Window display at Gypsy at Callao and Santa Fe
One thing we love about Buenos Aires is the shopping. Yes, prices have gone up a lot - but shopping or window shopping is such a pleasure because there is so much variety. It's not like Toronto at all, where one usually shops at the mall where there's only the standard chain stores and very little in the way of quirky boutiques.
Perhaps it's because spring has just arrived and the weather is still variable, or perhaps the Porteñas are just fashionable, but everywhere we go, the women are wearing the most incredible scarves. We've seen thick knitted scarves, smooth shiny pashminas, colourful silk squares, skinny abstract cotton ties, shawls with tassels or bobbles at the edges... Even the most subtle neutral outfit comes to life with a shot of whimsy or colour. Our heads are constantly swiveling around just to catch a glimpse at the beautiful scarves that the Porteñas are wearing on the street.
Where do they get these scarves? Well the answer is easy - everywhere! You have scarves at stores specializing in accessories. You have scarves as accents for outfits on mannequins in shop windows. You have street vendors hanging their wares on small billboards along the street. We even found a cluster of wholesalers (who also sell retail, but in most of the stores except one or two you must make a minimum purchase of about 150 pesos to 200 pesos) on Lavalle north of Riobamba selling the same scarves for 80% to 70% less than the price in the boutiques.
Of course, I can't help myself! The selection is wonderful, the prices more than reasonable - every time we go out I end up with something fabulous. Here's just a small sample:
The prices of what I have here range from 5 pesos (!) to about 120 pesos. I don't think you could even buy two pairs of Comme Il Fauts (they cost around 590 pesos now) and certainly not a single Hermés carré with the total amount I spent on scarves this trip.
How to wear them? In this regard, the Porteñas don't have many different ways - perhaps the scarves are so pretty all you need is to tie them in a simple way that shows off the pattern and colour. The most common way we've seen involves folding a square scarf in a triangle, with the point of the triangle pointing down in the front - and the ends criss crossed at the back of the neck and the ends brought to the front. This is mostly used when the scarf has bobbles or tassels on the edges, and it's a very fun, casual look. When the scarf is oblong and long, we've seen it looped around the neck once, or tied in a knot with the ends hanging down in front.
I think the Porteñas are giving the Parisiennes a run for their money when it comes to accessorizing with scarves! For more ways to tie your scarf, take a look at the knotting cards on Hermés website here for an abundance of ideas.
How to make your scarf unnoticeable 101: Hide it under your jacket whilst wearing pink crocs, a Tilley Hat, and your backpack slung in front like it was a baby. Yes, you too can look like this in Buenos Aires and not get robbed (probably because people who see you on the street will be afraid of you!) By the way I am wearing Odille's Sailboat Skirt - sort of adds to the sartorial terror, don't you think?