Spanish university students “dress up” for class in comparison to American students. It’s what some might call snappy casual.
Spain—beaches, sun, warm weather, right? Well, not in Pamplona. It’s nice, but not balmy—Pamplona is to Missouri as southern Spain is to Texas. The weather is, however, more temperate than in Columbia, Mo. It’s not as cold in the winter, but it also doesn’t get as warm in the spring. February is typically the coldest month, with many days being less than 0°, Celsius that is. (It’s also not a bad idea to start brushing up on Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion).
So as you pack for your semester, bring warm clothes that can easily be layered. People won’t shed their winter clothes until the very end of the semester. Scarves, coats, boots and tights are still common even when it’s 65°F.
The fairly consistent weather makes it easy to pack. Don’t fret thinking you need to bring 10,000 outfits, because while the Spanish dress nicely, they also don’t have as many clothes as your typical American. They wear high quality clothing and then layer and accessorize. I frequently saw my classmates repeat the same outfits every week.
Sorry guys, my clothing advice is mainly for the ladies. But here are some things to throw into your suitcase and some things you can leave at home.
Chart courtesy of TripAdvisor
Thick socks: My roommate Bridget lovingly called thick, wool hiking socks, “European socks.” They work well under boots and keep your feet warm as you spend lots of time walking outside.
Cardigans: Cardigans, blazers or any type of layering pieces are super popular. One friend who studied in France made the astute observation that the French wear the same few articles of clothing, but just layer and accessorize them differently.
Scarves: Guys, listen up. Scarves are also a commonly worn by guys, and not just as an outerwear item. Males and females will typically wear scarves as an accessory item year-round. Scarves are a lightweight, easy-to-pack accessory that can make it look like you have many more outfits than you actually do.
Tights: Spanish girls wear tights with everything, even when it is pretty warm outside. Of course, they wear them with skirts and dresses, but they also wear them under shorts and cropped pants in the winter time. Tights in simple, neutral tones like black and brown are a must-have for your trip.
Flats: While Spanish women are known for wearing heels much more than Americans, students and professors wear flats most of the time on campus. Simple ballet flats, in neutral tones and brighter colors, are probably the most common footwear item worn by students. Seen frequently are also tall and short boots and Converse/Keds-like tennis shoes.