One of the things I enjoy most about traveling is seeing what people are wearing in other parts of the world. Noticing the subtle or sometimes not so subtle differences between how people in other cities dress, interests me to no end.
I particularly love traveling to countries where the seasons are opposite to ours, where you get a chance to see what’s coming our way.
Winter 2016 I travelled to Barcelona and Berlin. Two cities that honesty could not be more different to each other in terms of style. I was last in both cities exactly 10 years ago – the year I took 6 months long service leave from teaching and made my decision to start my personal styling business.
The shopping and personal style in Barcelona was not so inspiring. There seemed to be nothing other than High Street or High End. In short, noting that we don’t already have in Melbourne. I’m sure there is a neighborhood in Barcelona where local and independent designers exist, but I couldn’t find it. Equally I’m sure there are neighborhoods where very well dressed Barcelonians live and hang out, but I couldn’t find them either.
However Berlin was a complete contrast. The minute we arrived to our apartment in the Mitte District of East Berlin, it was STYLE GAME ON! We were surrounded by cool bars, cafes and shops, so naturally the people in the area were pretty cool too. I instantly felt a lot more ‘at home’ with a familiar feeling of laid-back inner city Melbourne.
Berlin style is very casual cool – understated, no flashy brands or labels. I would compare it to the Melbourne suburbs of Fitzroy and Collingwood. No one looks like they’re trying too hard but damn it everyone looks good!
It’s fair to say I loved Berlin and its relaxed feel. I remembered that from my visit 10 years previous, and things certainly seem to have only got cooler and edgier.
Three trends stood out most on my trip-
Now I know sneakers aren’t anything new, they’ve been big in Australia for some time now. But seriously, they were everywhere in both cities. Very few people, including women, were wearing sandals let alone thongs! This surprised me particularly in Barcelona where it was quite hot. So whether it was with denim shorts, summer dresses or cuffed jeans, sneakers were the go-to shoe.
What I bought:
After buying my coveted blush Common Projects sneakers just before flying out (I ended up wearing them most days because they were the best for walking) I didn’t think I’d needed to add another pair of sneakers to my collection. I already had white (Lacoste) and two black and white pairs (Adidas Originals & Common Projects slip-ons) But as my love for the casual look grew, I thought one more pair couldn’t hurt.
Enter a pair of ice-blue Adidas Court Vantage. This style is like a sock, made of a completely stretchy fabric that just pulls on to the foot (the laces are really just decorative) Wow, so light and comfy! And I loved the colour, not realizing at the time that it works perfectly with my little Coach cross body bag (really I didn’t!)
*Side note – flats vs heels
I have to say every time I travel overseas I notice that most women wear flat shoes. Day, night, casual dining or a fancy bar, women don’t seem to wear heels like we do. I don’t know whether it’s to do with the fact that in many European cities, most people live in apartments and walk most places (or use public transport) the weather (I mostly travel in summer) or it’s really just a different approach to style.
Every time I notice this I think I’m going to start wearing more flats and less heels (it’s not like I need heels at 6ft tall!) I admire their relaxed approach and confidence and clearly how much more comfortable they must be!
Off the shoulder/Cut out shoulder
This trend is HUGE! I’ve been admiring this trend via Instagram and Pinterest for a little while and admittedly did a bit of pre-vacay online shopping, buying this Storets dress – perfect for Barcelona yes?
It didn’t take long for me to see this trend everywhere in Barcelona, particularly in the High Street stores – H&M, Zara and Mango.
There are two versions, the complete off the shoulder look and the cut out shoulder style. I opted for the cut out as I’m very sun-smart and don’t think having my back exposed is a good idea (and my dermatologist would NOT be happy)
What I love about this trend is that its mostly accompanied by a ruffle or two, making it a very summery, feminine look.
What I bought:
White ruffle cut out top from H&M. Admittedly I’d spied this top on one of my favourite Instagrammers @thefrugality so I was keen to see if I could track it down. I’m not a massive fan of H&M in Melbourne (I think its something to do with the fact that the building was once the lovely GPO and I’m disappointed with its new tenant)
*And what I bought in preparation for my trip! This shoulder cut-out dress from Storets online. Very Spanish yes?
The Bomber Jacket
Another trend that has already started to hit the stores of Australia, but one we’ll be seeing a lot more of come Spring. Mostly in silk (or polyester) with some sort of embroidery (lots of florals and Japanese inspired prints) the style has of course, like every good trend, trickled down from the designer heights of Gucci, Isabel Marant and Stella McCartney to name a few.
This versatile jacket is a classic and simple silhouette that looks great paired with anything from a pair of jeans to a midi skirt.
What I bought:
Floral print oversized bomber from Berlin designer Broke + Schon. This colourful and inexpensive bomber will add a little fun to my wardrobe without breaking the bank for a one season trend.
If you’re heading to either Barcelona or Berlin, I can highly recommend these hotels:
Hotel Alma – Barcelona
Gorky Apartments – East Berlin