Short Shrift!

It is July in Spain and savagely hot where I am, but etiquette rules of dressing still seem to occur even in this heat, and never melt away. One of them is wearing shorts/beach attire on the streets.

Women after a certain age i.e 30, never wear shorts on the streets. Spanish women still consider shorts to go shopping or run errands as truly unsightly, and they will not even run to the corner shop in a pair of shorts; even less so in the cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. Shorts away from the beach scream “foreigner” to Spanish women.

Typical attire for running errands in the summer

Unfortunately, it is the expat crowd that opt for shorts or even less clothing whilst away from the coast.
I get truly embarrassed when I see expats walking in supermarkets, or eating in restaurants (albeit by the coast) in bikini tops, men without tops etc. Truly disgusting!!! Why do Northern Europeans insist on doing this? Apart from being damn unsightly, it is so unhygienic. Northern Europeans/expats would never dream of walking around a supermarket in just their bikini and sarong at home, so why do it in Spain? When I have asked expat friends why they insist on doing it, the stock response is “because it’s hot!” Spanish women also feel the heat especially in the cities, but they would still never walk around like this.

Shopping in Madrid. I just love her smile!

In fact when I am at the beach, I can spot which women in a restaurant are Spanish and which are from Northern Europe (in particular the UK and Germany). Spanish women will always be covered in a pretty loose dress to have lunch. They never wear flip-flops into a restaurant (only on the sand),so they will have changed their shoes, taken off their sun hats/visors etc, and spruced up their hair before even entering a restaurant.
And despite the heat they always look remarkably cool and unflusterd.

Princess Letizia strolling in Mallorca during the summer, and not a pair of shorts in sight!

What do you think about wearing shorts or beach attire away from the coast, or in establishments near the coast i.e restaurants, banks, supermarkets etc. Am I getting on my high horse for nothing?

Would love to hear your views.


  1. Wow!!! That is amazing insights! I have been living in "Hot spots" last 10 years~ Florida and Costa Rica and never thought that it is not polite to wear shorts around. In Nothern America it is so common.
    I think It might be ok if your body not over exposed. And definitely rules are different at the City compare to the Beach.
    But I do love Spain woman Fashion and Class!)


  2. Thank you for stopping by Yelena. I think more than not being polite, shorts shout out "tourist!" I do think that tailored shorts can look really smart and have seen some really gorgeous short suits, but I have never seen anyone wearing them to the offices here in Spain.It's obviously a cultural thing ;-)

  3. Mrs C-thank you so much for stopping by and will most certainly be following your blog :-)

  4. Vanessa: oh I am so with you on this, you should see folk in Scotland when the sun comes out, my bête noir is shirtless men and half naked women, it should be reserved for the beach.

  5. What an interesting post, Vanessa! I'm not a short person myself. I very much dress for the occasion and you won't see me dressing in beach attire in the city.

    Hope you're having a wonderful July! xoxo

  6. What an interesting insight! I quite agree with you, you can always set the tourists apart, with their general lack of taste. And it´s true that they would never do the same thing in their country, so why do that on vacation?

    xx Ivana

  7. I think it all depends upon where you live. I hate to see people dressed unappropriately too, as in a bikini top and sarong in any place other than a beach or men going topless (yuk). Here in the states, things are a bit more casual and unless you're shopping at an upscale mall or downtown, it's acceptable to wear a pair of shorts and summer top to run errands but not for dinner out. I've taken to wearing long summer chemises this year for casual and more dressy summer occasions and have been loving it. They are cool, as they are sleeveless and sometimes just gathered at the bust and flowing down from there. I've purchased several and with a pair of sunglasses, hoop earrings and sandals it's a look that's summer chic and cool. Hope you had a lovely weekend, darling! xoxo

    Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou

    Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou

  8. Hi Sandy, thank you for taking the time to comment whilst on holiday. Well! as mummy to the frou frou girls, I wouldn't expect anything less from you. I bet you look gorgeously chic this summer ;-) Have a lovely week sweets. Enjoy the rest of your hols. Sending you hugs from Spain xx

  9. Phew! I guess I wouldn't look like a tourist then because I don't like to wear shorts! :D

  10. I'm back from three weeks visiting my in-laws in rural Minnesota, and boy could I share "the good, the bad, and the ugly" interpretations of sartorial summer fashion.

    I'm glad you posted this! We are in our 27th day of 100+ degree temps in Austin, TX, and it is truly a challenge to dress chicly for this hot and somewhat humid climate.

    I wear shorts at home, but I do not wear shorts to do errands or to see people except for recreational purposes. I prefer cool, loose dresses. And while flip flops are comfortable, they too are for home use. I prefer my brown leather wedges, which are just as comfortable, good for my feet, and make my legs look leaner. Very important when wearing a summer dress!

  11. I have nothing of significance to add. :) I just found your lovely blog and wanted to say hello.

  12. Really wearing short is depend upon where you are living.It is also depend upon the choice what you prefer to wear but not on the place whether it is beach,bank,residential place etc.


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