Summer Style Report: Barcelona
As a city famous for design, Barcelona may seem surprisingly casual, but look closely and the local flare for style is evident.
Summer in Barcelona unofficially starts with SONAR, the city’s signature electronic music festival in June. Going strong for two decades, SONAR draws tens of thousands of electro-musicians, nerds, ravers and scene-makers worldwide. For one week, Barcelona’s clubs and beaches are resplendent with tattoos, piercings, dreadlocks, unnatural hair colors, and counterculture chic. Of course, locals comprise a fair share of the above as well, but in general, men here don’t overdo it. As a city with beach culture in the mix, Barcelona is at least as casual as California, but its art and design legacy is also an integral part of the culture, and it shows in just how stylishly casual men can be here.
With warm weather ruling six months of the year, shorts and pants of all lengths from the ankles up are ubiquitous, along with flip-flops, sandals, sneakers and notably, espadrilles. Worn by Spanish fishermen for centuries, espadrilles add distinctive local flare to summer wear, and men hear are as likely to wear them to the beach as to a posh restaurant. The range of styles and colors that they now come in probably wouldn’t do much to attract fish, but they beautifully capture local style. (Catalonian artist Salvador Dali was perhaps their most famous proponent.) Shoes in general are a big part of summer style in Barcelona, with a variety of locally made brands that are both sustainable and eye-catching.
The other major fashion feature men make the most of here are shirts. Whether it’s a T, tank top or a button-down, Barcelona men don’t hold back in this department. This is where the city’s art and design roots are perhaps most strongly stated. Barcelona gets hot in the summer, and in a city where a jacket is hardly required attire anywhere, the shirt says it all.
Then there’s facial hair. From Brooklyn to Barcelona beards and permutations of facial hair remain in abundant evidence. Perhaps it’s all those portraits of bearded and mustached men in Spanish art history that somehow cancel out the obvious hipster factor, because these guys pull it off, so to speak, beautifully, adding masculine bravura to the otherwise minimal summer plumage. All in all, Barcelona men look cool, stylish and sexy, and seem effortlessly matter-of-fact about it. We like that.