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Gringal

Apr 16, 2009, 8:18 AM

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CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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It's hot. It's going to get hotter. So, what's okay, in terms of general propriety and respect for our hosts, to wear in public?

Nevermind what the youngsters are wearing. I'm talking about the uh, "over 40" crowd. And up. And up.

I've noticed that middle aged Mexicans are pretty covered up. However, checking out the plaza recently, I noticed that the non-Mexicans, aka (gasp) "gringos" and "gringas" are another story. Some dress nicely, but there are also plenty of shorts, revealing t-shirts (sometimes even the undershirt type) and generally over-exposed attire. Nevermind the visual disaster this can be; I'm talking about acceptable in terms of walking around in public, in Mexico.

Opinions? What is/ is not okay in public?



La Isla


Apr 16, 2009, 9:33 AM

Post #2 of 41 (8373 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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It's been pretty hot here in Mexico City the last few weeks, but I would still not walk around in shorts, except for quick runs to get rid of my refuse and recyclables when the garbage truck sounds its bell.


(This post was edited by La Isla on Apr 16, 2009, 10:14 AM)


Rolly


Apr 16, 2009, 10:03 AM

Post #3 of 41 (8363 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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In the summer, I wear short pants despite my advanced years and ugly legs. Since I'm the only gringo in town, I don't have the worry about how my dress style might reflect on others.

Rolly Pirate


Gringal

Apr 16, 2009, 10:05 AM

Post #4 of 41 (8362 views)

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Re: [La Isla] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Garbage runs don't count. That's "desperation" clothing.

The current holder of my "ugly Gringo" award was heading toward the Walmart entrance the other day. He had long gray hair, and was wearing shorts, one of those brief undershirts over a pot belly, and the only-too-visible parts of his bod were covered with thick, curly gray hair. He stopped us and asked if we knew where the nearest trailer park was. I'm not kidding.


La Isla


Apr 16, 2009, 10:11 AM

Post #5 of 41 (8360 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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It's running into people like that make me pretend I don't speak English!


jennifer rose

Apr 16, 2009, 10:13 AM

Post #6 of 41 (8357 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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The rules really haven't changed. If you're over 40 and not at the beach, you shouldn't be out in public wearing shorts and tank tops, regardless of your gender or national origin -- unless you're decked out in that attire for the purpose of exercise. And, "exercise" doesn't consist of sitting in the local plaza.

This debate has raged for years, the gringos holding steadfast to their belief in a divine right to wear whatever they damn well please -- even if they happen to resemble Divine.

Hot weather isn't an acceptable excuse. Skirts (even if worn by men) and loose trousers are just as comfortable in hot weather as short pants.


onourway

Apr 16, 2009, 11:25 AM

Post #7 of 41 (8335 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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When I first came to Mexico, I only wore skirts and pants in public. Then I met a Mexican friend's mother who wears shorts in public even to Guadalajara. The Mexican woman at the store in San Antonio, I frequent, has worn shorts on a regular basis. I now try to wear pants or skirts when going out. But since I live in town and often wear shorts due to the heat, I admit when I walk the dog or run to get eggs or milk, I stay in my shorts. I often feel guilty but it is so convenient and my Mexican neighbors seem accepting, polite or understanding. Thus I never really feel uncomfortable.


RickS


Apr 16, 2009, 12:24 PM

Post #8 of 41 (8317 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Well, I guess I'll just have to be colored 'inappropriate' on this one....

I am an over-65 male and my dress code often includes shorts. I accompany them with either a nice T-Shirt (Ajijic-Hot or one with a Guy Harvey mural), a nice polo or a colorful short-sleeve button-up. Always clean. And I can't agree with JR that 'loose fitting trousers are just as comfortable in hot weather as short pants'. I just came back from a walk through the neighborhood... and at 2 PM, it's hot. Even my convertible trousers would have been uncomfortable.

Now to Guadalajara, that's another story. And at night around here (Lakeside). Always wear trousers and either a polo or button-up. Never shorts unless it's just down the street to a friends for dinner or drinks, and then sometimes it's trousers.

So I guess I have got two strikes against me.... I can quit calling myself and others 'Gringo' but I probably won't quit wearing shorts in warm weather.

(This post was edited by RickS on Apr 16, 2009, 2:24 PM)


morgaine7


Apr 16, 2009, 1:03 PM

Post #9 of 41 (8301 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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This must be area-specific to some extent. I'm in a coastal town where dress in general is pretty casual, even at many workplaces. Slacks are far more common than skirts among all but indigenous women, and even my 80 y/o neighbor wears shorts in summer, as do younger Mexican women. But Mexicans rarely wear shorter than bermuda length in town. Capris are very popular. Generally speaking, foreigners tend to show more skin, but Mexican women tend to wear their clothing a lot tighter. Equally revealing, just in a different way.

BTW, pants are more comfortable than skirts in hot and especially humid weather because of the "thigh separation factor". (TMI, sorry, but there it is.)

Kate


Gringal

Apr 16, 2009, 1:38 PM

Post #10 of 41 (8290 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Just a little yank on bringing it back to the question.

We're not suggesting skirts vs. pants for women. It's really about coverage in public...not in your yard.

And, it's about the average Middleaged Mexicans out-and-about wear. If there's an exception in the neighborhood, it's still an exception.

In other words, do we furriners have a sense of entitlement to dress as we would in our NOB environment without regard to local customs in Mexico?

BTW, what's a crazy pale skinned person doing out walking at 2 p.m in this heat, anyway? Aren't you supposed to be taking a siesta indoors like a sensible person???


RickS


Apr 16, 2009, 2:26 PM

Post #11 of 41 (8277 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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"BTW, what's a crazy pale skinned person doing out walking at 2 p.m in this heat, anyway?"

The operative word in your sentence is crazy.


Gringal

Apr 16, 2009, 2:42 PM

Post #12 of 41 (8270 views)

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Re: [RickS] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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April/May: 2 p.m.+ out = crazy. Yup. "Mad dogs and Englishmen......."


(This post was edited by Gringal on Apr 16, 2009, 2:43 PM)


yucatandreamer


Apr 16, 2009, 2:45 PM

Post #13 of 41 (8268 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Personally I think that in public you should always be mostly covered up, even NOB. I was raised to wear nice clothes out in public and not to walk around like I was at the beach(unless of course I was at the beach) I no longer wear heels and stockings and certainly dress more casually than I did when I was growing up, but no short shorts and no tank tops for me in public here in Merida or in Canada or the States. I think it looks disrepectful anywhere. My husband always wears shorts but they are the walking type of shorts and he looks neat and tidy in them . Men here have changed over the years and the younger Meridians do wear shorts in public. Women and older men rarely are seen in shorts.

As to too hot it is 106(41C) right now and if I didn't have on long pants I would be stuck to my office chair.

I do think that in resort cities like Cancun, beach-type wear is fine for those that can wear it well. But I still think most of us over 60 are a more attractive with more clothes.


tashby


Apr 16, 2009, 3:32 PM

Post #14 of 41 (8258 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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And, it's about the average Middleaged Mexicans out-and-about wear.

Just got back from a mid-afternoon meal at Ajijic Tango - dang that canelloni was good. (For those of you unfamiliar with it, Tango is one of the nicer - though not formal - restaurants in town.) The place was absolutely full with Mexicans, many of whom presumably from Guadalajara. I had read this thread prior to going, so had a solid look around.

People were wearing anything and everything. As I left I also noticed a large group waiting for a table. Among them were three "mature" Mexican women wearing shorts, and sleeveless tops.

I used to take this issue more seriously. And while I certainly wouldn't dress as casually as I do here in, say, Guanajuato or Morelia, Ajijic seems to have a more relaxed standard. Maybe because it's been a renowned weekend/vacation getaway for so long? Or maybe those women were riduculously underdressed? I doubt it.

So yes....I wear shorts. Besides, it would be almost criminal not to show off these calves....8-)


Don


Apr 16, 2009, 4:15 PM

Post #15 of 41 (8239 views)

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Re: [tashby] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Here in our town of about 35,000, where you can count the number of "gringos" living here on one hand, some of the men and women wear shorts in the hot weather. At formal affairs, they dress-up. We have even had parades at "Carnaval" time where some of the floats had topless women waving to the crowds..


Anonimo

Apr 16, 2009, 4:29 PM

Post #16 of 41 (8229 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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My excuse is that I've recently seen local Mexicans wearing shorts—not a majority, to be sure—, and as it's damn hot, I have started to wear shorts while on errands to both Pátzcuaro and Morelia. The only problem I've found is that my legs sunburn while in our car. They thus become twice as unattractive as usual.

I won't wear shorts in smaller, conservative locales, such as walking the roads of our ranchito, or when visiting our Mexican neighbors. (On the other hand, when the Productos de Limpeza truck came by yesterday, I went out to the street dressed in shorts and fuzzy slippers, and no one even cracked a smile or a joke.)

Our landlady and husband just returned from a three week visit to their children in California, so I think that they can handle a view of bare lower legs without being offended.

I'm not so naive nor insensitive to hang out with the hombres down at the corner while wearing shorts.



Saludos,
Anonimo

(This post was edited by Anonimo on Apr 16, 2009, 4:30 PM)


Ustlach


Apr 17, 2009, 9:01 AM

Post #17 of 41 (8174 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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There have certainly been a lot of interesting topics here on MexConnect lately and this one is one that hits close to home for me. I have struggled within myself about wearing shorts out in public, mainly because I think it immediately identifies me as an American (sorry, I am not going to stop referring to those of us from the USA as Americans...I gave up the g-word, but not this) and while I am not ashamed of that, it does seem to give some non-Americans more fodder for criticism.

Someone else mentioned that this issue of wearing of shorts in public might be a region-specific issue, I tend to agree.

I see plenty of Mexicans here in Sonora wearing shorts. We are so close to the USA and many, many people here, not just the middle and upper-classes, have visas and go shopping in Tucson regularly, people here readily and freely adopt many American practices.

My partner, when not going to work, wears short pants all year round. And there I am in my heavy denim jeans, and I wonder why. So on a recent trip NoB I invested in three sets of nice shorts and I wore some recently to the INS to renew/convert my visa, to the bank, to Costco (where they seem perfectly appropriate), and elsewhere around town.

I could be wearing long pants, a guayabera (sp?), and a white cowboy hat (as many locals do, espcially those coming into town from the country) and no one would ever mistake me for a Mexican.

I agree however with one poster here who thinks short pants are inappropriate anywhere except at home, the beach, or hauling out the trash. It will seem "wrong" to me to wear them on Sunday morning when we go pick up the chamacos (my partner's niece and nephew) to go get taco fish but when it is 110'F in the shade here, I will forget about it.

Hey, I have had fussbudgets NoB criticize me for wearing jeans...accusing me of trying to look younger than I am...which I was not trying to do. I was trying to be comfortable. I wore jeans to work as a systems analyst at an insurance company in the Bay Area, as did most of my colleagues. I was comfortable. That was what mattered most and I think that should be my guiding principle here, all the while maintaining propriety.


Gringal

Apr 17, 2009, 9:32 AM

Post #18 of 41 (8165 views)

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Re: [Ustlach] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Final thought: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" is probably a pretty good guide to dress.

If you're the only furriner in town and the Mexicans are in long pants....maybe you should reconsider your outfit before heading out the door. If a substantial portion of the Mexican residents are dressed "down" ...no problem.

However, whatever you want to wear, it's probably a good idea to have some coverage of those parts that have become a visual blight, for hevvins sake. The pot belly under the tank top; the flab, the decolletage that reveals less than a peek of delight....use your heads, IMO. Being Ugly Americans that stand out in crowd can't be a desirable thing.

That's all, folks. I'm headed for comida, wearing the comfortable loose cotton clothing made locally in the beautiful colors of Mexico. These pale, skinny legs and knobby knees are no sin to cover up...lol.


sioux4noff

Apr 17, 2009, 8:25 PM

Post #19 of 41 (8110 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Gringal, I try to cover up the really scary stuff, and some/many of the local women sure could try that as well.
Skin tight tops that are cut low, are several inches shorter than the top of the really short skirt just don't look good on "people of size." I've seen women up to what I would call middle aged wearing the skin tight tops and pants. Oh, those skin tight stretch pants in rainbow colors on the larger women are downright frightening.
Here at the coast, shorts are very common on men and women in the hot weather.


Gringal

Apr 17, 2009, 8:57 PM

Post #20 of 41 (8105 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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You think that's scary? How 'bout "guys of size" in (gasp) SPEEDOS?? Oy.


roni_smith


Apr 18, 2009, 7:37 AM

Post #21 of 41 (8058 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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We have traveled to Guanajuato, San Miguel, Guadalajara, the Lake Chapala area, the Caribbean coast, Isla Mujeres and Merida.

I wear long pants everywhere but the Caribbean coast, and there I generally do in the evening. I did wear knee length shorts on a day trip to Uxmal - a Mayan site outside of Merida last December. I wear long pants most of the time here in Oregon, but I do so in most parts of Mexico because it seems culturally appropriate and I am more comfortable doing that.

I will say though, I saw many more Mexican women in Merida wearing dress shorts (knee-length) in 2008 than I did in 2006. I was with two American women, one who lives on the Caribbean coast and one who is my wife. The former wears shorts unapologetically. My wife wore shorts the day the former spent in town with us and on the day trip to Uxmal. Going out for dinner with them wearing shorts made me feel a bit out of place, but I did survive the evening.
------
Planning for Mexico Move Blog



chinagringo


Apr 18, 2009, 8:37 AM

Post #22 of 41 (8045 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Determining what one wears in public in Mexico or really anywhere for that matter, depends on a number of factors. Granted one should be cognizant of local customs and cultural attitudes but also must answer to themselves.

To my way of thinking, comfort is of prime importance. Comfort can be defined by both physical comfort and mental comfort. With respect to physical comfort, we all have differing body thermostats and our determination of what to wear has to take into account how we individually respond to the outside temps. Roni uses the example that they generally wear long pants in Oregon. As a former Oregonian, I ask: what choice do they have? With the exception of Eastern Oregon, the weather rarely offers them the opportunity to wear shorts comfortably! When we used to travel to MX from Oregon, we found that the temps during the "dry season" were difficult to handle even when wearing shorts but now that our bodies have acclimatised to Albuquerque, NM, we find the temps in MX to be far easier to handle. Mental comfort is a whole different factor. In my opinion, we spend far too much wasted brain power considering how someone else might perceive the way we are dressed. I am not talking about worrying how the Mexicans might perceive our dress but rather how our peers in the foreign community view the "labels" which we wear. For example, on a recent business trip to Patzcuaro, we ran into a couple from Florida and San Miguel that were the epitome of playing the role. He was an "artist" - they drove a Land Rover - and dressed straight out of the L.L. BEAN catalog. To say that they looked out of place in Patzcuaro would have been an understatement! Maybe that is the "norm" in San Miguel?

We often wonder if people even bother looking in the mirror with an objective eye before going out in public? Since we all have differing body types, an item of clothing can look great on one person and horrid on another! Another factor is the condition of the clothes that we wear. We have seen any number of travelers that bought into the "travel clothes myth" that they do not require ironing and therefore never look into a mirror before going out in public. We recognize that some have paid "big bucks" for these items but in reality, they can look horrible! Our inventors have given us travel irons and travel steamers for a reason and that is so we can used them on shorts, long pants, tops, dresses, etc. to improve our apparel's appearance. Again to my way of thinking, the condition of a person's clothing says a great deal more about them than the label or the cost of their clothing.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Marlene


Apr 18, 2009, 9:56 PM

Post #23 of 41 (8002 views)

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Re: [Gringal] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Living in a coastal city, we get to see it all when it comes to tourist clothing. The one thing that consistently offends locals is men with no shirts entering restaurants or walking around in areas NOT on the beach. It's considered rude.


Georgia


Apr 19, 2009, 10:33 AM

Post #24 of 41 (7962 views)

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Re: [Marlene] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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The Lake Chapala shore has become a tourist destination for tapatios (people from Guadalajara) and so we see a lot of Mexicans in shorts - men and women, here at the lake. Now about showing off the "wiggly" stuff: trust me on this: Mexican women here at Lake Chapala have a whole different body image than women from NOB. They let their "muffin tops" hang over their jeans or shorts and their "abondanza" pop up over the top of their tank tops. They strut their "stuff." So.... if your motto is "When in Rome... etc." well... it could get ugly. My husband and I wear shorts (longish shorts, I grant you) in hot weather, capris in warm weather (just me ... he's still in his shorts), and jeans in the winter. When I go into Guadalajara, it's a different matter. However, when I'm in Tlaquepaque (another tourist destination) I do wear my shorts on hot days. Most times though a skirt and tank top: just as cool. So far, after all these years, no Mexicans have (a) taken my photo (b) pointed and sniggered or (c) asked me to cover up out of respect for their culture.


Gringal

Apr 19, 2009, 11:07 AM

Post #25 of 41 (7952 views)

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Re: [Georgia] CLOTHES - what's hot and what's not in Mexico

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Those "muffins" are a sight to see. You're right, there are plenty on display, Lakeside.

A thing to consider, however, is the age of the muffiness. Have you seen any in the over 55 crowd amoung Mexican women? How about the over 65 gang?

How a bout a general guiding principle that if you can check your front and backside in a full length mirror before heading out the door and know that you aren't a visual blight...you're okay.
Older men and women can look great. It's all about presentation choices.

Those men referred to in an earlier post going shirtless into coastal restaurants probably don't look like Greek sculptures in the buff. lol.
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