This is the first of any posts I choose to make about my impressions of Buenos Aires’ (more accurately, CABA‘s) style scene as someone who lived in New York City for seven years prior to moving here three weeks ago.
My perspective is relatively uninformed (I barely speak Spanish [yet]), novice, and is based mostly on my personal observations and opinions. I’m happy to learn more about Argentina’s fashion world/history and change my perspective as I continue to live here, so if you have any insights to share, please do either via DM on Instagram or to email@example.com.
Also, if you’re a new follower, I’m non-binary and use they/them pronouns so if I ever misgender anyone or myself, haha, while writing in Spanish, it’s because of my lack of grasp on the language and I would appreciate being corrected!
This post begins with a few general thoughts on the ~vibes~ of the fashion world here and continues into more specific material trends I’ve observed.
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Confusing Williamsburg 2010s Vibes… But Fashion is an Exception
When I told people I was going to move to Buenos Aires for a while, the first thing most of them questioned, aghast, was how I would survive there as a lifelong, gold-star vegetarian. I figured I’d live, but I never could have guessed that there would be vegetarian, if not vegan options at virtually every restaurant and cafe I encountered (as well as the crunchy equivalent to a bodega, a ‘natural food’ shop, every two blocks in the notably bougie neighborhood I’ve been privileged to stay in thus far).
This would be excellent if the veg options were varied and/or consistently good. Instead, I have been subsisting, to a dangerous extent, upon avocado toast. It’s virtually omnipresent and affably affordable here, averaging around four bucks on the expensive side for a substantial, meal-sized slice of toast, the avocado usually accompanied by welcome (jammy eggs, tomato slices, basil leaves) or incredibly unwelcome (olive tapenade so salty it burned my tongue for hours, cream cheese, wine-soaked and VERY sweet onion slices) accoutrements. Below, the former vs. the latter.
This is just one simple example of the ways in which many of the newer/’trendier’ BA establishments skew, in both content and aesthetic, towards the infamous ethos of 2010s Williamsburg in all its slick but cloying Millenialism. A bar that would otherwise have felt romantic and classic was made mawkish by its mood-killing, decade-old dubstep soundtrack, which didn’t even jibe with the other jarring factor of the pseudo-steampunk decor that evoked aggressively waked mustaches, bespoke decorative hatchets, yadda yadda.
There is certainly an economic factor to this apparently arrested aesthetic development, which I am not qualified or willing to dissect, especially because after all that yammering I will happily report that though one has to go to great lengths to escape this phenomenon in the food and music scenes, it is not a defining factor of the fashion world here.
A protective agent against the pull of twentyteens fashion cringe is the earnestness with which people seem to approach dressing in Argentina. Maybe it’s simply in comparison to NYC where everyone is blackpilled into twenty meta-levels of irony that cake every sartorial gesture, but I’ve noticed here that it seems accepted and encouraged to dress on theme for theme parties and reference past decades with far less cynicism than what, say, Y2K has morphed into entailing in the states. Most notably, the coolest dressers are, as everywhere, the queer fashion plates (who I will hopefully feature in upcoming posts!), but here, classic aesthetic signifiers of queerness have not (yet) been eschewed in favor of the knowing subtlety/cheekiness that has characterized queer high fashion in NY these past few years.
At first, I interpreted the popularity of leather, lace, serger seams, and the below microtrends as retrograde or, less generously, influenced by a Eurotrash aesthetic I couldn’t relate to. As I have continued to research on Instagram and at parties, however, I think this is more due to a wholesome resistance to the assimilation-oriented aesthetics American queer influencers have adapted in the 2020s. I want to emphasize that I don’t think either tack is superior and that there is no “queer way” to dress, just that the Argentine fashion community seems to pull more influence from classically queer materials and modes of dress than their US counterpart, which, though potentially more innovative for it, has been inflected many times over with cynicism due to the heavy-handed commodification of more traditional queer aesthetic cues (e.g. leather daddies on a Bank of America-sponsored Pride float, or something of the sort) as well as the influence of mainly Northern Hemisphere trends such as…. “Clean Girl.”
Though most people I’ve seen in BA have been dressed innocuously, mostly in the name of pragmatism (again, probably in no small way due to economic factors I will not get into here and now), I don’t think I’ve seen a single person who has adapted the “Clean Girl Aesthetic” that so dominated the past year’s style M.O. in the States. People here seem to either not care about fashion or care a lot and have no desire to present that care as understated. The aforementioned earnestness is incompatible with a trend predicated upon a studied minimalism and a je-ne-sais-quoi almost always backed up by either the existence of or the aspiration towards wealth. This particular brand of “Clean” is very Nordic, and upon arriving to Argentina I realized its colonial history means its Spanish and Italian influences define the brand of Eurocentrism that exists here. “Clean Girl” exists in opposition to the “messiness” of the “Eurotrash” look that, for all its heavy-handedness and emphasis of new money, I value for its earnestness and enthusiasm over Clean Girl’s glassy-eyed amenability.
Last general note: a ton of anime-inspired or derived clothing is readily accessible here. Thank god. More on this later.
Sheer and/or Printed Fabrics
One of the first trends I noticed as a common thread through my favorite independent Argentine brands was the usage of sheer fabrics, photo prints, and combinations of the two. Below, two of my favorite pieces I’ve bought so far, a now sold-out Björk dress by ARXE and Anemone “Second Skin” pants by LOW. Basically, showing ass and nips is very acceptable in the party circuit right now, and surprisingly non-provocative amongst the general populace (I have worn both of these pieces outside to no chaos. Granted, I have spent most of my time in fairly artist and expat-heavy areas). Below my ass, more selections of sheer and/or printed garments I like.
Sleeves, Tights, Hoods
Accessories-wise, sleeves for your arms (sleeves), legs (tights), and head (hoods) are frequent additions to outfits.
I got these reworked sleeves via Instagram and am not quite sure what to pair them with, but I loved the swishy cuffs and neutral but eye-catching plaid. Suggestions on what to pair them with are welcome via DM.
Tights here feature unique details like foot straps, twisted cut-outs…
…and more of the aforementioned photo prints such as the sacred/profane combos made by Nina, which I am wearing below. I told her she should expand to Judaic imagery, because though I have moved countries, my commitment to Yentacore has remained steadfast.
Lastly, hoods ranging from simple swathes of fabric worn by my friend Nani below to sculptural, structured headpieces, are a utilitarian trend: they are perfect in both cold weather (in lieu of a balaclava) and hot weather, as they block out the sun beautifully.
Come back later for more yankified thoughts on Argentine fashion + interviews with people I consider fashion icons down here, and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or on IG if you have any specific questions about the sartorial culture in Buenos Aires you want answered.
Buenas + ciao!