Monday, October 18, 2010

The Fashion Edition

Manner of dress is usually a salient indicator of a person's foreign status in another country, something which I personally do an excellent job of reminding people. For example, on Juiz de Fora's "cold days," (60-65 degrees Fahrenheit), I typically show up to class in shorts, sandals and a t-shirt while everyone else is dressed in jackets, sweaters and jeans. There was also no planning whatsoever in terms of what clothes I brought down here, I hastily packed the day before, which resulted in a rather skewed color representation within my wardrobe. Having just counted, I brought 24 shirts to Brazil. Eleven, effectively half of my shirts, are either white or yellow, seven are blue, and one is striped blue-white. Only six fall outside this color scheme. It's not even as though I have that many yellow shirts, I just happen to have brought every single one I own to this country. Whatever, I've just made underdressing in only three colors my new thing.

Even considering my own eccentricities, o Brasil is no stranger to interesting fashion trends. The following are some of the standouts, of which I've included some pictures from Google Images to help illustrate.


Reinforcing the international stereotype, Brazilians really do love their bikinis and sungas (speedos). But what the picture above doesn't communicate is that this trend isn't specific to any age or body type; you're as likely to see a large elderly lady wearing a bikini as some sexy young thing, and grandpas and beach-studs alike sport equally skimpy sungas. One-pieces on ladies are not common at all, though longer swimsuits on guys are a little more prevalent (especially on foreigners). I think this inclusive aspect of the Brazilian beaches is great, and definitely suggests a different dynamic in terms of the amount of skin we deem appropriate for older or larger people to show in public. This being said, I have not bought a sunga; I just think it looks too funny when guys wear only a shirt over their speedo and it looks like they're naked.


From Blog pictures

Also stereotypical is the ubiquity of this popular brand of flip-flops; it is estimated that five out of every six Brazilians consumes at least one pair of these a year (thank you, Wikipedia). You see them all over at the beach, but where people really use these is just hanging out inside the house. And they're cheap; depending on the style, you can get a pair here for six or seven dollars. I never bought Havaianas in the States, but I've been told they're considerably more expensive. In fact, we met a guy the other day from England who said he paid thirty pounds for a pair in the UK, about five times the Brazilian price. I have bought a pair of chinelos (flip-flops), as those are my white legs in the picture above.

Retro Lady Spandex

When it's workout time, the women here are all about the knee-length spandex, which comes in the most hilariously 80's patterns you can imagine. There must be some unspoken rule that girls aren't allowed to workout in anything that's not totally tubular, because these things are everywhere. Someone who's actually lived through the 80's may disagree with this association, but in my mind, that decade looked just like a Brazilian woman's thighs on a stationary bike.

Diaper Pants

While looking for a picture on the internet, I have since discovered that this style of pants is actually called "drop crotch," though for us American students they will always be known as "diaper pants." Used by both men and women, these things just confuse me. Do you need more breathing room? Do you keep your purse there? Someone should tell me if these are a thing in the States, since I'm pretty sure I've never seen them in Minnesota or Montana. I considered ironically buying a pair, but they're super expensive and it just really wouldn't be that funny if I did. Also surprising, Google Image searching "Brazilian pants" turned out to be more of a educational experience than I would have expected. Turns out, adding "Brazilian" to any piece of clothing in an English search is enough to make you blush.

"English for the sake of English" shirts

These are definitely not unique to Brazil, but I thought they deserved a mention since they can be so over the top funny. From what I've seen, placing English, regardless of the phrase, on a piece of clothing can be a major selling point. Frequently, however, the messages that people end up wearing come across as hilarious to native speakers. For girls, they usually say something like, "Fierce and Fabulous, Yes I Am!," and for boys, "I like hot girls and cold beer!" I saw my absolute favorite one the other day on some middle school girl:

[ ] Clothes
[ ] Cute Boys
[ ] Fun Parties
[ ] Cats and Dogs
[√] All of the Above!

That's right honey, don't just settle on the cute boys when there are cats and dogs to be had.

Hope all is well, keep it fab.


1 comment:

  1. Cam loved this post! I searched diaper pants in the US and mainly got cloth diaper links but here is an interesting one:

    Apparently Max Azria designed these jersey harem pants. Yikes.

    Hope you are having a wonderful time.