5 European Style Secrets to Always Look Effortlessly Chic

Dress Like A European

Do you want to dress chicer and more elegant like a European? If yes, 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.

By the way, I recently styled a European-inspired outfit I’d be wearing this spring if I still lived in Spain in this post.

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1) Adios Activewear!

The first thing that I noticed that was a little surprising…nobody was walking around in activewear! You will not see the same athleisure trend that’s super popular in the US In Colorado, I could walk around all day in my activewear. It was so casual you could run errands in your leggings, tank top, and jacket. In Spain, if they go to the gym, they go home and change or change at the gym. They’re just so much dressier.

Even a nice, chic, streamlined loungewear set wouldn’t cut it in Madrid. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear it in Colorado, but when I was in Spain, I’d change out of my nice loungewear even if I was just taking the dog on a walk! Instead, I’d wear something like the outfit above…jeans, a tee, and a blazer. Still casual, but more elevated.

Note: I was planning to take photos 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 examples to share. But trust me, I paid very close attention to the style in an effort to avoid “looking like a tourist” while we were there!

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DRESS (Sold Out) | DRESS OPTION | BOOTS (Limited Sizes)

2) More Skirts & Dresses

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

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3) More Color & Print

They wear A LOT more color and print in Spain! If you’ve ever lived somewhere like New York, you know how it is…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-phobe.”I didn’t like wearing prints because I thought they were aging and can run the risk of looking inexpensive…which is still true if you don’t find the right print. But now, I feel so drawn to prints. I’ve purchased some gorgeous, 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 might be the most important one on this list! Something I’ve noticed among all Spanish women is this completely effortless vibe. It’s not just one thing though…it’s more natural hair color, hairstyle, nails, and makeup. Everything is natural but elevated. Which is very different from the US where you see women with the super done-up barrel wave curls, over-the-top nails, the full face of makeup, etc. Instead, these women look like themselves but elevated. 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 that here on the site and in videos, I talk about sticking with brands and designers you love. BUT, it’s also important to step outside of your comfort zone and discover new things. It breathes new life into your wardrobe and adds a layer of excitement that may not already be there. Try some new brands and see what happens…you may find a new brand you love. Living in Spain, I saw a lot more brands I wouldn’t normally see. For example, I found an Italian designer, Elisabetta Franchi, who I’m now obsessed with. Finding her pieces made me excited, and inspired new outfits in my wardrobe like stirrup pants…yes, I said stirrup pants! They’re a trend right now and if you’re interested, I did an entire post on how to style them here.

Bring the Joy & Fun back!

Getting dressed shouldn’t be utilitarian…you shouldn’t feel like you’re just throwing clothes on because you have to get dressed in the morning. It should be something you look forward to and feel good. 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, mom Erin, fashion-forward Erin…?” You get the picture!

Where to find inspiration

By the way, you don’t have to live in a foreign country to find inspiration. Look at the women in your local department store, search for inspiration at a new online retailer, follow a new blogger, find inspiration in architecture and paintings, or even just sit on a busy street corner or bench to have some coffee and people watch!

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

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