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5 European style secrets to always look effortlessly chic

Dress like a European

Do you want to dress more chic and elegant as a European? If so, then this is the post for you! As many of you know, our family lived in Spain for 6 months last year. Since living there, my style has changed quite a bit. In an effort to capture the same essence and elegance of Spanish women, I’ve put together the top 5 European style secrets that will help you look as effortlessly chic as European women.

Incidentally, in this post I recently styled a European-inspired outfit that I would wear this spring if I still lived in Spain.

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1) Adios sportswear!

The first thing that struck me was a bit surprising… no one was walking around in activewear! You won’t see the same athleisure trend that is super popular in the US. In Colorado I could walk around in my activewear all day long. It was so casual you could run errands in your leggings, tank top and jacket. When they go to the gym in Spain, they go home and dress or dress up in the gym. They are just dressed so much.

Even a beautiful, chic, streamlined lounge set would not fit in Madrid. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear it in Colorado, but when I was in Spain I would take off my lovely loungewear, even if I was just taking the dog for a walk! Instead, I’d wear something like the outfit above… jeans, a t-shirt, and a blazer. Still casual, but more elevated.

Note: I was planning on taking pictures of street style and women in Spain, but I felt like a paparazzi and it just didn’t feel right, so unfortunately I don’t have any samples to share. But trust me, I paid very close attention to the style to avoid “looking like a tourist” while we were there!

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2) More Skirts & Dresses

The second thing I noticed about the Spanish style is that the women wear a lot of skirts and dresses, which really inspired me! I used to not really like skirts, but I started buying a lot more skirts and dresses! It goes along with the dressy feeling in Spain. Everyone is just a little more buttoned up and polished. And it’s not just one generation, it’s all generations… from kids to grandparents!
Shop more dresses here.
Shop more skirts here.

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3) More color and print

They carry A LOT more color and print in Spain! If you’ve ever lived somewhere like New York, you know what it’s like… you basically have a wardrobe of black and neutrals. But in Spain you see vibrant colors and prints everywhere! I’ve mentioned before that I was a “print phoob”. I didn’t like wearing prints because I thought they age and could risk looking cheap… which is still true if you don’t find the right print. But now I’m so attracted to prints. I’ve bought some beautiful printed pieces, like the dress above, that are chic, elegant and sophisticated. And they make me excited to wear prints!

By the way, if you’re interested in spring/summer color trends, check out this post.

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4) Effortless but evolved

This is arguably the most important on this list! What struck me with all Spanish women is this completely casual atmosphere. However, it’s not just one thing… it’s a more natural hair color, haircut, nails, and makeup. Everything is, of course, only exalted. That’s very different from the US where you see women with the super-styled barrel wave curls, over-the-top nails, full face makeup, etc. Instead, these women look like themselves, but exalted. I really admire the effortless, understated, sophistication they have.

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5) New Inspiration

If you want to capture this effortless European style, it’s important to find new inspiration. I know I’m talking here on the site and in videos about sticking to brands and designers you love. BUT, it’s also important to step out of your comfort zone and discover new things. It will breathe new life into your wardrobe and add an extra excitement that may not be there yet. Try some new brands and see what happens… you might find a new brand you love. When I lived in Spain I saw a lot more brands that I normally wouldn’t see. For example, I found an Italian designer, Elisabetta Franchi, who I am now obsessed with. Finding her pieces got me excited and inspired new outfits in my wardrobe like stirrup pants…yes, I said stirrup pants! They are a trend right now and if you are interested I have written a whole post here on how to style them.

Bring back the Joy & Fun!

Getting dressed shouldn’t be practical… you shouldn’t feel like you’re just putting on clothes because you have to get dressed in the morning. It should be something you look forward to and feel good about. Ask yourself who you want to be that day and dress accordingly. I often ask myself, “Who do I want to be today? Business Erin, sporty Erin, mother Erin, fashion-forward Erin…?” You get the picture!

Where do you find inspiration

You don’t have to live abroad to get inspired. Check out the women at your local department store, find inspiration at a new online retailer, follow a new blogger, find inspiration in architecture and paintings, or just sit on a busy street corner or couch to have a coffee and people watch!

Are there things you noticed about the European style? Please share that information in the comments below!

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