I moved to Germany almost a year ago and have been silently studying their fashion taste. Sneakers and cropped skinny jeans have been a staple for majority of the year, but with the addition of chunky turtleneck sweaters, leather backpacks and a bold lip color for the colder weather. But now that most days are near freezing temperatures, the main thing you see most Germans wearing is a long, puffy parka.
A common stereotype among Germans is that they purchase clothes for utility rather than looks. An interest in fashion still exists, but you’re more likely to meet someone who will convince you that a coat is not worth it unless it keeps you warm and dry. This is absolutely true among most people here, but something I, as a winter clueless Texan, can’t grasp. I gravitate towards peacoats and pieces with interesting details but not much thickness or a lining. I joke about people around here looking like giant trash bags in their puffy black coats but they’re much warmer than I am and spent their money well. I know I will grow tired of my Mango coat I purchased last year, which is already losing buttons and pilling along the hem.
I typically see masses of black and olive green on the streets of Cologne, but it makes me happy when I see someone wearing color in the middle of January. I don’t understand why we reserve color for the warmer months, when it’s most needed during winter. Alright, yeah, it’s COLD. It’s GRAY. Doesn’t mean you need to be too, friend.
I often see the people of Cologne wearing Wellensteyn, a trusted brand found at Peek & Cloppenburg Düsseldorf, a department store in Germany. Their coats have a range of styles and utility, and even come in larger sizes, which I always appreciate. Though the price is a band-aid I would be reluctant to pull at first, I’ve learned that spending more on items that provide comfort and well-being, like a mattress or shoes, is completely worth it. It only takes so many days of letting my Mango coat dry on the balcony to convince myself to finally buy a proper winter jacket.
Do you prefer fashion over functionality? I think a marriage between the two is ideal, but not always easy to find. It all depends on our personal preferences and regions. I just spent a weekend in Paris and noticed the people preferred long thin coats worn open to show their outfits, and then returned to Germany and saw everyone bundled up in parkas and short thick coats in the freezing weather. Totally different mindsets!
Stay warm and happy holiday shopping!
Thank you for the inspiration, Peek & Cloppenburg Düsseldorf!