LOCATION: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Traveling throughout Europe for a few months I became aware that certain cities have a style aesthetic. Of course there are tourists, but if you pay attention you can spot the locals and start to see a trend.
In Paris the style is drapey, slouchy. It’s fashionable, they’re not drowning in their pieces, there’s a cool cut or hem or fabric happening. But everything nonchalantly says “Oh this? I just threw this on”.
I’ve heard this from multiple Parisian friends or ex-pats. French women rarely paint their nails, jewelry is minimal, clothing is mostly black. Beauty, should be effortlessly chic. Trying too hard is tacky. Parisian women put forth effort in looking like they just rolled out of bed. [wink]
Amsterdam style is black leather jackets, dresses and tennis shoes. It’s a feminine/sporty blend in a city of women bicycling to work, dinner and dates.
With weather that always tends to be a bit overcast and chilly, so you want that jacket on hand, yet since you’re riding a bike hitting at the waist is practical. Lots of black, white, gray — similar to the fresh spacious modern design of shops and home decor you find throughout the Netherlands.
In America, we embrace color, pattern, accessories and generally more diversity in our style. Most shop windows whether at a mall in the midwest or a trendy neighborhood in a big city show all of the above.
Of course some Americans prefer more neutral or simplistic style, but no one thinks twice if you show up in something bright, busy or bold.
One of the questions readers posed about travel: how to dress to fit in where you’re going.
On the one hand, I’m a fan of being you. (Muslim countries or places like cathedrals with modest standards of course being respected.) On the other hand, I think it can be fun to let yourself be shifted and shaped by a new culture.
When in Paris, I found myself seeing my closet with that ease, embracing messy hair, leaving my accessories at home.
Meanwhile in Amsterdam, I maintained my belief that I’m just not a black leather jacket kind of girl.
However, I sought out more neutral color combinations and that feminine/sporty blend — an athletic tank with a 50’s skirt, edgier booties, a bold stripe in an easy slouchy style.
[ tank dress: thrifted, paris // skirt: vintage, brooklyn // sweater: urban outfitters // boots: dsw // necklace: boutique, brooklyn // hat: street vendor, paris // photographer: xenia udalove ]
There’s nothing inherently refined about blending in.
Standing out can be confident. Your unique style can inspire someone else in their own country.
Yet I love the fresh inspiration of new places, styles, and ideas.
It’s that combination — your unique style blended with the people, places, experiences that only you have encountered altogether — that creates a style just for you.