I think Gangnam’s hogged enough of the style action for too long, already. So, in the spirit of celebrating the flair and uniqueness of the less glamorous, more work-a-day people and the way they are, here are my 5 top styles I appreciate here in Colombia.
1. Dapper Old Gentlemen.
As one of the major inspirations for my own sartorial style, Dapper Old Gentlemen have always held a fond place in my heart. The Colombian version, as found in the major cities, is particularly inspirational. You will find these stylish men gracefully purchasing lottery tickets; enjoying a little plastic cup of the finest tinto; or just having a bit of a sit, basking in their own dapper style.
Hat, impeccable suit, well-knotted tie, facial hair, an air of timeless grace and ease.
2. Minutos Ladies.
If you go to any urban corner in one of the main cities of Colombia, you will hear a plaintive wail emanating from the throats of another of my favourite street-stylers. No; they’re not calling after their pet llama that has got away again – they’re actually offering you cheap phone calls from their mobile phones. They come in pretty handy, after you’ve somehow used up all your minutes for the millionth time. And they sure know how to hit that note – somewhere between a moan and a shout.
A parka or vest; a perm; a “Minutos” sign; a suite of old mobiles chained to her person; and an exquisite pair of lungs.
3. The Chicken Bus Conductor.
Anywhere in Colombia, the sighting of a Chicken Bus (as Sarah likes to call them), is an opportunity to set forth on a little adventure. These rickety old vehicles go anywhere; are cheap; and instill a sense of camaraderie amongst their many and varied passengers. However, if you catch one in Santa Marta, you’re also likely to come across a representative of another of my favourite Colombia styles. The lads that ride these buses, shouting out destinations and taking fares; are a cocky bunch, with some of the smartest mouths going around. Ever ready with a quip, they are still good-hearted when it really comes down to it.
Curly, oily, mullet-inspired haircut; shoulder bag; shirt or singlet; impeccable memory (for fares); a – seemingly – thoroughly unimpressed girlfriend, and a wit infinitely quicker than their bus.
4. Coffee Cowboys.
I know I often go on about them, but the cowboys of the coffee triangle are personal heroes of mine. Everything about them is impressive: their ponchos, their belt buckles – but particularly their moustaches. And they carry an air of “that’s right: I’m a cowboy” that just makes me a little weak at the knees every time.
Hat; moustache; belt buckle; jeans; poncho, and a stoic demeanour.
5. Punk chicks (and punks in general).
There is a thriving punk community in Colombia; particularly in Bogota and Cali. There are many things to respect about this tribe – the way they stick out like sore thumbs in their environments; their casual attention to detail; and their commitment to the spirit and style of the first punk-rockers. They’re pretty sexy too – especially, for some reason, if their hair’s dyed red.
Old, ratty jeans; tattoos; sunglasses; attitude; and an extensive knowledge of anything the Ramones ever did.