STATESIDE STORIES: Spring Fashion in Spain (and New York and California)

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by Mary Foran


Here is a personal remembrance about being an American girl in Spain in the 80’s. El Pais now has the fashion scene covered well, but my sources say that colors are still a bit shocking in the villages. It’s never good to generalize, so here I go down memory lane:


Well, according to a New York website, pastels are in for Spring this year. That may be fine for the Northeast, but out West things are a bit more eclectic and convenience-oriented. The Northwest prepares for rain from the Pineapple Express coming from the great Island State of Hawaii, while Californians are usually more casual anyway even though they go for splash at times too. I can’t speak for the rest of the States, who have their own ways of coping with drought, cold, blizzards, rain, hurricanes and tornadoes that surely take precedent over fashion statements.

When I first went to Spain pre-eighties, I was wearing the bright paisley acrylic shirts that were popular among the young then, a short apricot-colored top and miniskirt, and for The Wedding, an empire-waisted eggshell-blue evening dress with a grey Spanish shawl. The entire Wedding Party, except for the Bride, dressed in dark, somber colors and knee-length skirts and slacks and black leather jackets in the shadowy depths of Cathedral where it took place. Suffice to say, I stood out like a sore pinky.

When I came back to Spain, from Italy, which has it’s own heritage of fashion to boast about, I found I had to scour the shops to find clothing adequate for my height, weight, style, and most important of all, feet, which was a challenge in those days. I usually stuck to the “REBAJAS” in order to keep to my budget and to be in fashion with the masses who didn’t buy runway items as a rule. Quality in those cases was always a problem, but you get what you pay for, they say.

I didn’t buy at the many fine shops in Madrid because I wasn’t in that league, but I knew fine fashion when I saw it. I was lucky to find a warm coat for Madrid’s cold winters and color-filled outfits for the summer. Now, I wonder what Madrid’s response to pastels for Spring will be. Is New York the trend-setter for Spain, or is Paris, or London, or Rome, or does Spain still come up with its own fashion sense in a European-wide venue?

Meanwhile, as the Rains come back, I’m just grateful I have a proper rain jacket with a hood and boots, and will leave the runways to the expert hands of others!


Featured image/Ractapopulous from Pixabay
Girl in miniskirt/GraphicMama team, Pixabay