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Friday Fashion: Drawing on Amsterdam to make Midwest fashion a Dutch treat

Courtesy of MCT

Somewhere in between the Red Light District, numerous coffee shops and throngs of excited college students are the fashionable people of Amsterdam. This city’s fashion sense might be the best-kept secret of European shopaholics. With great boutique shops and an out-of-this-world luxury-shopping strip, the Dutch have found their way to the perfect closet.

Everyone knows a closet staple should be the ideal pair of jeans. In Amsterdam, men and women alike value a higher-end pair made with real denim and sturdy seams. The best way to determine a durable pair of jeans is to stretch it. If it doesn’t stretch, you have real denim. Look for washes that are basic blue and uniform throughout the pair. A traditional navy blue looks the best with any type of shirt and jacket.

Outerwear involves anything weatherproof in this city. It’s a trend worth trying in Columbus. Unlike the ever-so-practical rain jacket that we insist on wearing around campus, the Dutch opt for trench coats and army-style jackets made from nylon. They also avoid anything too bulky, making movement and layering much easier.

For women in Amsterdam, dresses are much less practical than a pair of pants because they ride bicycles everywhere. For this reason, women choose trendier tops and outerwear to spruce up their basic outfit. Shirts with appliqués, beading or sequins are welcome among college students for a night out. During the day, you’ll find local women in everything from cotton T-shirts to chiffon blouses. But no matter what they are wearing, conscious conservatism is key — the goal is to leave something to the imagination.

Men tend to be more classic dressers in Amsterdam. Striped or gingham button-downs are a staple to everyday wear. They avoid loud prints and crazy colors to opt for something more neutral and basic. It would seem that they consider the practicality of the shirt before they buy it. Colors like blue, grey and maroon are worn in full force because these colors can be paired with just about anything.

Unlike women, on a night out, men can be found wearing basic jeans and T-shirts. For most men, this could be a disaster since graphic T-shirts like those of Ed Hardy are out of style. However, aside from the tourists, local men in the nightclubs stick to solid colors that can handle sweat stains — gross, but true. This means avoiding colors like white or grey and sticking to darker colors like black and navy blue.

All in all, Amsterdam style is accessible and definitely something college students will want to mimic as they make their way into the work world. Understanding how to express your style without looking inappropriate is an art form that the Dutch have clearly mastered. The key is to pair timeless classics with trendier pieces. The classic clothing will make those around you comfortable, while the trendy accents will make you and your outfit memorable.

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