Looking Like a Yankee: Circus Grandpas, Living Sculpture, and Magical Realism in Buenos Aires Style

As a 13 year old boy whose text is about to be way overanalyzed by the girl he has a crush on even though he hasn’t had any sexual or romantic feelings yet and basically only thinks about FIFA and in his mind is just texting a random person while he waits to go home to play FIFA would write: heyyy

Another post about trends and inspirations I’ve gleaned from the place I now live in that I want to share with the world, because I think Argentina has a lot to offer it! I don’t have much to say up top except that I’m really happy with how this post came out and thankful to all the lovely people who agreed to let me feature and analyze their style. If you live in Buenos Aires and have great style, hit me up on Instagram and I’ll be the judge of that! Ha ha! Just kidding, but if you follow me and I like your style I’ll reach out.

Note: The items curated in this post are from stores worldwide and are listed in their country’s price. Sorry, doing the conversions to USD for everything was getting a little too time-consuming for me. If I slipped up and didn’t include the correct currency signifier in a caption, sorry! Once I’m paid to do this, I will have an editor who catches this stuff! Trying positive manifestation here!!!

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Thank you SO MUCH for your support, whatever you are able and willing to do to help is extremely valuable to me and I’m honored to be a small part of your life on the web.

El Abuelo va al Circo / Grandpa Goes to the Circus

This is the most specific and esoteric trend I’ve noticed among the cool fashion lovers in BsAs like my friend Nani, who is a stylist and a force of nature: Grandpa (or an Argentine abuelo/any old guy) crossed with a clown. This means boinas, which as far as I can understand can be used to refer to berets, pageboy caps, and the larger, floppier beret-ish caps that are sometimes seen in traditional Argentine gaucho garb. It also means ties are back, baby, which I have been warily on board with for months now, and Nani recently convinced me suspenders can be made cool, too. The trick is to introduce a sense of abjection and humor to liven up Gramps, and what is more abject and humorous than a clown? Don’t answer that question. Lots of things, I’m sure.

Nani achieves this look with boinas layered over skullcaps (Mach 3000 style level), fussy ties with collared shirts, blazers, jumpsuits, and the aforementioned suspenders (not pictured here), clashing arm and leg warmers, dramatic makeup looks, and the coolest hair ever, which combines an artificial widow’s peak with two long and two short braids and is divided into lime green and neon orange halves, which she sometimes augments with fabric woven into the braids (as in above left). She usually keeps her outfits’ palettes relatively neutral and staid, which grounds the unhinged layering, clashing patterns, and fluorescent hair with some Grandpa sensibility. Te amo Nani! You changed my style world forever.

Photo via @laraschottland

The above look was styled by @laraschottland (more on them below) and reinforces the tie resurgence, combining a formal upper with Bolsa Bolsa tights (linked below) that are very literal in their clownishness, printed with pictures of the creepy guys themselves. The diamond pattern and neon colors augmenting the sedate working man garb by themselves would have been enough to push my point that Grandpa Goes to the Circus is a bonafide look, at least in BsAs (thus far).

Tragically, all of these Pardo caps are sold out. Basically all of their boinas further my case, though.
Macarena – €160,00
Beret – $215
Printed Beret – $98.75 (Sale)
90s Missoni Tie – $81.80
Vintage Suspenders – $45
90s Suspenders – $8.99
Patchwork Vest – $35.99
Shirt With Tie – $4400 ARS
Vintage Gaucho Shirt – $150
Ticlio Top – $13000 ARS (Sale)
Empire Blouse – $16000 ARS
Cardigan – $36400 ARS
Suspender Skirt – $105 (Sale)
Tobacco Coat – $85290 ARS
Plaid Jacket – $446.25 (Sale)
Paradise Shorts – $32400 ARS

Escultura Viviente / Living Sculpture

Another trend in BsAs fashion is not shying away from wearing more abstract or sculptural garments and hairstyles. This manifests in a kind of elegant, abject aggression that seems to characterize a lot of the Argentine ethos as well as the art. This trend’s lack of irony makes it feel like an invitation to join in the flow of frenzied energy instead of like an inside joke designed for exclusion, as much abstract fashion can become in more well-trodden and cynical scenes such as the one in NYC.

This is largely due to the fact that the people who are wearing the clothes and acting as tastemakers are often involved in the making of the looks, either as designer, crafter, or stylist – many of the people I’m featuring in this post fit into multiple categories. The DIY energy is so literal that at a recent party, I watched Camila of Krisis craft a piece of jewelry on the floor of the venue (above left) as the rest of us fussed with our makeup and clothes (many of which were handmade, like the above right garment by @blxndinese modeled by Nani).

Stylist and model @laraschottland works often in this space between sculpture and garment, becoming a sculpture herself in her gymnastic style of modeling (check out her IG to see what I’m talking about) and wearing pieces like the above left top that are evocative in both materiality and symbolism.

The pieces sometimes render pragmatism as beside the point and often give the impression that the garment exists as a sovereign being: the piece wears you, and though conventional fashion advice says that’s bad, why does it have to be? Instead of relegating a garment to merely a means to cover up our bodies to a societally acceptable degree, why not imagine it as an almost-sentient entity with its own agenda, idiosyncrasies, and life cycle? Framing the way a garment hangs and drapes or warps and obscures the body in this light is an incredibly exciting and generative way to conceive of fashion in my opinion (and also why I love Rei Kawakubo so damn much).

I saw @enunaconlaluna at the party where these photos were taken and was struck by the vivacity and levity of this hairstyle. Either gelled straight or natural, the sprigs of hair create an impact similar to the one I described above in garments, and is, on a pragmatic note, a great style for someone in an in-between length or in the process of growing their hair out. It’s also such a showstopper that you can wear sweats with this hair and still look like you are Pulling a Look. Major props for this.

@ninaxscout is both a creator of wearable art like the above left bag and the tights I mentioned in a previous post and an exemplary manifestation of a different tactic of sculptural fashion: using clothes sparingly and strategically to render the body itself as a sculptural object. Using straps, tight fabrics, and plays between baring and concealing skin, Nina does this expertly.

In this section, I picked out a few items that speak to one or more of these facets of sculptural fashion. Garments that look like they’re going to fall apart or put themselves together, that look hungry or like they’re devouring their own fabric, that look like structures you could live in or be trapped in or become possessed by.

Cloud Head – £388.00
Paleo Ear Cuffs – £161.00
Bat Flower Earrings – £230.00
Necklace – £238.00
Felt Scarf – $24700
Jo Purse – $340
Makalu Shirt – $25900 ARS
Power Top – $8500 ARS
80s Jacket – $3430 ARS
Vintage Skirt – $238 (Sale)
Knitted Pants – £315.00
Dress – $140 (Sale)

Realismo Magico / Magical Realism

Two of the most stylish people I have encountered in Buenos Aires so far are @mirn_nda (who works as a stylist) and @tu_morenitx (a designer and student). Both use colors and textures ingeniously, creating characters and narratives with their outfits while maintaining a sense of casualness and utilitarianism. Their fits are ingeniously created to take them seamlessly from a photoshoot to a rave without losing their air of energy and balance childlike experimentation with an adult sense of what it means to have a body in the world.

They both eschew the obsession with “effortlessness” and irony that dominates the US fashion scene right now in favor of having earnest fun with clothes, which translates so well to people like me who see them and remember why I like getting dressed in the first place. It’s not that they are fussing over the details of their outfits or strategically deploying color theory (I think), both simply have excellent intuitions informed by both magic and reality (both do creative work in different capacities) that result in an ineffable coolness that characterizes the best stylings in Buenos Aires.

Some of my item picks below are references to their exact looks, but some are pieces that I gravitated towards on an intuitive level, inspired by the sensibilities of all four fits shared below. This translates to: talismanic figures, color combos that initially repulse but on second look attract, a sexiness that is devoid of cis male desire, a feeling of being at once very young and very old.

The blouse that at first glance appears formal and victorian but at second glance is spliced with contemporary mesh and a subtle butterfly shape would be cool on its own, but tucked into shiny cobalt sportswear bottoms and accessorized with furry navy fingerless gloves and a head scarf it becomes less of a statement piece and instead evokes a world in which a shirt like that could be considered a “wardrobe staple.” On the right, the bright orange bomber jacket has been snatched directly out of Kim Kitsuragi’s hands (check the link for a TON of orange bomber recs) and, to his dismay, been made into a punker uniform than black on black with matching neon trousers. Check out their instagram @mirn_nda for endless styling inspiration.

Mia kindly gave me a ton of info on the looks above (in addition to being one of the best-dressed people I’ve ever seen, they also are one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve met), so I can give you specific IDs! On the left, their corset is from Natalia Martin, their shirt is Bolsa Bolsa, the skirt is thrifted, their boots are Koturno (an iconic store in the queer and ravey scene of BsAs), and their stuffed animal is by Daimonz, whose talismanic toys (each is unique and imbued with protective qualities, which I only just realized I need as part of every outfit) are for sale at Unidad Basika alongside Mia’s own brand, Tienda Lloron. Their bunny (conejito <3) shirt in the right picture that validates and expands upon all of my sports fashion proclivities is by pielcitta.

Little Bear – $4200 ARS
Forest Hugger – $6600 ARS
Bird – $75
Vintage Wraparound Sunglasses – $25
Trolo – $990 ARS
Lace Fingerless Gloves – $9
Fingerless Gloves – $10
Cotton Candy Corset – $12000 ARS
Academic Shirt – $16500
Vintage Net Top – $29
Vintage Tube Top – $44.25 (Sale)
Tulip Knit Top – £280.00
Vintage Sheer Top – $28 (Sale)
Sweater – $122.50 (Sale)
South Beach Dress – $11000 ARS
Vintage Skirt – $125 (Sale)
Belted Mini Skirt – $37.83
Skirt – £300
Hye Bodysuit – $255
Scan Dress – $10500 ARS
Mini Dress – $117 (Sale)
Jacket – $247.50 (Sale)
Hand Dyed Tights – £60.00
Boots – $62000 ARS

Now go text heyyy (sic) to your crush and see how they respond.

❤ HR

Published by ESK

communist fashion-loving sicko

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