I have been the inofficial Berlin Fashion Police for many years now. I swear, I have never been to another city so wrought with fashion faux pas. People somehow just don't seem to have a feel for what looks good on them. The city is also so trend driven it's ridiculous. You end up seeing clones all over the place, one of the reasons I really hate trends because I think style should always be individual. So many times I've caught myself on the U-Bahn thinking something like "Girlfriend, you have so got to loose that hat" Or "Those boots do not do anything for that outfit" or "Earrings or necklace, one or the other, but not both because those two just DO NOT match."
I would be lying if I didn't admit that there is a certain amount of cattiness in my fashion police musings (but then, what would fashion and style be without cattiness?) But that is not the entire story. I honestly believe that anyone can (and should)develop there own style. It should be personal and individual, reflecting your taste. It should celebrate your body, flattering how you are shaped as well as your coloring. It should show who you are, be playful, never seamless and perfect (perfection and flawlessness=sterile in my opinion)sometimes take risks and be full of surprises.
This past summer I was so inspired when I went to Contis Plage in France. The women there dressed casually but with elegance. They were feminine without being all tussied out (Tussi is the German word for someone who is overly girly). SO much better than the careful carelessness that people have here. They want to look like they just put on the first thing they saw after rolling out of bed but it actually took them an hour to acheive this...
Today, whilst walking around Bergmannstrasse, I saw so many bad outfits and color combinations that I decided to be a spy and take some pictures of them. Unfortunately I didn't capture any of the most horrendous crimes, like the cotton parachute pants. Parachute pants. That they are reappearing is an indication that this 80s thing has gotten out of control. Come on people, 80s style was bad enough the FIRST time around. All I have to say is if the Miami Vice look makes a come back, I swear to god I'm going to slit my wrists!
Ok, here we go with the Berlin Fashion Police Blotter.
1. Whatcha got under that raincoat, sister?
Though this isn't totally horrendous, there are still several things going wrong here.
-First off, the shoes. They are cute, strappy sandal pumps that look great with her legs, but they are a bit too dainty for what she is wearing. Much better suited for a short, spring dress.
-Second, the coat. Wearing a mini raincoat with no clothing peeking out from underneath gives her a little bit too much of the flasher look. She also has a nice figure, so why not wear something more tailored to show it off? The flaired bottom on the coat is doing nothing for her.
-Third, the color. Berlin is a city filled with plenty of Nordic palies. And yet so many of them insist on wearing black. When you have a truly fair complexion, black (or, in this case, navy)just isn't all that flattering. This girl would look so great in a pastel color: sky blue, canary yellow, even pink (and she looks like she is girly enough to pull it off.) The black bag with the navy coat is another no-no. And don't get me started on the 80s hair clip....
Sentence: Misdemeanor- 700 Euro fine and 30 days community service.
2. Wait a minute, is that guy trying to be hip?
At first glance you assume that this is just a regular guy. If he were, I wouldn't have anything to say. When someone says to me "But Rebeccah, I just don't care about style." I shrug my shoulders and say "Well, alrighty then." But when you look again you see a few telltale signs.
-He is typing on his Mac Book in a public place.
-He is in Berlin-Kreuzberg not Des Moines (in Berlin, only a hipster or an American tourist would wear a baseball cap.)
-When you look closely at his clothes you see chunky, cable-knit cardigan, pin striped wrinkled oxford shirt. Both vintage 1980s items.
OMG, this guy is trying to be hip!
Don't get me wrong. I love vintage clothes and mix a lot of it into my own wardrobe. But just because something is old does not automatically make it cool. And seriously, like I said before, I just don't get this 80s thing. "But Rebeccah," you say. "We're not trying to look good. We're trying to be ironic." The problem is, 80s clothes is not ironic, it's just poor taste. Then again, maybe I'm just too old. When I see an outfit like this I think of Josh Peacock who sat three rows behind me in our 6th grade Humanities class. At the time I thought he looked cute, but give me a break. I was 13 and it WAS the 80s. Now I think there's simply no excuse.
Sentence: Felony. Parole granted only after synthetic cable knit cardigan and oxford shirt have been burned.
3. Citizen's Choice Award
So you won't think I can only criticize, here is a picture of an outfit I think looks great. The chunky boots and scarf have a Berlin flair about them, the beige jacket looks fab with the purple skirt and the oversized yellow purse is fun, Spring-like and makes good use of the color wheel (yellow and purple, y'all.) Her friend is a little bit more muted, but the ballerina flats and lacy tights are adorable.
See. I can play nice. And here, to end this post, is a picture of lovely spring flowers.