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Latin American Fashion Report: Part 1

August 3, 2011

As you might’ve known from a few posts down, I spent the last two months traveling in Costa Rica and Panama. I was excited to explore this new part of the world for many reasons, and like always getting a new perspective on fashion was one of them. Sadly, in Costa Rica the well was a bit shallow. As many people sarcastically observed when they found out I was a fashion writer, “Well, you must have plenty to write about here!” It’s true – when people weren’t in their bathing suits, the sartorial choices left a bit to be desired. (And if you’re sitting there saying that this is probably due to being in the third world and all, I’m basing this solely on the style of the capital, San Jose, which had both the will and the wealth to care about fashion at all.) However, one thing I can say is that the women there have an even higher ratio of killer shoes worn on a day-to-day basis than even what I see in New York. I kept feeling pervy as I would look them in the eye, notice their shoes and have to stare at them, then look back up again.

Anyway, what really surprised me (in many ways) was Panama. I hadn’t planned on going there, and the ten days I spent in Bocas del Toro and Panama City were pretty much on a whim, so I barely knew anything about the country or its people. At least to me, I don’t really think of Panama as a fashion capital, so it was fun to see that there was much to feast the eyes on. First, take a look at some of the traditional clothing of the native tribes:

The first is a group of women from the Ngabere tribe of Almirante, and the second is two women from the Kuna tribe of Sand Blas in Panama City.  I love the colors of the Ngabere dresses, and the pattern of the trim. And how funky are the Kuna outfits? The mixing of patterns is like something off of last season’s runway, no? I couldn’t get enough of them.

If you’re wondering what the modern girls of Panama wear, stay tuned for part two.

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