If I had to do it over, I would have brought less of everything to Cuenca, including clothes and shoes. As it turns out I wear the same thing practically every day of the year: jean jacket, jeans, Nike walking/running shoes, North Face Jacket, scarf, Tote's umbrella and my leather boots. That's it! I brought shoes from the States that I haven't even worn yet. In fact, it's not much different from my California look, except I wear jeans instead of Capri pants and flip-flops.
On occasion, I do have some fancy dresses which I'm glad I brought because we're being invited to Ecuadorian weddings and other special events which require nice attire, but other than that it's casual, casual, casual.
While we were in California for seven months, I got a great deal on a North Face Jacket with a fleece in my favorite colors -- pink and black. It retailed for over $250, but I got it for $95 as it was on clearance and it was a children's size 14. I normally wear a size 4 or 6, so I've found out that I can get away with a kid's size 14 sometimes which is a lot less expensive. I wear that jacket every day and it has inside pockets, so I don't have to carry a purse. It also has an attached hood, so it's great when I forget my umbrella like I did the other day when it just poured down rain during the Anniversary Celebrations in Cuenca.
The diesel fumes really irritate my eyes if I'm in El Centro for any length of time, so I do have a variety of sunglasses; I wear them even if it's cloudy! And, of course, I always have a scarf with me to cover my face when the clunky blue buses start sputtering out diesel fumes. I've actually come home and had black soot on my face. I realize that El Centro is a popular place (lots of shops and restaurants), but I absolutely could not live there. I'm horribly allergic to the fumes and sometimes it takes two days for my eyes and nose to calm down. We've been in El Centro a lot this week because of all the Anniversary Celebrations of Cuenca and let me tell you...I've suffered for it. Don't get me wrong...I love Cuenca, but my body sure doesn't like black sooty diesel fumes!
I also have one pair of switch flops and ballerina shoes by Lindsay Phillips with 20 different snaps. One pair of shoes that turns into 20 different ones.When I go to a special event, I wear my high heels and immediately switch into my ballerina slippers with their classy snaps to match just about any outfit I own.
I'm sure there are other expats who own a ton of clothes, but I'm just not one of them. I feel most comfortable in a pair of jeans. Also, I own four bathing suits as I go to the thermal baths at Baños. That's it, my wardrobe for Cuenca!
I do more with less and my favorite color is black because you can accessorize with it easily with scarfs and jewelry and since I ride the bus quite frequently I don't have to worry about stains. I do have some summer tops and Capri pants, but I only use those for the beach.
Through the years I've had a variety of hats -- expensive Panama hats and others, but I do a very good job of losing them. My favorite hat I left at the Guayaquil bus station last year, so now I only buy cheap sun hats.
One thing I don't understand is the "jungle camouflage look" that I see a lot of expats wearing. Maybe they're just visiting and are planning a trip to the Amazon, Galapagos, and the Andes, so they need those zip off pants with Indiana Jone's hat and vest. It's okay if you're passing through, but it's probably not a good everyday look as it screams "gringo."
Oh, I almost forgot. I have a Samsung tablet that I bought two years ago and it goes everywhere with me along with my $1.00 pink earplugs. And, my Clinique essentials in their to-go bag which fits nicely in my pocket. My gratitude goes out to all the visitors who come to Cuenca and remember reading in my book what I missed in the States and surprise me with a Clinique Bonus Day bag and products. You are my forever friends!
That's it...my favorite things!
Until next time...hasta luego!