Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Observed | European Fashion

Yours truly, on one of the warmer (!) days in Munich, Germany

So I know that I kind of breezed through our Europe trip recap without many details, but I did want to discuss one very important topic in more depth -- European fashion.

People often mention that Europe is at least a full year ahead of the US on trends.  While I'm not sure that I completely agree with this statement (social media has allowed fashion trends to be introduced on an international level almost simultaneously, in my opinion), I still made sure to take note of what the locals were wearing. To me, the local fashions revealed as much about a city as their architecture, food, and art.

As a reminder, we went to Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich, and Prague -- all Northern European cities.

As I mentioned during my recap, I found Amsterdam to be the most stylish city BY FAR.  No competition!  All of the Dutch could be described as "handsome" and "effortless".

Munich was 2nd, with lots of beautiful people who seemed to favor architectural details in their clothing.

Prague was by far the least stylish city (on my opinion only, of course!).  To me, Prague bordered a bit on tacky -- cheap fabric, rhinestones, and some wore too many trendy items at once.  Of course there were exceptions, but that's just what I noticed while walking around and shopping.

Some other observations:

- Every city (except maybe Prague) was a sea of neutrals.  Grey, navy, olive, taupe, camel, cognac, white/ivory, black, black, and more black :).  I was in heaven!  Some folks incorporated non-neutral colors into their scarves or shoes (more on that below).  In Amsterdam, a lot of young girls rocked a bright, matte, neon lip (red, orange, pink) with an otherwise neutral outfit.


- Sneakers GALORE!  Sneakers were by far the most popular choice for footwear by those of ALL ages -- from pre-teens to the mature crowd.  Nike and Converse were most frequently spotted, but New Balance was a close third.  Again, lots of neutral colors (black, grey)... but this was an area where people played with color.  Red, pink, and cobalt blue were popular choices.  More people more sneakers than any other type of shoe -- they were worn with casual, professional, and nightlife ensembles alike.  Retro/throwback styles were popular, especially with the male population.  I wore my Nike Frees and Chucks the entire trip.  There were completely appropriate for pretty much every situation and outfit.

- If a person wasn't wearing sneakers, they were probably in flat leather boots -- mostly ankle and combat styles.  I saw very few knee high boots.  I also didn't see many flats, but that was probably due to the weather (low 50's and rainy most of the time).  I saw ONE pair of high heels in two weeks, and I'm fairly certain she was grabbing a cup of coffee right by her office.


- I was in awe of all of the beautiful coats and jackets worn by the Euro women.  Luxurious wool coats with oversized collars, leather moto jackets, and classic trench coats were the most popular options.  I was really impressed by the fit -- I imagine a lot of them were tailored, and it truly made the women look impossibly polished.  Tailoring definitely appeared to be worth the time and money invested!  Even the oversized wool coats that are so popular looked more chic, less hobo when tailored in the shoulders and arms.

- Most coats and jackets were accessorized with huge, oversized scarves/pashminas.  I loved this.


- A lot of folks say not to wear jeans in Europe or you'll be labeled a tourist.  I could not have found that to be more false.  We stayed in residential, non-touristy areas in most of the cities, and everyone wore denim.  It was just as common there as it is in the US, in my experience.  Skinny was the dominant style.  Dark and coated denim was more common than light or colored styles (again, this could have been due to the weather/season).

- When it came to bags, I noticed that women carried LARGE leather bags worn over their shoulder, in the crook of their arm, or crossbody.   Most bags were black, cognac, or taupe.  I didn't notice many small crossbody styles at all, which really took me by surprise!  I saw a handful of Prada double zip totes, a few Fendi 2Jours, and lots of no-name bags that were buttery and gorgeous.  Michael Kors bags were EVERYWHERE.  This shocked the hell out of me!  I'm sure a lot of them were tourists, but still.  MK bags outnumbered other brands two to one.

- Those Euro men sure know how to wear a suit!  A slim medium-dark blue suit worn with warm brown shoes and belt seemed to be a very popular choice.  Of course, the fit was impeccable.  A good tailor strikes again!

In conclusion:
Since returning stateside, I've already made three trips to the tailor.  We're quickly becoming BBF's.
Euro ladies, my tailor thanks you (and my clothes do too!).

Travelers --what fashion trends have you noticed during recent trips?
Have they affected the way you dress at all?

For more fashion fun, be sure to check out style on Pinterest!


  1. Such a good post Natalia! I love checking out the different fashion trends when traveling. I wish I had a reason to buy lots of fabulous coats, but it just doesn’t stay cold long enough in the south.

  2. LOVED this post!! I am so fascinated by regional trends (whether US regions or other continents!). I haven't traveled internationally for quite awhile so I can't compare notes on that, but your thoughts on them not really being ahead of the trends due to social media rings true to me. (And P.S. You look great in your "tourist" photo. Very European! Haha!)
    Gina -- On the Daily Express

  3. I love that you did this!! I swear MK is the stock to buy - he is everywhere!! Hopefully it wont be as chilly when we go in a couple of weeks, but I'm interested to see what the difference is with summer fashion vs the colder months and also the region of Europe that you were in compared to the one that I'm going to!

  4. First of all, you are SO. FREAKING. CUTE. I am insanely upset you don't live close enough to dress me every day.

    Second of all, I just want to take this moment to say I now feel 100% justified in my clothing choices and will remember this post the next time someone comments on the "lack of color in my wardrobe." Bitch I'm just European.

    And lastly, you also just made me feel insanely cool since I'm sitting at work wearing a navy dress, big scarf and vans. Which I am going to label the "95 degree version of this look". Now off to go google for the perfect pair of Nikes :)

  5. this is a great idea for a post. i've traveled to all those places but never really thought about it, amsterdam is pretty stylish though you're right!

  6. Love all these pretty inspiration and I love your look. I recently bought a pair of Converse... I need to break them out!

  7. Love this post! I would fit in great- all I wear is neutrals! I can't believe everyone wore sneakers but I could understand with the weather that it makes sense.