Malaga Street Style

One of the great joys of frequent travel is the experience of stepping off of a plane and finding oneself in a completely changed environment, from the geography to the sartorial choices of the locals. I find people watching to be a fantastic barometer of how a city moves and grooves, the level of individualism present, or even as a mirror to my own sartorial choices (as in...hmmm..maybe its time I ought to put that cropped leather jacket away for a season or so....NAH! One more year!!)

Hubby and I have recently returned from the Spanish city of Malaga, where we enjoyed a lovely four days of relaxing, nosing-around, eating, and loads of people watching. Malaga is quite a good city to observe street style, as it has that wonderful European "pavement culture" (as my husband calls it), and the outdoor cafes, restaurants, and bars are full of life well into the wee hours. 

It is no surprise that the threshold for what is considered "warm weather" varies drastically from one part of the world to the next. So even though when we landed,  the days, though breezy, were between 18-22 degrees Celsius (that's about 65-72 degrees Farenheit), the locals were still very much wrapped-up for winter. The nights did get chilly, right enough, but if you live in the Scottish Highlands, 65-72 is about as good as it gets. Any hotter than that, people here actually start cracking-up with heatstroke. No kidding. I've seen it. 

If, however,  I were pressed to boil Malaga's  street-style from last week into one word....


There were boots everywhere. Predominantly tall boots, equestrian-style with and without heels, but there were also a fair amount of over-the-knee boots as well, which, you will remember exploded onto the scene in 2009. 

For the most part, the overall vibe of Malaga's street style is quite a lot like this.... 

AHA! But first, A warning! I am NOT Tommy Ton. My subjects are not models standing outside of fashion shows, clambering for a bit of my lens,  or members of the fashion editor's elite. In fact, they don't know that I am there with my iPhone at all. Or so I hope. Hence the blurring-out of identifiable features. I must protect the innocent. So where was I? Ah yes, street style in Malaga. This is the photo that I think captures what Real Gals of all ages are wearing on the streets of Malaga. 

Tall boots, billowy scarf, short cropped leather jacket or blazer.
The colour palette was either neutral browns, camel, or black.
This look was absolutely everywhere. 

When I say this look was absolutely everywhere, I mean ev-ery-where.  As looks go, I like this look. I wear a version of this myself when I am out and about in my natural habitat. I think that boots provide us with a type of armour against the harsh environment of poor weather. (Again, its all relative. 65-70 Farenheit....sigh....). 

Incidentally, you know what else is used as armour against the environment? Mobile phones and texting. See the gals in the photo? They are both messing with their phones. Go to any major style blog where they are photographing people on the street, and see how many are either texting, on the phone (or pretending to be on the phone), or even just holding on to the thing, as if to infer that at any moment it might ring, and it will likely be Monsieur Lagerfeld himself inviting you to his yacht in St. Tropez for the after party.  Remember in the 90's, when texting and tweeting didn't exist as they do now, and the only thing that people used as a social awkwardness detractor was smoking? 

Right. I guess people still do that too. The Highland Fashionista really wants you to quit smoking, by the way. It is a really, really, terrible way to make yourself ill. Trust me on this one. I work on the inside. Anyway. Clothes. 

In addition to the tall boots/scarf/blazer/leather jacket look, which I suppose is a sort of variation on a preppy theme, was another variation on that same theme. This one. Sorry, I wasn't able to get a real photo of this one without risking my cover.

Ralph Lauren
The Ralph Lauren thing is still going strong in Malaga, mostly spotted on the late 30s-40s and up crowd. Many of them were also wearing these.
Neck Scarves. Not something I have seen in a while, but the look is classic, albeit maybe a bit buttoned-down for the Highland Fashionista's tastes for a night out on the town.  Which is where I saw two gals dressed in this very combination. Sitting at the very same table, which happened to be the table next to ours, no less. They wore near matching Polo Ralph Lauren oxfords with white collar and cuffs, and a silk neck scarf. Then the next day I saw a woman wearing a coral blazer over a pin striped oxford and a neck scarf. Very smart look, actually. SO. Even though I couldn't get a photo in this instance (without getting EspaƱol is not good enough to try to explain my American-Scottish-fashionista take on things, and I don't know the word for blog....although it's, anyway, I though it was worth a mention. 

The going-out at night crowd were a wee bit younger, perhaps college student-age, and if I could have summed up the look that is popular with this crowd in one word it would be......

denim shorts. 

Okay, two words.  Pictured hereis a more sedate version of the nighttime look that dominated the streets.

Again leather jacket, boots (short this time)
And denim shorts. With tights. Spotted ones. 

There were shorts all over the place, especially at night. Lots of tights under shorts, stilettos with shorts, boots with shorts, and shorts that were really more like hot pants. You know, club wear....the kind of shorts that look like diapers only the pockets are hanging below where the jeans have been cut-off? Yeah, like that.

There is an interesting article in the US edition of Vogue magazine this month (the one with Adele on the cover) about this very topic. The author, who I cannot remember at the moment and unfortunately I finished the magazine and left it in the hotel... anyway, the author states that shorts are a way for younger women to wear something that they know older gals can't get away with, and that is why it is so popular with 20 year-olds. It's the because I can theory. Although I agree that diaper-y shorty-shorts are mainly the domain of the teen and twenty-year-old set and certain entertainers, I disagree with her stance that it is essentially a way for younger women to "stick it to" gals of a certain age. That implies an inherent competitiveness among women, and I think that, even though there are plenty of women out there who think that way, that, my friends, is a great big heap of baloney. My theory? For most of us, our tastes simply change as we get older.  Do I want to wear a denim diaper  like the 20 year olds? No, I do not. But would I wear this? 

Jenni Kayne suit.
Yep, I probably would. But not with tights. I did that in the nineties. Especially not with patterned tights. Makes you look like you have a condition

Finally, the boot-loving streets of Malaga seemed to have an extraordinary number of over-the-knee boots roaming about. 

Over the knee boots are difficult. I really wanted a pair about two seasons ago, but never got a pair, as, like I said, they are difficult. When they work, they are awesome. Here. 

Rachel Zoe courtesy
Here, Rachel Zoe is working those boots. I think this works because of the lightness of the palette, and that she is wearing loose and covering things on top, and actual trousers on the bottom, even if you can't see them. These boots really do look best with skinny jeans or trousers underneath, lest you risk the Pretty Woman trap. 

The hooker with the heart of gold and her
over-the-knee boots.
Courtesy Wikipedia
Conversely, an attempt to temper your over the knee boots with a flat heel may render you thusly.

Robin Hood, Pirate, or Adam Ant?
You decide.

That is why they are difficult. There were so many pairs on the streets it was hard to whittle them down. Here is one that made quite an impression on me. 

Working several of the local trends at once: denim shorts, over the knee
boots,  tights.  For me, though this is not completely over the top,
this doesn't quite work either. Its just too easy to stray too close to
Pretty Woman territory in over the knee boots.  

I have to say, I think the gals on the street I saw getting it right were pairing their over the knee boots with something loose and casual on top to balance the edginess (like Rachel Zoe did)...something like an oversized fisherman's sweater. But overall, I maintain that over the knee boots....they're difficult. 

So there it is, a quick and oversimplified look at the last week's street style in Malaga, Spain. If you are planning a visit, make sure to eat out, the food is great! The people are friendly and elegant, and the people-watching is fantastic! 

And if you see this guy....

Smile Honey! 

That's my husband.  If you see him in a city near you getting his picture taken, smile. I'm probably looking at you. 


  1. Hah! I do the same thing to get pics! My husband has been cut out of a number of pics to capture the person/thing in the background!

  2. They're such good sports, aren't they? Especially when there is wine involved, like in the one in that post.


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