A trip to Amsterdam is possibly the best thing to materialise out of university stress. A weekend in the dam and I felt completely refreshed – the opposite feeling to how most people feel after experiencing Europe’s answer to Sin City. My reason? It was a refreshing change to see how the city’s locals dressed – both creative and individual yet bang on trend.
Most people venture to Amsterdam to visit the coffee shops, museums and the red light district, but I had another motive in mind. Fashion. Thanks to eighteen hours of awkward sleeping on the coach there, I had plenty of time to wonder what the fashion on the streets would be like. Was I disappointed when I got there? No. I’ve travelled a lot and I’m always careful to note how the fashions vary from place to place. But – I have to say – the Dutch people in the capital know how to dress. I was also surprised to see so many clothes shop that are close to home: River Island, Zara and endless H&Ms littered the small passages. Forget the museums, the red light district, the coffee shops – the city was bursting with boutiques – vintage, retro, current trends just waiting for my debit card. So I went to see if there was any shopping to be done while my friends visited the erotic museum. Yep – there was a lot to be done. I kitted myself out for winter – indulging in jumpers, two jackets and a scarf. So far, they continue to serve me like little soldiers.
I could have believed I was in London during fashion week…
Of course, I checked out a few places intrinsic to Amsterdam – the Anne Frank museum and the Heineken museum to name a few. But staying in a hostel on the outskirts of the city, I was forced to travel into the city, passing some of the most fashion conscious and stylish locals I have ever seen in a European city. If not for the buildings, tramlines and coffee shops plastered around me, I could have believed I was in London during fashion week.
I distinctly remember having a conversation with my friends when a guy said to me in English “your shoes are cool”. I was wearing Topshop brogues. I said thank you and noticed he was wearing a similar shoe to mine but with laces. Before spotting his shoes – my eyes glazed over his green fur coat – sounds like part of a costume for The Hulk but did it work? Yes. Did it look amazing? Yes. The coat with the brogues showcased the creative talent many of the locals on the streets of Amsterdam have.
Perhaps it was the girl with the striped dress and spotty tights…
I don’t think I saw an outfit I didn’t like and I still couldn’t tell you what outfit amongst the ones I saw was my favourite. Perhaps the guy with the long beige trench-style coat which fell just below the man’s lower leg. In England, I only see girls wearing coats of this length, but the guy looked sophisticated and cultured. He gave the long jacket a kind of loose and languid look, as if he’d just thrown it on in a rush that very same morning.
From now on, when somebody says Amsterdam, I won’t just think of clogs, windmills, cannabis, or the red light district – I’ll think of its fashion too. The locals, with their effortless looks, were easily inspiring and I returned to England with so much more than just souvenirs in the shape of clogs, fatigue and the image of a lady standing in a window in her underwear. Amsterdam really has more to offer.