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Touring around Cuenca in Ecuador for a day, the most striking thing besides the city’s natural beauty…

…is the fashion. Men and women alike sport some wonderfully superlative styles.

One person I spoke with explained that outward signs of wealth are a big deal. Having fancy house exteriors and lawns aren’t done here, so items like cars and clothes take on extra importance.

For me, this still doesn’t explain why Cuenca, in particular, seems so fashionable. Perhaps because it’s a very walkable city with a lot of youth and ex-pats (but not so much the hippie types), so people are out, about, and style-conscious.

Whatever the cause, it’s a pleasure to behold. So in homage to The Sartorialist, here are some of the standouts of Cuenca street fashion.

The biggest contrasts are between modern and traditional/indigenous:

I can only assume this boy is excited about his mom’s matching poncho:

Motorcyclists are impressively color-coordinated:

Of course the Panama hat, which is actually made most ably in Cuenca, is popular:

For the bovine crowd, chains are most definitely IN:

Modern business dress is alive and distinctive:


Slacks and loafers, even for delivering cola. Nice:

I saw a lot of collar shirts under sweaters, and not just for school uniforms:

Not sure if it’s a school uniform, but this sure is one chic kid:

The students were, of course, among the most adventurous…

…or label-conscious…

…or just comfortably dressed:

Slicked-back hair seemed like a thing. I think I like it:


It was nice to see a lot of suits that weren’t just blue and black:

I love this style. I dunno, maybe the plaid skirt, or the contrasting bright blue bag? It all works:

American labels thrive, too:

If you’re wondering what to wear to your street performance:

Lime green vest. Sweet:

If you’re going to rock a hip hoody, gotta make sure there’s nothing in your teeth:

Sometimes I wonder what Moby would look like in a Snuggie?

An nice take on the all-black look:

This one, too. You don’t see a lot of facial hair in Latin America. And check out those boots and multi-colored sneakers. Cute couple:

Actually, the guy in that photo is Christian, an up-and-coming electronica DJ, with his girlfriend of three years, Katy. His brand is llama.

His dad is a fabulous contemporary artist named Jaime Gustavo Lopez Moreno. Here we are in his main gallery, at 417 Luis Cordero (near the river). Tell them Andres sent you for 25% off.

After 28 hours in Guayaquil — Ecuador’s largest city — I feel qualified to sell it to you. Here, then, is a hastily-researched list of my top 28 reasons to visit this awesome, manic place:

Behold the giant coffee cup on top of Nescafe HQ:

Report corruption with handy-dandy boxes:

Explore awesome colonial architecture:

Need change? Go to one of the many change machines. On the street. (Because almost no storekeeper wants to break a $20 or a $10 if they can help it.):

Take the 90-minute double-decker bus tour and you can have the top half to yourself:

Check out creepy baby pictures on store signs:

(Actually, that’s the same picture as on one of the more popular bottled water brands, from whence I’m sure the store got the pic. Not sure if that’s better or worse.)

Become entranced by cool murals on the overpass struts:

Buy a cell phone charger for your car while waiting in traffic:

Study at the Wall Street School of English:

Shake your fist at ignorance with the rest of the Guayaquil University leadership:

Buy toys from Barney:

Take a nap on your dad:

Wait for your mom to pick you up from ballet:

Dance outside Burger King:

Can’t decide between Bingo and Derby? THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM.

Play checkers when the hat business is slow:

Hang out with land iguanas. In the park. You can even feed them:

Get really excited when you think you see a WAFFLE HOUSE but it turns out that it’s not a WAFFLE HOUSE but actually just a clothing store that uses the same black-on-yellow lettering, but that’s OK, I mean, what would a WAFFLE HOUSE be doing in Guayaquil anyway? (Though if there are people out there who are planning to open a WAFFLE HOUSE in Guayaquil please don’t take this to mean that it would be a bad idea. It would be a great idea. I hope you pursue your dream. But if you do it just watch out for people being disappointed when they think they see their favorite clothing store and it actually turns out to be just the best waffles in the world.)

Take a bus:

Visit the contemporary art museum and get to be the only one there:



Discover that not everyone in the world associates “Avenue of the Americas” with a failed renaming of the reputationally-challenged 6th Avenue in NYC, when in fact in some places “Avenue of the Americas” is the informal moniker. Check out that reversal — 2 points:

Visit Plaza Pilsner:

Gawk at weird pirate statues:

Have fun with said pirate statues:


Climb 444 steps to the top of a lighthouse on top of the main hill for an awesome view of the city:

And reason #28?

The city is a lot like New York, bursting with energy and life. If you like the full range of humanity that comes with a huge metropolis, from the businesspeople and high-culture to the street vendors and students, Guayaquil will impress.