Men's Fashion In South America: How Should You Dress?

 

This post is long overdue.

I'll explain why.

Several months ago, two friends from Canada visited me here in Mexico City

"Let's go out," they said.

I agreed.

"Let me get ready" I said, expecting them to do the same.

After a few minutes I exited my room, surprised to see them wearing the same things as when I had entered.

"You guys going to change?" I asked

"Isn't this good enough?" One of them said.

I observed them. One was wearing an UnderArmour shirt and shoes with jeans that were two sizes too big. The other was in Cargo shorts and donning a teeshirt with some metal band on it.

"Jesus Christ," I muttered under my breath.

 

I almost damn near went back in my room and wrote this post right then.

 

But, better late than never.

 

What my friends failed to acknowledge was that a man doesn't get laid in South America just on account of being White. Girls down here (like anywhere else) have tastes that are slightly more refined than skin colour. How you look matters. As does how you dress, speak and conduct yourself.

 

Now, I'm no fashion guru. But after spending a great deal of time in Central and South America, I've found ways to tailor my style in a manner that allows me to look good and stand out from the locals while still avoiding the risk of being robbed due to ostentatious.

 

Here's how you should dress to impress in South America:

 

 

1: Avoid Graphic Tees and Cargo Shorts

This should be obvious, but apparently it's not. The amount of foreigners I see in clubs with shorts and lame teeshirts is nothing short of astounding. Guys, leave this shit at home. Nothing dries a woman up faster than when the bottom half of your body looks like you've just returned from an African safari, and the top half looks just you've just returned from your high school gym class. If you're hiking in the Andes away from civilization, fine - wear what you want. But if you're in public have the common decency to dress like an adult.

          Don't wear this.

          Don't wear this.

 

 

2: Keep your day-to-day fashion simple

While exploring the city, you're going to want to keep things basic. This is for two reasons. The first is that you want to be comfortable, especially if you're in a warm city. The second is you want to avoid looking wealthy to lower your chances of being robbed.

But simple doesn't have to mean ugly.

Rule number one about looking good is making sure your clothes fit properly. Unless you're tremendously overweight, you can make a $5 tee-shirt from Wal-Mart look good.

In LATAM, You'll usually find me in something like this (without the shit-eating grin)

In LATAM, You'll usually find me in something like this (without the shit-eating grin)

 

 

3: Have nice shoes

Women notice a man's shoes. I didn't realize this until recently, but it is an extremely important part of a man's wardrobe. This is also an area where you can really capitalize on the ineptness of foreigners in South America. Leave the runners and flip-flops at home (unless you're at the beach) and get yourself a simple pair of boots for everyday use.

I'd recommend something like these:

         Simple but aesthetic 

         Simple but aesthetic 

 

 

4: Club Attire

Here you can get a bit more creative. Dressing well in a bar or club will put you ahead of 99% of both the foreign and local competition without even having to open your mouth. You don't have to look like a dandy, but you will want to stand out in some manner. Pick up a cheap blazer from H&M, a pocket square and a collared shirt and you can end up with something like this for less than $100:

Formal enough to stand out, casual enough to signal that you know how to have a good time.

Formal enough to stand out, casual enough to signal that you know how to have a good time.

For shoes, something like these will suffice. Just make sure they pair well with what you're wearing (these don't with the above outfit, specifically) You can pick up cheap pairs along these lines at Aldo if you don't want to break the bank.

 

5: Pick clothes that are congruent with your personality

Above all, you're going to want to wear clothes that match your personality. For example, I'm a low-key guy so I could never get away with a pink suit and alligator shoes. There would be too much of a disconnect between my personality and my look. I wouldn't be calibrated, and people would get confused.

If you're a high-energy guy and extremely outgoing, you're more likely to pull off a more extravagant look. If you're not, don't force it.

My personal, everyday style both in South America and at home can best be described as "Daniel Craig in Layer Cake:"

Nice and simple.

 

Until next time,

Vance.

Want More Information About Latin America? Check Out My City Guides