BLOG: Don’t be caught without this in your suitcase: Style Guide to São Paulo, Brazil

Do not be caught without this in your suitcase: Style guide to São Paulo, Brazil As soon as I stepped foot off of that airplane with my fellow BSU at the Games journalists, I knew São Paulo was going to be an adventure. With all of the major media outlets painting Brazil as an apocalypse on the brink of the abyss, I was prepared for the worst — although I quickly came to find the city life of São Paulo to be anything but terrifying. Quite the contrary: São Paulo has its hidden fashion treasures just waiting to be explored, worn and displayed in style.

São Paulo, a city larger than New York City with a population of about 20 million people, has been ranked 16th on the list of the top fashion capitals of the world. Through this ranking by Global Language Monitor, the US-based trend tracking company that calculates its results through the use of worldwide language, has ranked São Paulo in the top 20 since 2010. While experiencing the warm hospitality and amazing food of the Brazilian people, I was eager to hit the streets of São Paulo to observe the fashionistas on the street. Here are my fashion findings for packing in preparation for São Paulo and the atmosphere of the Olympics.

Lipstick. This is the most essential part to a Brazilian woman’s make-up collection. The ‘no makeup’ style of makeup gives the wearer a more natural look. With this more simplistic style of makeup, the lipstick can be an outlet of personal expression. “Red wine tones tend to be the preferred shade for me,” says Rebeca Rocha, one of Campus Brazil’s coordinators. “It really draws attention and brightens up my face.” Bring a dark shade of lipstick.

Flats. It can be tempting at times to whip out the sandals, but locals actually prefer wearing flats, especially in winter. “You can tell who is a tourist usually by looking at their shoes,” said Amanda Sheclesky, a tour guide at the Allianz Parque Stadium in São Paulo. “We [Brazilians] tend to enjoy our feet covered … unless you are at the beach. If you are wearing sandals, we assume you were just at the beach.”

Manicures. The typical Brazilian woman has her nails finely polished at all times. Simple earth to wine tones, as with the lipstick shades, are the perfect choices for the winter season. Pack only one preferred nail polish color, keep your nails on point, and you will be good to go.

Scarfs. Up and down Paulista Avenue, one can find those going to work in their office attire, the color of their glamorous scarfs are taken to a whole new level. Julia Uchoa, a local of Paulista Avenue, wanted to express how her multi-color scarf adds a pop of color to her office suit: “I work and it has to be kind of formal, so I try to put a bit of my style in it so it does not look all standard.”

Jackets. You read correctly. June through August, Brazil is actually experiencing the winter season. Which means in São Paulo some days can be quite chilly, regardless of a sunny day. I have seen numerous Brazilians, both men and women, sporting a fine leather jacket. Regardless of type of jacket, simply pull a light monochromatic colored jacket from your fall wardrobe. (I accidentally left my light tinted pink jacket at home. Do not make the same mistake.)

Olympic Apparel. For all those Olympic fashionistas out there that will be swinging by the Games either during or after, make sure to pack your favorite team apparel. This might seem like a typical touristy move, but you will be surprised to to see the masses of Brazilians supporting their national team and of course those fellow foreigners supporting theirs. So go ahead and pack that scarf or jacket with your favorite team name sprawled in bold on it. Use it to make a state to your outfit.

With these six must-have items stowed away in your suitcase, you will be ready to hit the streets of São Paulo in style. For those avid shoppers Paulista Avenue has some amazing shopping for clothing and accessories. If you are looking for a cheaper place to shop, go to Jose Paulino. This entire street of shops offers fashionable clothing at a low cost.

Lastly, enjoy São Paulo in style. I know I did.

Gabriella Harbridge is a Ball State University student and writer for Ball State at the Games, a group of 50 journalism students traveling from Muncie, Indiana, to Rio for the Olympic Games. Follow them at, @bsuatthegames on Twitter and Instagram, and on Facebook.

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