Monday, November 26, 2007

On the Chilean runway

I’ll admit it: I’ve never been particularly fashionable. I’ve long since decided to give up and leave the trendsetting to my little sister Quinn, who I’m pretty sure was the one who taught me how to put on makeup. At least the family has one daughter who knows how to accessorize. I, on the other hand, was recently treated to a rude awakening while cleaning out my closet: Shame on you for letting me wear those awful things.

Anyone who saw the scarves and oversized fake pearl earrings that came out of my suitcase when I arrived home after my first stint in Chile knows that there’s one group of trends I do pay attention to, though: Chilean ones. These days in Chile, the scarves are still going strong, although the pearl earrings seem to have slipped in popularity. Old trends, as always, have been replaced by new. Here are some that have caught my attention:

  1. FANNY PACKS. Long dismissed in the U.S. as the preferred accessory of cyclists and tourists in colorful track suits, they march triumphantly down the streets of Santiago, lounging just below the navels of everyone from teeny boppers to girls with multicolored hair. Fanny packs, like the pearl earrings that went before them, are a ubiquitous sight at street fairs and boutiques, dangling like patterned possums from display rails. The most popular patterns involve polka dots, stars or hearts, usually in some combination of black, white and icy pastels. Before you insult these trendy little pouches, ask yourself: Is there any better way to bypass the I-need-to-bring-a-purse-but-don’t-want-to-have-my-hands-full dilemma? I’m thinking of getting one.
  2. MEDICAL SHOWS. Extreme plastic surgery! Conjoined twins! Chilean Rescue 911! I’ve watched relatively little TV since arriving in Chile, but I’ve stumbled across a noticeably wide offering of real-life scalpel drama. These shows, like the surgery channel that lurks somewhere in the high numbers of U.S. cable lineups, are best watched in short glimpses between fingers: Very few (if any) details are spared. Like doctors, fascination with blood and guts has no borders.
  3. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. It’s on in the Metro…enough said. But I’ll say more: It’s refreshing to come across a North American cultural export that doesn’t lead people to believe that we all sleep with guns under our pillows. If they start believing that a day at a U.S. high school involves choreography and ballad duets, it’ll be OK with me.

I’m looking forward to seeing just how disconnected from U.S. pop culture I’ll be when I go home for Christmas in a few weeks. Maybe I’ll bring a fanny pack.


Noel said...

Okay, how about a High School Musical fanny pack?? Double trend...

Suzanne said...

I love reading about your adventures (and your mother's comments are entertaining as always!)

Just returned from Thanksgiving in Austin with "The Frisky Ones!" We are still recovering from playing endless board games, doing dinosaur puzzles and watching various talent shows. The new puppy, Otis, has added much to the already wild and crazy mix. An hour did not pass without a frantic scream from someone of "Oh no, Otis has (and here you take your pick)my jammies, the Lego Blaster, your cell phone or ZeZe's underwear!"

Love the were paying attention when your Mom was clicking away!

Take care...Sue

Julie said...

You'll be in MN for Christmas? Yea..... I'll be there also. Let's get together.

Mamacita Chilena said...

Not gonna lie, I'm about to buy myself a fanny pack as well...but to use for jogs when I need to bring keys and cell phone and 200 pesos in case I need to go to the bathroom :)

If I ever start wearing one as a fashion statement, just shoot me now!

Funny enough, I was in Chile when I was 14, and now living here again (I'm 23) and the trends are almost exactly the same. Everybody looked like they were in the 80's back then, and they still do now!