Dressing like a Local in Granada

Emma Sutherland Granada, Spain


October 11, 2021

One of the biggest unknowns that I faced before traveling to Spain was deciding what to pack. I did research on the weather and followed Arcadia’s guide but nothing compares to being in Spain and seeing the fashion firsthand. First things first, do not over pack. Not only are there tons of clothing stores ranging from local artisans to H&M but there are also amazing handmade souvenirs that you are going to want to take home, so make sure you have enough room in your suitcase. For this reason I recommend limiting your number of outfits and doing laundry once or twice a week. In terms of the fashion here in Spain, it is a lot more formal than in the US. In Spain no one wears athletic wear out in the street so I would suggest that you only bring a few pairs of leggings, running shorts and workout tops that you'll use only for the gym. Spaniards also do not wear sweatpants or hoodies out in public, so you can bring one or two but you’ll mostly be wearing them in your home.

In terms of fashion for women, most wear skirts or dresses in the warmer weather and jeans and sweaters when it gets colder. It is not common to see women wearing shorts, especially ripped jean ones. But I know shorts are easier for many activities so I would still bring a few pairs just try and pick ones on the nicer side. Women here also do not wear a lot of t-shirts, especially graphic ones, they prefer nicer, more fitted tops. For women's footwear, most wear fashion sneakers like Adidas or Vans but it is also common to wear sandals. Not many women wear heels here so if you bring a nice pair of sandals you shouldn’t need to pack any heels.

Spanish men also dress much nicer than in the US. They don’t typically wear graphic t-shirts or shirts with writing on them. They prefer plain t-shirts and button downs. Men also don’t usually dress in athletic clothing and prefer knee length denim or khaki shorts or in the summer and jeans or khakis in the winter. The footwear is very similar to the United States but it is uncommon to see a Spaniard in a baseball hat. For both men and women I would recommend bringing a light fleece and a good quality rain jacket. Granada is very warm so in the winter a rain jacket with a fleece underneath will act as a good winter coat. The rain jacket is also necessary because it will rain on your trip and you will need it to get back and forth from classes. You can also bring small rain boots with you, but you don’t need an umbrella because you can buy cheap ones here.

Other important things that you should remember to pack are outlet adapters because they are more expensive in Spain than they are in the US. I also recommend you pack a portable charger, a water bottle, a small backpack for day trips, and bring at least 100 Euros with you from the US.

My first week here I realized that if you want to blend in with the locals you need to dress like them too! So one weekend day I decided to put on a nice dress and start walking the streets of Granada. I didn’t have a plan or a map, I just wanted to explore the cobblestone streets and historic buildings. The city is absolutely stunning and there are so many beautiful Plazas and fountains and cafes filled with people everyday. As I was walking I stumbled into this beautiful church. To my surprise when I walked inside there was a traditional Spanish wedding going on. I stayed to watch the wedding as well to take in all the beautiful stained glass and paintings. After the cathedral I bought a delicious traditional pastry called a Casadielle and sat on a bench looking out at a plaza. While I was sitting there, the woman beside me assumed that I was a local and started up a conversation with me. She was very nice and it was a good way to practice my Spanish with someone before heading back home for a delicious home cooked meal from my host mom. I had a great morning exploring the city and dressing like a Spaniard made me feel like one. So my final advice is come prepared, blend in with the locals and explore the city as much as you can! ¡Feliz Viaje!