czwartek, 31 października 2013

Dutchman's Anatomy: Jeans, boots and wind in your hair

- I think I’m turning into Dutch… - said grotesquely Anna – Do you remember that Swedish guy from our first language course? The Sheldon-alike one? Remember that he once said, that every Dutch woman has at least few pair of flat boots?... Well, mines are almost all flat!
The Wasteful Wives Club burst into laughter. However, after a short discussion we all came to conclusion that since we live in the Netherlands, we barely ever wear heels anymore. It was most painful to admit for Lucy, for whom heels used to be a kind of trademark. Heels might be pretty, but when in Rome, do as the Romans do!

During our ladies lunch meetings we tend to talk a lot about how Dutch women dress and compare it to the trends we know from our homelands. Every expat girl I’ve ever talked to has exactly same observations. It hit me even more, when I was reading “Pas op, Nederlanders. Over een volk dat minder gewoon is dan het zelf denkt” (“Watch out, the Dutch. About the people who are less normal than they think themselves”). The author had some interesting insights about that aspect and explained (as a Dutchman) where does it come from. 

Boots - the must-have in any Dutch closet, no matter the season
So how does an average Dutch woman look like? Most likely she’s wearing boots or ankle boots, flat or on tiny heel. The season doesn’t matter… These shoes are on from indian summer to late spring. Sometimes also in the middle of the summer  ;) Cloths are usually in muted, subdued colours. All shades of beige, grey, navy and black. White is super popular, especially on the first warmer days of May. It’s also the season for a kind of national clothing disaster: white leggings.

Dutch women like to feel cool and comfy. And you can see it just going through their wardrobe. Even when they are going out to a pub or a party with their friends, they don’t overly dress up. They keep it simple and casual. I always had a problem with it, when we were going to some bigger family event. In Poland it’s easy: whether you’re going to your aunts tea party, grandma’s birthday, festive dinner with your family or a theatre, you always dress smart. In the Netherlands? What difference does it make? Jeans and tee’s are fine. An exam, a job interview, a wedding? Same jeans and maybe a shirt (so you won’t look sloppy). Hair down or loosely tied and light, natural make-up (or no make-up). After all what’s the point of  styling your hair… the wind is gonna ruin it anyway while you’re cycling :) 

For the Dutch the surfice is not the most important... but the beast that's inside you... ;)
So why do Dutch people pay rather little attention to their looks? What’s wrong in getting fancy dressed up once a time? Nothing… It’s just not their highest priority. Of course it doesn’t mean they look sloppy and totally careless. Simply in this country it’s more important WHAT you represent and have to say, rather than HOW you represent it. And since they love to talk and discuss for hours, it’s easier to show their “inside beauty”. “All that glitter is not gold”-saying has reached another level here. It’s a very pragmatic nation. If clothes are not comfortable, why would you wear them? Now let’s be honest: does wearing a tie and a suit make you an expert in your field?

This attitude fits perfectly to a popular Dutch saying: “Doe maar normal dan ben je gek genoeg”… Act normal and you’re already crazy enough! ;) 

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