Now that the dust has settled a bit from my premature homecoming from Colombia, and decidedly feeling more ‘disaster’ than ‘stylish’, I’ve had a chance to sort through my thoughts (and my photos!) and reflect on the time I had abroad. As I’ve said several times throughout my journey, Colombia really is an amazing and hugely varied country. My favorite place, as predicted, was Medellín: it’s a more international city with lots of culture and events happening, the climate is fantastic year-round, and I even found some treasures to bring home with me. Shopping in Medellín was all over the board just as Colombia is, and there’s something for every taste and budget.
My favorite shopping area in Medellín was Via Primavera, a street in the El Poblano neighborhood lined with bars, restaurants and locally-owned boutiques: two in particular were absolute standouts. Tucked in a quiet, tree-lined side street in north El Poblano is 902 Showroom, a furniture and home goods shop that I could have just stayed in for the better part of day: such a great selection of products and unique finds, and at amazing prices that made me wish I could ship it all home. Makeno is in a class all its own, and I’ve never seen a place in Colombia or anywhere else quite like it. The first floor is a restaurant and bar with a varied menu and beautiful patio area for outdoor dining, which I experienced my first day in Medellín. The second floor of the space is an open, airy showroom stocked with clothing, jewelry, furniture and accessories from exclusively Colombian designers, and I just about died and went to heaven in there. It was one of those places that made you want everything they had, and believe me when I say I was tempted, but I made it out with just one piece: this Mulierr top that I will rock with everything I own.
Inside 902 Showroom.
The style spread at Makeno.
In terms of more mainstream styles and well-known brands, Centro Commercial Santa Fé is one of the biggest and best malls I’ve seen, in Colombia or anywhere else in the world. They have all of the major women’s international brands and shops including Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, and Falabella, the main department store in Colombia.
All my Gen X and early Millenial girls: remember Esprit?
I can’t remember the last time I saw this in the States, but it’s all over Colombia!
Inside the main section of the Centro Commercial de Santa Fé.
Is this not the biggest ball pit you’ve ever seen?
In terms of style, Colombians for the most part don’t dress terribly different from the average American, though there are fewer sweatpants and loungewear as streetwear (a good thing, obvs.) But you know I’d be remiss if I neglected to share some of the “WTF?!” style shots that I managed to take on the sly.
On the whole, younger Colombians seem to all be into really ugly jeans. At first I thought it was an anomaly: was I seeing only bad jeans in Bogotá? Is it different in other parts of the country, or is an affinity for awful denim a regional thing…? But bad jeans are pervasive throughout Colombia, as I saw them in every mall, street, plaza and form of public transit.
Women’s jeans all had excessive details, bizarre design choices and random bells and whistles all over the back pockets. The idea that ‘less is more’ just ain’t a thing in Colombia, at least when it comes to butts and butt adornments.
The ‘Big 3’ for men’s jeans: bad washes, bad pocket details, and bad distressing/holes.
A trifecta of regrettable denim choices, right here.
And now, for the coup de grâce: I give you… the worst shoes I’ve ever seen in my life, EVER.
It’s not that they’re JUST Crocs. Or that they’re JUST all white and in a slip-on trainer style (WITH MOLDED PLASTIC LACES) but that they’re also on two different individuals, wearing them simultaneously, in a very crowded public space. ¡Qué verguenza!
That’s all I’ve got, but I’ve really just scratched the surface in terms of style and shopping in Medellín. Heck, I wasn’t even in the market for most things, just what I could take back in what little suitcase space I had left. I can’t recommend Medellín enough as a tourist destination: there is so much to see and do, and I didn’t get to do it all! Scroll through my Instagram for more pics and sites, and shoot me a comment or an email if you have questions or want ideas for your visit!