Fashion trends and perceptions of beauty vary in many different cultures. Some of them think beauty is important, while others prefer not to consider it as significant. In Colombia, fashion trends and beauty have different perceptions. This depends mostly on people’s individual opinions. However, there’s a strong tendency to think about personal appearance as an essential part of relationships.
Beyond thinking beauty is only skin deep, we Colombian women and men include taking care of our personal appearance in our daily routine. It is common for people to spend a good amount of time in the morning in front of the mirror. Combing their hair, putting on make-up, or just putting on lotion, boys and girls make sure they look as attractive as possible before leaving home.
This particular position towards beauty has different repercussions on daily life. Culturally, there’s an “invisible” pressure on people to look nice in almost any situation. Sometimes, this particular attitude towards appearance is expressed through individual choices of clothing and style. At the same time, there’s a link between what you do and the way you dress. This is evident when you’re in university, where we can find girls who major in economics or financial studies wearing high heels for class, as well as boys majoring in graphic design wearing crazy outfits.
Although dressing up every day is generally part of the daily routine in Colombia, there are some people who prefer feeling comfortable to looking nice, and others don’t really care much about the way they look.
In some other countries, people are self-conscious about their image, but they don’t consider it very important to spend time doing something about it. That perception of beauty is not better or worse, just different and sometimes it’s healthier for daily routines.
I remember once that my mom was talking with her sister who lives in the United States on the phone. My mom mentioned something about what she was wearing that day, and how she thought she needed to change her coat because its color didn’t match her shoes. Then my aunt answered: “Do you still do that in Colombia? We don’t have time for that here in the United States!”
In my personal opinion, the way you look may say a little about you, but it doesn’t define you as a person. Moreover, we say “don’t judge a book by its cover” and “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so being beautiful and looking nice doesn’t totally define you.
Here in Colombia, nevertheless, we consider beauty not only as a natural gift, but an attitude as well. We say: “no hay mujer fea sino mal arreglada,” which means: “there are not ugly women but women who don’t pay attention to the way they look.”
Beauty is not the only part of our lives, and there are always more important things to focus our efforts on, like the way we treat others and how we grow in many different ways every day. Sometimes going to university wearing your pajamas sounds like the best option when you have many things to do – it’s too bad we can’t do it in Colombia, but our attachment to personal appearance is just too strong.