A Note on the Style of Night Life in Buenos Aires

22 Dec

People think of Argentinians as very fashionable, and justly so. Walking through the Microcentro during the day, one finds high powered businessmen and women bustling about, wearing the latest fashions. There is a certain air carried by so many here, with the large sunglasses covering the face up and the head cocked at a slight angle upwards, as if to say that they are better than you and they know it. I may have even started to develop this walk, if for nothing else than to blend in better.

Sharp looking dress shoes that have recently been polished, high quality leather goods, and hair styles that reflect a desire to appear more European prove to be the overwhelming moda here. Yet going out at night is a totally different thing altogether. For all of the effort put into looking good during the day, it appears as though Argentinians are just trying to not look well-groomed at night. And they are trying.

This is a part of the style for young Argentinians going out for a night on the town. Forget about the sharp shoes, dress pants, or button down shirt. Expect to find guys in T-shirts, either blank or with a catchy phrase on it. Jeans that look dirty and torn match sneakers that have miles and miles underneath their soles. Occasionally you’ll find a group with one or two guys wearing a nicer polo or button down shirt, but for the most part, this smells of trying too hard. And in a culture that is so fixed on appearances, the guys going out at night want it to appear as though they simply went out for a quick beer. A relaxed, easy going night out that lasts at a dance club until dawn.

Think of the differences, for example, of other countries where it’s looked down upon to show up at a club in sneakers. You usually can’t even get in unless you have shoes. I admit I haven’t been to the most exclusive clubs in the city, but by no means have the places I’ve gone to been dives or holes in the wall. You simply show up wearing what you’ve got.

If you’re a lady, it’s slightly different. You can expect to dress up the way you might at home, be that in a dress or skirt, or whatever. Sorry for the double standard, but it is what it is. While I can get away with wearing a T-shirt, you have to look nice. Still, the Tees can’t just be any old stinky Tee. It has to be wearable, and not the shirt you have worn to bed for 10 years.

This reminds me of how back in college, I would dress like a schlub college student the whole week, so when I went out on the weekend I’d want to fix up and look sharp. At least slightly sharp. But once I had to start working and dress appropriately every day, I would take advantage of the time off to dress down. Maybe it’s a similar case here. Perhaps Argentinians feel the need to dress up so well during the day that at night they go with whatever. Yin to a yang. One thing’s for sure: it’s definitely deliberate and unspoken. Just like so many other things here.


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