Not a lot of clothes.
It is totally understandable, just the thought of wearing pants in this hot humid weather makes me frustrated. Almost everyone always wears shorts, tank-tops, halter tops, tube tops, bikinis under their shirts--but apart from that ONE layer! It’s not rare to see shirtless guys walking down the street. One of my EAP friends has decided that he will not wear a shirt when he walks down the street. It’s really funny to see him put it on/take it off at the school gates. I think it’s very easy to assimilate to this; I live in shorts and tank tops--that breath a lot. I have not used any of my three sweaters once! Wait, I have but always and only in our air-conditioned classroom. It gets really cold in there for me. So I would say leave those behind, but I guess they’ve been useful, but really if at all only take ONE.
Staple #2: Havainas:
Everyone here wears Havaianas! --only a slight overstatement. One of my friends says he once saw some construction workers wearing Havaianas.
I’m not much of a flip flop person because I always find that it takes too much effort to try to keep them on my feet and I’m more likely to trip buuut I got the Havaianas with the backs and they are amazing!
They are sturdy, don’t let feet overheat and sweat or smell bad, and they’re actually really comfortable. I’m glad I got mine almost right away and am really glad that I did because I wear them like 90% of the time now.
I would say that about 95% of the people I have seen here wear Havaianas and 3% wear some other kind of flip flop, may be 2% wear closed shoes. But they are really big here—they are Brazilian. The price range is from R$10 to $R45 which is around US $5-25 the more expensive ones being more elaborate and new. I highly recommend them.
Havainas themselves are colorful but almost everyone I see dresses very colorfully in patterns or solids, and I am fitting in well because I am like a walking fruit cocktail. I love color, it’s so joyful to me. I hear most tropical regions use lots of color, but also white is common especially on Fridays because of religious, Candomble, purposes. I don’t see many black articles of clothing here.
Other things I notice:
I notice that there isn’t such a generational differences with dress style. The older women sometimes look like teenagers to me (from what I’m used to) from far away and then I get close and it’s like a 50 year old woman. But it only makes sense because with lots of older women that I’ve spoken to here (mães and their friends) express that they really appreciate youth and youth is not considered an age thing. They don’t have this thing about “oh I’m getting old, I can’t do this anymore” well only about walking around a lot may be because I hear my mãe say that a lot.
The style here seems to be apart from colorful, eclectic, and the other one is chic (pronounced /she-kee/ in Brasilian portuguese) I keep hearing that used by a lot of people too. The coordinator is very Chic, my mae talks about her chic living room, the chic glasses. My friends mom says “no don’t put that in that bag, use the Perini bag it’s more chic”.
Clothes is really expensive here! I don’t know why but it may be because most of it is imported from other places? I have bought a few things but I find it really expensive especially for the quality that the fabric and cuts seem. But there are some second hand stores around, in Barra at least.