Of all the cities I have ever visited, Amsterdam is hands-down my favorite. More laidback than Paris, more casual than London, it’s a city that is equal parts urban and historic, with bustling neighborhoods, romantic canals, and locals that treat you like an old friend almost instantly. Sartorially speaking, they’re no slouches either.
Tall, gorgeous, and mostly blonde, the Dutch know a thing or two about nailing that “I’m just going out to walk the dog and maybe grab a beer, but I'll still look damn good doing it” ensemble. Here are some things—other than a cone of frites with mayo and a kamikaze bike—that will help you achieve the effortless Amsterdammer stijl.
A Dam-fine Pair of Jeans
True-blue, stovepipe-straight denim was the biggest thing on the streets, but the key feature seemed to be that everyone had jeans that fit. I mean they really fit. Raw denim, which is untreated or washed before sale, seemed to be the trick to this magical component, giving folks with patience the ability to wear in their own pair to perfection.
Pro tip: when you buy a pair of raw jeans, they are about as stiff as a drink coaster and have absolutely no give in them. Marcus, a salesman at Denham (one of Amsterdam’s leading denim shops) said it takes about six to eight weeks to really wear raw denim in, but that they would be less “awful” to wear in about a week.
T-shirts and light sweaters, all with a bit of drape, are the perfect counterpoint to those stovepipe skinnies we’re talking about above. Flowy enough to read as feminine and relaxed, but fitted enough not to be baggy, these toppers are exactly what you need for the constantly changing weather. Throw on a scarf, too—you never know when you’ll need it.
Most people in Amsterdam ride a bike. With bike lanes crisscrossing the city, the two-wheel type of transportation is the easiest and fastsest way to get around. Which means that heels are a no-go. One night, I decided to wear some chunky, low-heeled boots to dinner. I barely made it to the restaurant, with my feet slipping and sliding across the pedals. On the feet of the native Dutch gals? Flats. Sneakers. I think they’re on to something.