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Wear San Miguel | Jan Bowen Dressing with attitude

When you think about style and fashion, what comes to mind? A person could get lost just discussing the various types and styles of jeans. Straight legs, wide legs, high or low waisted. (As I write, I am wearing vintage, Levi tie-dyed jeans purchased at in boutique in Paris.) I have always believed in dressing in whatever makes me feel happy and comfortable. It has little to do with age, but a lot to do with attitude.

A person’s sense of style is as unique as the individual. It can change with time and location. San Miguel de Allende is such a unique place in the middle of the high desert mountains of Mexico that I made it my home in 2015. I arrived with three suitcases and my little dog, Bailey. Of course I soon learned that my clothing choices were all wrong. Most women don’t need an excuse to go shopping, so my new wardrobe began.

Looking around it also seemed to me that more people enjoyed dressing up, especially in the evenings. I’ve decided that you really need three sets of clothes for the day, depending if you are going out on the town in the evening. The weather is temperate, cool in the mornings and evenings, but can become quite warm during the day. Friends keep telling me I need to learn how to “layer”. After nine years, I’m still not very good at it. I just change outfits. San Miguel has a colonial atmosphere complete with cobblestone streets. Most people quickly learn to wear shoes designed for support and traction. I soon discovered a unique shoe store in Cento at Relox 27 called San Miguel Shoes. The owners created a wide variety of designs using bold colors to support the feet for walking around town in style and safety. Several pairs were quickly purchased. The original owners have since passed away but the store has reopened with even more innovative shoe designs, as well as adding other lines of unique clothing and accessories.

Another favorite clothing store I quickly discovered is Girasol Boutique at Canal 21 where you can find light, breezy clothes in every color imaginable, all designed for comfort and ease of care. There are so many specialty clothing shops in the Cento area as well as places on the not-so-beaten path to explore. But just wear the right shoes. Some of us have joined - what I learned the hard way – a club that is referred to as the Fallen Ladies Club of San Miguel. So far, I’ve been very lucky to not have broken any bones. Watch your step out there.

For decades San Miguel has been a haven for writers, musicians and artists from all over the world. They brought their unique styles as well, which affects the fashions we find here today. San Miguel’s craftsmen became an inspiration to me. They add to the fashion scene through their talents in the various arts of embroidery, leather goods and beading, all improving the fabulously designed clothing we find.

Now, if you will… allow me to share a little about how my life has changed since moving here from Texas. I’m a retired Hospice Social worker. In between my professional work, I always had some kind of artistic adventure going on in the background, but here I got busy meeting new people and discovering new adventures. My artsy ideas were tucked away, not realizing how important to me they would one day become. We all remember the day it seemed like the world stopped turning in 2020. Suddenly everyone was stuck inside, watching the news, hoping and praying that things would get better very soon - never dreaming how long the nightmare would last. People all over the world handled the sudden change in various ways. It didn’t take me long to remember I had art supplies still tucked away. I got them out and began painting on clothing, experimenting on classics like old blue jeans, turning them into skirts. I used denim jackets and painted bold Picasso style faces on the backs - even painted some pieces in a graffiti style. In this way, everything became something new and different. Instead of gently used clothes ending up in the landfill, under my hand they are now one of a kind original wearable art that I love wearing and sharing…in ‘San Miguel Style’. The special fabric paint originates in France but I was able to order it from a company in California to ensure lasting images applied to the re-purposed creations as wearable art-fashion statements.

To see more on these fashion creations available also by custom order please check out

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