bogotá fashion: streamlined grunge

One of the most striking things about Bogotá—besides the tropical fruits—is the mode of dress. Whereas Parisian women seem to prefer a classic, gamine look personified by doe-eyed and red-lipped types, Bogotanos embrace a trendier, grittier look. Knocking about town in faded skinny jeans and scuffed combat boots, cigarette in hand, their clothes evoke an effortless cool reminiscent of the early nineties. A few pops of color—a blue bag here, a red scarf there—elevate the uniform to a more deliberate state. If you ever find yourself in Bogotá, I recommend following these unspoken fashion “rules”:

Bogotá fashion DOs:

  1. Graphic tees (The more obscure, the better.)
  2. Oversized sweaters (Bonus: Look for leather or otherwise contrasting elbow patches.)
  3. Skinny jeans
  4. Waterproof shoes (Choose a pair that can be worn comfortably indoors. Bulky, knee-high galoshes are a “DON’T”.)
  5. Lightweight scarves
  6. A portable black umbrella

Bogotá fashion DON’Ts:

  1. No bare legs. (If you want to wear a skirt or a pair of shorts, be sure to pair them with tights or leggings.)
  2. No sandals. EVER. (The streets are dirty!)
  3. No jewelry. (Unless it is a colorful watch or a punchy pair of sunglasses, skip it.)

Since switching cities, I have definitely been tempted to channel my inner Mary-Kate Olsen and shop for a mini mogul’s salary worth of edgier, more androgynous pieces. In an effort to resist buying an entirely new wardrobe, I have instead chosen to restyle the ruffled dresses and ballet flats in my existing closet to better reflect my subdued surroundings. By mixing feminine silhouettes and colors (A-lines! pink!) with tougher textures and shades (leather! black!), I am finding ways to blend in with this gray, smoky city without changing myself. Needless to say, it is an ongoing project. Lucky for me, though, Bogotá and its people never fail to inspire.

[pictured: Mary-Kate Olsen, Zadig + Voltaire sweater, Burberry Prorsum scarf, Loeffler Randall rain booties, Totes umbrella, Rumba watch]

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