Style Destination: Brazil

The year 2013 is a very big year for the South American country of Brazil. Soccer’s World Cup and the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day are held in Rio de Janeiro, with preparations also underway for the summer Olympics of 2014. The economy will get a boost, journalists will have plenty of stories to cover, and the world will get to know our south-of-the-equator brothers and sisters a little better.

The hallmark of Brazilian fashion is dramatic. True, the more rural natives don golden garb for festivals, adding to the exotic stereotype. However, the everyday fashion tends to be more functional without sacrificing a spicy appreciation for the physical body.  Colors, styles, and textiles vary dramatically depending on the region and represent a more precise, but not well-known, history.

That being said, despite the multi-ethnical peoples of Brazil, there remains a distinct class system.  In general, people with darker brown skin are economically and socially disadvantaged. They are typically maids, drivers, and physical laborers. Because of this, a great disparity in wage exists, and therefore lifestyle and social aspirations differ among classes. Working women have more menial jobs in education, administrative support, and nursing. However, they are seen as integral nurturers of the family unity and stabilized perpetrators of the country’s Roman Catholic faith.

Overall, privileged Brazilian lifestyle is highly influential when looking at fashion. Frequenting the beach and sporty habits contribute to a more “exposed” style, as does the tropical weather. The large family size typical of natives perpetuates the exciting social pace with style-conscious outfits “thrown on” to get to the next event.

Here’s a look inspired by customary upper and middle class Brazilian fashion. Pillage thrift stores, second hand shops, even antique or farmer’s markets for dramatic textiles. When you’re feeling an exciting night on the town, jump into your Brazilian skin and have a little fun.

• Though pants are acceptable, the feminine is typically expressed with flowy dresses, short or long.  Patterns are acceptable, but solids often present a particular drama of the body.

• Your feet should be advertised as well, but not as boldly. Regardless of the textile or style, think drama. Painted nails are another way to heighten the theatrical.

• Jewel up with bold, tinted colors. For example, burnt orange instead of tangerine, sea foam instead of grass green, and a bright forget-me-not instead of true blue. Long or stud earrings are both good options. Also try hoops, if your hairstyle can handle it. Be dark and daring, but not gawdy.

• Brazilian women are known for their curvy hips and voluptuous busts. Accentuate this trait with circular-inspired accessories. Full necklaces add to the neckline, bangles plump the wrists, and oversized sunglasses give a little appeal.

• Finally, Brazilian women typically don intense makeup as an everyday routine. Highlight darker skin with bronzers and tone down the bright whites and pales with darker-tinted neutrals. For the evenings, jump into the “smoky bedroom eyes” look but keep your clothes on! Plump the lips by coloring ever-so-slightly out of the lines on the tops and bottom with a brighter shade that compliments your skin tone.