Madrid Made Me Wear My Weirdest Outfit Yet

And I truly thought I couldn't get any weirder.

It's been two weeks since I've left Spain, and I'm going through two distinct emotional whirl winds. One that is, what I like to call, PED (or Post Europe Depression), which I have witnessed every single time I've returned to America after being anywhere in Europe for over four days, which is also seen here and here. PED is really going to hit hard when I live in Stockholm for four months this fall and have to unwillingly return to the states come December. The second journey is one that is focused on style, of course, because being in a foreign country for some time that carries a completely different fashion sense than your own can challenge everything you once imagined to be true. This obviously happened when I was in France for two whole weeks last year, obviously happened when I was still trying to find myself when I was a mere 16-year-old and I went to London, Paris, and Florence in the span of 10 days. These all make sense, as those regions all carry distinctive styles that are a obviously a product of that region.

But Spain? Really??

Spain seems to nail literally everything but personal style, and also knowing how to sleep during normal hours. This isn't saying that Spain is an unfashionable country, but it's really just an observation that it's not their priority. Yes, we have beautiful Spanish clothing and shoe brands like Paloma Wool and About Arianne and the best style icons like Maria Bernad, all originating from Barcelona. But I didn't even step foot into this city, and everywhere else, including Madrid, really could care less about style. To be quite honest, the most stylish people I saw were French tourists and exchange students from Scandinavia and, not to brag, myself, only because I actually put far too much effort into the clothes I put on my body. Was it to overcompensate for the lack of style inspiration? Maybe. What I do know is that I tried a lot of things that fell outside the norm for me whilst on this trip. One being the concept of napping, which is something I will never understand as I always feel like a truck just ran into me the minute I wake up from a mid-day sleep. But that didn't stop me on this trip! The other is how I approached style—I usually try to get a general grasp of a new city's style and mold it to fit my own personal style, but that wasn't the case in Madrid. In Granada, I did tend to fall into this sleepy summer aesthetic that screams Granada and Call Me by Your Name, but in Madrid, I, to put in the simplest of terms, did whatever the fuck I wanted with my style. I didn't feel that I fit into their regional style, so instead of whining about it, I just created my own rules. And this made me go over the edge in some ways, especially with one particular outfit in mind. See below.

Dress is vintage, from Antoinette in Brooklyn. Jeans are vintage Levi's, from a (wonderful) vintage shop in Granada. Turtleneck by Madewell. Shoes by Zara (similar here).

You probably recognize that infamous dress, as I wore it practically once a week near the end of last summer, sometimes alone, sometimes with jeans, sometimes with shorts. But all in the summer. Yes, spring is already here and we should be able to don summer styles freely with zero obstacles, but the weather has obviously proven itself to be a huge one! This isn't limited to the states, it was also a hinderance in Spain. It typically gets no warmer than 50 in March in Madrid, so I was forced to somehow transform this obviously-summer dress into a winter one. When I was packing for this trip, my friend told me she was bringing a single dress, just in case. Without even thinking, I stuffed this one in my suitcase because it's actually way more versatile than it looks, and I really didn't know what to expect of a) the weather or, even more significantly, b) the style of Spain. Upon my decision to go completely off the rails with my style decisions, I pulled this baby out of my tiny suitcase and spent some time figuring out how I could create my weirdest outfit yet with what I hardly had. I would typically pair it with one of my pairs of blue vintage Levi's, but the single pair I brought was far from wearable, as sweat and wear of the past few days practically destroyed them until their next wash. So I scanned my options of pants and immediately decided to wear the pair I had just bought, which was a beige (or khaki??) pair of Levi's 501s that I couldn't say no to, because whenever I find a pair of vintage Levi's that fit me, I feel obligated to purchase them. That could've been the outfit, but I also felt obligated to wear a turtleneck under everything, as it was still too cold to go out sans layers. And to make matters even worse, I decided to finish the 'fit with the most extra pair of shoes I own, aka these red boots that make for excellent looks and loads of foot cramps if you happen to wear them all day walking around the city of Madrid.

And that, my friends, is how I managed to defy Madrid's style and also somehow end up wearing all of my strangest sartorial decisions in one outfit. They key here is, however, that although I look like a walking catastrophe, I felt like the complete opposite. Is it because it truly defines my chaotic nature? Maybe. Just maybe.

Photo taken by Maddie.


Granada is the City of my European Summer Dreams

Even when it's only March.

To all my travel-lovers: do you ever wonder exactly why you love traveling? Is it the cultural immersion? The history? Maybe just the food and drink aspect?

Although tapas and vino sound like the best reason to visit Spain, for me, there's a huge factor that keeps me coming back to new places like this one. Just like fashion, traveling to new cultures has transformative effects. So if you were to ask me why I would drop my entire life and responsibilities and travel, I would answer with this: living in a foreign country for just a few days has the ability to make the impossible possible. It's got powers that make dreams come true! Sounds cheesy, yes, but let me explain:

If I'm feeling a lil' blue, I always turn to fashion to up my mood and transform into something better that only style can fix. Its healing powers are why I constantly fix this one part of my life if all else is falling apart. Or simply, if I wish to embody a certain feeling that can only be performed through fashion, I do the same. Lately, this has been me with an easy breezy summer, one that is obviously nowhere to be found based on cold temps and far too many responsibilities but is surprisingly easy to produce with the clothes I put on my body. This longing for summer for 16 months straight is where travel comes in, especially Granada. Being in this town for only three days, even when it's been raining and chilly for 80% of the time, makes me feel just like I'm in summer, but particularly my '80s summer dream that I've been dreaming of nonstop ever since I watched Call Me by Your Name for the first time (then again and again for four more times, plus the book twice). Was I in Italy? Nope. Was it summer? Definitely not, as it poured rain for two out of the three days I was there, and it never reached over 55 degrees. But did I feel like I was living in that European summer dream that I immediately travel to when I hear the first notes of Hallelujah Junction, aka the opening song of the aforementioned film, which I also watched on the plane ride way there? Absolutely.

The minute I was placed in Granada I saw several orange trees on every street corner, and I immediately thought of those infamous peach trees that instantly allude to a sweet summer. Walking through the tight alleyways that acted as roads and looking at bright but faded buildings and noticing sleepy streets one minute and lively ones the next transferred me to a place of zero responsibilities, of summer siestas (which happen year-round in Spain, btw), and of a summer love that can transcend all other romances. Did I fall in love in Granada? Absolutely not, I was there for three days. But could I fall in love in the way that summer romances go if I lived there? Maybe, maybe not, but I know I did fall in love with the town. Shouldn't that be enough?

Throughout my summer fantasy, I realized it would be even more effective if I dressed the part. Sounds easy, no? Well actually, no—as I mentioned earlier, it was raining and nowhere near summer temps. If only I could wear denim-cutoffs and breezy button-ups with espadrille slides, or maybe even ditch the shoes altogether. But the strange March weather (the friend I was visiting said it never rains) hindered on my summer dreams, making me have several fashion-related mental breakdowns. But alas, they were cured when I decided to work in summer (and CMBYN)-esque vibes into my looks that were typically covered with a rain jacket and consisted of pants instead of shorts. For exhibit A we have...

Button-down by Urban Outfitters (similar here). Strapless top (under button-down) by Tobi. Levi's are vintage, from The Break. Shoes by Veja, in collaboration with Madewell. Leather jacket and raincoat not shown, but definitely needed to keep me warm and dry when the sun wasn't out for ten minutes when this photo was taken.

I attempted to style my favorite button-down at the moment, aka one coming from the men's section and that has nude sketches, because why not, in a way I had never done before—completely unbuttoned, tied at the waist, and with a taupe tube top that I typically wear alone or under a blazer, not under button-downs. Even sans pants, I already felt like I fit into a Spanish summer, and if it were feasible, I would slip on my Levi's cutoffs and call it a day. The no shoes were intentional. But to fit with the weather, I slipped on full-length Levi's, aka the next best thing to the desired shorts, and my newest (and now deemed favorite) sneakers from Veja, which is a 100% sustainable sneaker company based in Paris. Felt like a perfect compromise with the weather, as I would still wear full-length Levi's in the summer, and these Vejas perfectly match those unmistakeable shoes Armie Hammer constantly wears in the film. Me standing under this orange tree is resembling of Elio picking a few peaches right before the scene (if you've watched the movie, you should know what I'm talking about).

Shirt bought from an Angel Olsen show last December that are (unfortunately) unavailable. Pants are vintage, also from The Break. Jacket by Madewell. Shoes by Veja. Sunglasses by Lisa Says Gah.

On this day, the sun was actually out all day long. I took this weather to my advantage and pulled on breezy trousers in the most perfect shade of dusty green with a tee displaying a photo of Angel Olsen. For a look perfect for Elio (or Yorkie from San Junipero), I used my newest denim jacket, a staple I will never stop buying more of, as my (only!) layer, and that was it. No neck scarf, no extravagant jewelry, nothing. And that's what summer should be about—straightforward and simple, accessories not needed. I felt like I had just gotten off of a bike in Crema, ready to grab a drink or bite of food, which I actually did right after these photos were taken, sitting outside on the cobble-stone streets facing the beautiful city of Granada. Surreal is an understatement.

Will I ever stop talking about Call Me by Your Name on this blog? The answer is unknown. But I do know that even when summer is full-blown come this May, I'll never be able to have this feeling unless I'm in the European summer city of my dreams. Until next time, Granada.

First photo taken by me, other photos taken by Averie and Maddie.