when it’s combined with thinness of material. I mean, I realize that this is a trend all over the world right now, but that doesn’t make it less disturbing. If you don’t wear a long shirt or long sweater with your leggings, all I see is cameltoe. Jeggings (jean leggings), which are a little thicker, are okay. But dios mio. Half of the time girls wear white or really light-colored leggings too, so they’re see-through as well as skin tight.
|Online photos I found of acceptable leggings. Crystal-approved.|
|Definitely not the worst I've seen but not up to my standards.|
Anyway, this is all just my take so far on Ecua-fashion. I think I'm beginning to sound like a diva so I'll just stop right now. I love some people even if they wear leggings as pants or use too much hair gel.