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Blue Jeans in Spain?

I will be traveling in Spain the last half of October. While I appreciate that denim jeans are not the most practical from a washing and drying standpoint (yes,I do that occasionally), they are comfortable and practical from many other viewpoints. So, my questions are-do tourists where jeans in Spain and do local folks wear jeans?

Posted by
2279 posts

Yes we wear blue jeans in Spain too! Though I notice tourists (especially from the US) usually wear a baggy-er cut of jeans, for comfort of course. In Spain one mostly sees a tighter cut, usually with more different colours than blue, like red or lighter colour

Posted by
4412 posts

My question Jeff would be "why does it matter"? If you're comfortable in jeans wear jeans, why should what others wear have any impact on your clothing of choice?

I struggle to understand this apparent obsession with clothing from many Americans. I don't see any similar questions from other nationalities on the forums I visit. You're visiting a Western European country, of course people wear jeans there.

I never wore a thawb when in Dubai or a djellabah in Morocco and I'm sure you wouldn't either. Jeans are global, everyone wears them, nobody is going to bat an eyelid. Actually nobody is going to bat an eyelid whatever you wear as long as it's not offensive or a bit outrageous.

Posted by
279 posts

I think that this “obsession” is the result of the fact that Americans are “always” getting heat due to the way they dress, tip, or otherwise behave. So it would be nice if people would not be difficult when an American attempts to avoid being the “ugly American”.

Posted by
5689 posts

"as long as it's not offensive" ...aye, there's the rub. Not a bad idea to check local expectations about what should be covered and make sure you cover it.

But the "no jeans" advice was around when I traveled in 1969 and times have indeed changed.

Posted by
7948 posts

The term "ugly American" has nothing to do with wearing jeans, it is about being obnoxious, loud, demanding or rude.

Jeans are the most normal item to wear anywhere in Europe. You must have a guide book from the 1950's if you think only tourists wear them. The same thing goes for shoes. Everyone wears Nikes, Adidas, Pumas, etc. Hip packs/belly bags are all the trend right now, so go ahead and wear those too, but you might want to wear it cross-body instead of around your waist.

Posted by
14415 posts

AFAIK, the Ugly American comes from the book back in the 60's about the epic failure of American foreign diplomats due to their elitism and ignorance.

Posted by
2518 posts

Jeans are fine. Locals wear them.

IF you want to blend in a bit, wear nicely fitting ones (tighter than normal American dad jeans but not “skinny”) that have a simple medium wash, or black. Unless you are a trendy young woman who knows the ins and outs of the “distressed denim” look, no rips in the jeans. T shirts and sneakers are fine, but for going out to dinner change into a polo or button shirt, but the jeans are fine at all but very upscale restaurants.

And these questions are valuable. I asked one about what to wear in Turkey because there are real cultural concerns about women’s attire (what is a perfectly normal outfit in the US or most of Europe could easily cause trouble for me in Turkey). Obviously this isn’t a concern for Jeff in Spain but pretending clothes don’t matter is shortsighted. Dressing in a way that doesn’t call attention to oneself is valuable. I like to blend in and observe, not stick out. In Europe I can do so but a few clothing tweaks help.

Posted by
4412 posts

but the jeans are fine at all but very upscale restaurants.

Even in the most upscale of restaurants jeans are fine as long as they're clean and smart. I've dined in some very posh restaurants wearing jeans and a shirt and never had an eyebrow raised. For the prices I'm paying I should be able to wear whatever I want!

And no-one suggested paying no heed to dress requirements which is why I recommended not wearing anything considered obscene. Of course women have to consider more carefully what they wear but the OP was referring specifically to jeans in Spain.

Posted by
253 posts

I appreciate all the positive responses. I plan to be a good visitor whenever I travel and don't wish to stand out more than I do or insult any of the citizens of a particular locale. Since I have not been to Spain before, have not been on a RS tour before and usually travel away from cities, I was hoping for some current information on what is appropriate. Thank you to those who have provided that.

I have found differences around the world in what is appropriate. For instance, I found more people dress up in Italy. You'd be really asking for trouble wearing a blue bandana in the Bloods territories of LA, right? It is insulting to show the soles of your feet in India. In Peru, holding your hand flat to indicate the height of someone (like a child) implies they are homosexual.

As a tourist, I find there are plenty of ways I can offend citizens of the locales I am visiting. It is helpful to understand some local customs from the beginning. Spending a lot of money doesn't entitle me to be insulting, either. So, thanks for the advice.

Posted by
2575 posts

Jeff... Spain is no "a country" per se in the traditional sense, meaning that it's rather an amalgam of different cultures that, for historical reasons -not relevant now- and some wars in between, has turned into a sort of one.

However, the differences remain and the habits, customs and mores can be quite different in some instances among these cultures (ie. some are very religious and visiting churches and cathedrals might require certain attire, while others are far more easy-going and more relax on this; some are more formal when dining out while others are more laid-back, etc)

This is to say that in order to be more precise with "how people dress?", or whether "is this or that appropriate?" etc, one should specify which regions will you be visiting.

Having said that, in the matter of blue jeans, as a general rule it's ok in most instances, as it is in much of the Western world.

Posted by
2516 posts

I have been travelling the world for well over 40 years now and think I have worn blue jeans in every country I have visited including Spain,don't worry about it ,wear what the heck you like and are comfortable with.

Posted by
4953 posts

JC, places like Hutong and Duck and Waffle in London frown on jeans, for example. Your personal preference is not a controlling factor against a printed dress code. It is perfectly true that vastly-wealthy young male entrepreneurs and demand the right to a polo shirt in upscale places.

Posted by
2575 posts

@Tim... same goes in many other places, including in specific instances and/or places in Spain. But that wouldn't be the "vast majority of situations".

Posted by
4946 posts

I found that jeans are a pain to hand wash and not good for hot weather. Also, jeans are heavy and take up more space in luggage.

Decades ago, I dropped jeans for kakis and that has worked well.

Of course, you are planning to go in October, so it won't be terribly hot. Still, jeans just don't seem to cut it when dressing up. Just my take.

Posted by
666 posts

I wear clothing that will protect me from the sun when traveling. I have never worn blue jeans outside the USA but perhaps I don't dress like most Americans. I wear nylon hiking/travel pants, and lightweight long sleeved shirts. The nylon pants dry quicker when hand washed and hung up to air dry. Consider what clothing will dry fastest and protect you best from the sun best. Then you won't have to worry much whether your clothing is appropriate for which venues you visit. Yeah I dressed this way in Italy in July 2017 when the weather was 80-90 degrees or higher; I will dress the same way in Spain.

Posted by
4412 posts

JC, places like Hutong and Duck and Waffle in London frown on jeans, for example. Your personal preference is not a controlling factor against a printed dress code. It is perfectly true that vastly-wealthy young male entrepreneurs and demand the right to a polo shirt in upscale places.

The Duck and Waffle website clearly states that their dress code is 'smart casual'. In that respect a decent pair of jeans certainly fits the bill, what is the provenance of their frowning on jeans? Hutong states that their dress code is....smart casual, and entry will not be allowed to those wearing shorts, sports kit, flip-flops or sports shoes. Again, jeans will fit the description of smart casual and are certainly not explicitly mentioned as not allowed.

So whilst I didn't state that my personal preference has any bearing on the general rules and attitudes of the vast majority of restaurants my experience has proven to be that jeans (a nice pair) are perfectly acceptable attire in the majority of restaurants including those considered "upscale".

I'm not sure of the relevance or provenance of "vastly wealthy young male entrepreneurs demanding to wear polo shirts" comes into the discussion. I'm neither vastly wealthy or an entrepreneur but I am more often than not found wearing polo shirts. I don't demand to be accepted into a restaurant whilst wearing one, I simply turn up and wait to be seated with nary a word nor a frown from the wait staff. Whilst in Palma last my family and I had lunch at what is considered the best restaurant in the city, the Michelin starred Marc Fosh. I knew that their dress code was relaxed so I arrived in shorts and a polo shrt, they were a nice pair of well fitted chino shorts but shorts nontheless. I was not alone in this regard and no-one paid any attention. Thankfully things have moved on from the stuffy past.

Posted by
2516 posts

I don't think I would ever base my travelling wardrobe on the dress code of one or two restaurant that I am unlikely to visit anyway.
I wear trekking trousers most of the time but you can't beat a good hard wearing well worn in pair of jeans for travelling.

Posted by
315 posts

A pair of pants that can be worn daily without wash and be standing upon return is good for me in the winter. I dislike wearing them on the plane though.