On my recent trip to Amsterdam I couldn’t help but acknowledge how the noticeable fashion style differs from other European cities. Whilst other capital cities are about standing out and setting trends, Amsterdam is refreshingly casual. The Netherlands is the country with the most cyclists, and I noticed that more bicycles were on the road than cars in Amsterdam. This environmentally-friendly, relaxed approach of the capital city is clearly reflected in the outfit choices, and this article will explore how the Dutch can dress practically whilst also appearing chic and put-together.
Amsterdam is known as the denim capital of the world, so it’s no surprise that jeans were heavily featured on the locals. Whilst a range of jean types made an appearance, the most popular style appeared to be denim skinny jeans, yet wide-legged or cropped jeans occasionally appeared too. This obsession with jeans makes sense. With everyone cycling to work or to run errands, it’s essential to dress for comfort and practicality – unlike wearing a skirt or dress, which could cause fear of accidentally flashing. Jeans are not seen as casual wear, but instead jeans are worn to work, bars, clubs, restaurants, and supposedly they can even be worn at weddings and funerals. Jeans are the perfect clothing piece in Amsterdam: denim rarely needs replacing, so in the long-term it does not have as negative of an environmental impact as constantly buying new clothing pieces does; it’s practical; it’s accommodating to cycling and activity; it’s easy to style because it is versatile. Jeans clearly reflect the relaxed approach which the city oozes.
As the weather can easily fluctuate between rain or shine, I was able to witness the jacket/coat choices which the locals adopted. Much as jeans are a classic wardrobe staple, it’s no surprise that another timeless classic piece featured heavily – the trench coat. Both men and women were spotted cycling past with long, beige trench coats cascading around them. Leather jackets would also occasionally pop-up for a slightly grungy look. Similar to the jeans, a trench coat or leather jacket typically only needs to be bought once due to their longevity, so it supports the city’s constant sustainable and laid-back ethos. They are also versatile, providing a seamless transition from day to night.
High-heeled shoes were scarce, with shoes from Nike, Veja, and Converse being the more popular choices. This allows for comfort all-day whilst they cycle and walk to their intended destinations. From day to night, the locals of Amsterdam will be comfortable and chic, in their casually classic outfits that will never go out of style. Instead of hiding their secret pain from high-heeled shoes pinching their feet, they are able to embrace the trainer look (and the comfort that comes with it!).
Outfits are monochromatic, or in muted colours, so everyone is dressed almost identically and can blend in with each other. Fashion in Amsterdam is not about owning a statement piece or standing out – it’s about being practical and comfortable whilst maintaining style. Instead of wearing athleisure wear, they adopt the classic denim jeans, sneakers, and trench coat. All of which are breathable, versatile, stylish, classic, and relaxed – which exactly captures the essence of fashion in Amsterdam.