Home / The Netherlands / Dutch Fashion the Seven Deadly Sins

Dutch Fashion the Seven Deadly Sins

Banner Lassus

After pointing out that the Dutch are obsessed with two words, ‘gratis’ and ‘korting’ the Shallow Man was once again cast out into the wilderness. For days I wandered, as dazed and confused as a Dutch woman when she meets a man that doesn’t want to have sex on the second date.  For days I roamed this flat and ‘tolerant’ land until I crossed into Belgium where fearful of being bored to death, I moved on to France.

Weary as the fingers of a Dutch woman swiping through Tinder profiles on a Friday night, I laid down to rest. I was awoken by a strange sound, when I opened my eyes, an elegantly dressed couple stood at the foot of my bed.

Startled, but still half asleep I said to the couple “You’ve got the wrong hotel room, I didn’t order a duo” Responding in perfect English the female of the two said, “Shallow Man, we are Simone and Pierre, the gods of fashion. We are well aware of your blog and would like you to return to the Netherlands and tell your readers the seven deadly sins of Dutch fashion.”

“So you’re French? But your English is so good.

“Shallow Man, I shall say this only once, not all French people speak English with an Allo Allo accent.” Replied a clearly irritated Pierre. 99.9% perhaps, but not all.

“Return to Amsterdam and share the seven deadly sins of fashion committed by the Dutch. Educate them before it’s too late”

Which brings me to the subject of today’s post.

Now this post might annoy some, and if as a result, I’m captured by a group of angry female Dutch (excuse me while I laugh) fashion bloggers, I’ll say to my detractors, “Dutch fashion blogs are incredibly creative, take a photo of yourself wearing a different pair of jeans five days a week, with a mismatching top and a pair of shoes that are so flat you could ski down slope in them. You’d be better off calling yourself comedy bloggers, as the outfits many of you wear certainly make me laugh”

The things I do for my readers!


1. Thou shalt not worship denim

The Dutch and denim go together like American police and dead black people. The Dutch can’t get enough of denim. In fact, the Netherlands is the number one market in Europe for jeans. It’s the only place in the world where you can buy denim lined children’s buggies, coffins, and condoms. They even get married wearing jeans.

Personally, I blame Holland’s top fashion blogger, Marloes de Smaakloos, for her blog, ‘denim met alles.’ which is believed to have started the Dutch jeans obsession.

As if the overdose of denim wasn’t bad enough, prepare yourselves for the latest diabolical trend in jeans for women, the horrors of the tuinbroek. Very fashionable in the Netherlands this season.

The latest denim nightmare
The latest denim nightmare

2. Wearing skirts that are too short while cycling

As I write this post, Dutch women have suddenly returned en masse to the terraces. Clouds of smoke can be seen from space over the Netherlands as groups of ladies sit together and celebrate the return of the sun. This for us nature lovers in the Netherlands is the first sign of spring.

The second sign of spring is when you bear witness to ladies hitching up their skirts, then clambering onto their bikes like a Texan rodeo cowboy mounting a horse.

A simple tip for all you lovely Dutch ladies out there. If while getting onto your bike you feel a cold draft at the top of your stairway to heaven, doe het niet, the skirt is too short!!

short skirts on bikes in the netherlands leads to
Ladies, be careful while cycling

3. White leggings!

Leggings are not pants.  In the Netherlands you’ll often hear the pained cry of “my poor eyes, what did I just see?” This often occurs when seeing women wearing leggings as pants. I used to wonder if perhaps they’d rushed out of their apartments in such a hurry, that they’d forgotten to put on a skirt. I soon realized that actually, a lot of women think that leggings are a fine substitute for pants. That’s bad enough, but one of the mortal sins that can be committed is to wear white leggings. Unless you’re going to a fancy dress party as a weisswurst, leave the white leggings alone.

Bavarian white sausage, weisswurst
Some Dutch women love weisswurst so much that they try and dress up like them


banner dl


4. Wearing Birkenstocks because they are comfortable

The Dutch are obsessed with dressing to be comfortable. I don’t know why they don’t just leave the house wrapped in a duvet and a pillow tied to their heads and be done with it. Dressing comfortable overrides everything. Is it hot outside? “I’m going to give my toes some much needed fresh air, by wearing sandals.” The number one brand of sandals in the Netherlands being particularly hideous, Birkenstocks.

Dutch fashion
Jeans and Birkenstocks, loved by the Dutch. She’s painted her toenails so is probably a foreigner

5. Fear of heights

With the Netherlands being so flat, this has led to lots of Dutch women being genetically terrified of heights. For that reason, they prefer to keep their feet as close to the ground as possible. At Schiphol, there’s even a shoe repair service that does booming business reducing the height of the heels of shoes bought by Dutch women while on holiday.

This is probably for the best. Dutch women are so unused to walking in high heels, that when they do, they remind me of videos I’ve seen of newly released plofkip (battery farmed chickens), struggling to take their first steps. You see them staggering from side to side painfully, and want to shout, “come on Froukje, keep trying, I know it hurts, but you can do it.” Zielig!”


6. Dutch fashion chic, looking like a corpse

A Dutch woman wearing lipstick is like a Dutch banker that doesn’t wear brown shoes, pretty bloody rare. The best selling lipstick in the Netherlands? It’s actually the same type that they put on actors playing corpses in the walking dead and the CSI series. The biggest fear of the average Dutch girl is that they might be seen to be wearing makeup that actually stands out. This being the case, they’d rather look like the undead, or as if a vampire has drained all their blood than be accused of committing the ultimate Dutch fashion faux pas and look as if they might actually be wearing makeup.

Dutch fashion
The photo that hangs on the wall of all Dutch beauty salons


7. Thou shalt definitely not wear Red jeans

Until I moved to the Netherlands, I didn’t even realize that it was possible to buy jeans in red. These are particularly loved by Dutch men. The challenge for expats is always whether to laugh, cry, or simply vomit.

The original red jeans apparently came into being when a batch of jeans was accidentally dyed red during the production process. The leadership of the organization, not wanting to simply throw them away, or insult refugees by handing them over to asylum seeker centers, did the next best thing. They asked themselves, “who would ever buy red jeans?” A smart executive responded, “sell them to the Dutch, as long as we offer a korting, (discount) they’ll wear anything.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Dating a Dutchman was a bit of a shock for the expat lady
Jeroen, those jeans are very…Red


No members of the undead were hurt during the writing of this post. Till next time, hou je kop!





About Simon Woolcot

Infamous blogger, annoyance and self confessed Shallow Man . Simon is a British expat who has lived in Amsterdam for over 11 years, and due to Brexit may soon be applying for asylum. As well as writing this blog, Simon also has a YouTube channel of the same name, writes and directs videos, and hosts seminars about life in the Netherlands

Check Also

Living in Amsterdam makes the author feel invisible

Living In Amsterdam Is Killing The Woman In Me

One of my favorite expat bloggers is Andra Stefan author of Amsterdamming. She recently wrote an …

dutch style leopard skin boots

The 2017 Dutch Style Guide

The 2017 Dutch Style guide The Shallow Man recently attended an event thrown by one of …

  • Heleen Oomen

    have you ever considered dutch women don’t like wearing heels because you men (especially the foreign ones) are too damn short?

    • Instead of foreign men being short, you mean that Dutch women are very tall. 😉 That’s an interesting theory..

  • IF

    As a Spanish woman living in The Netherlands, I can say that there’s so much bullshit in this list.
    1. Denim. I’m not a fan and I might own 6 pieces of denim in total, but I get that is a really easy to combine fabric and many people find it really comfortable. I don’t see the point.
    2. Skirts. I don’t get why would you feel so offended by a little piece of underwear showing while a woman rides her bike minding her own business.
    3. White leggings. I’ve seen girls wearing white leggings here and I really don’t like them but again, they don’t disturb me. Maybe they came from the gym, maybe they need to feel comfy or maybe they fucking like themselves wearing the damn leggings.
    4. Birkenstocks. I dislike them almost as much as Crocs. So? They don’t force you to wear them, right?
    5. Heels. I love heels, yes… But since I live in The Netherlands I had to ditch them for two main reasons: The old pavement in dutch cities and cycling safe. It’s a fact that they are not comfortable and not all woman will be willing to deal with that and they don’t really have to. Also, I rather see a woman walking confident and comfortable than right the opposite.
    6. Make-up. Yes, let’s crucify a woman and tell her she looks like a corpse if she just wears her regular mediocre face, it’s so sinful that she feels okay in her bare skin. I’m telling this as a woman who wears make-up on a daily basis and sometimes is really noticeable.
    7. Red jeans. I don’t see the damn problem and I barely saw them in 5 years living here.
    Life is not a freaking runway, get over it. And I know that this should be considered funny but this is worse than a pair of yellow Crocs.

    • Such passion! wow! I can tell you’re Spanish 😉 The list is not part of a PHD study of Dutch fashion. Calm down!

      • juliet3

        OMFG. I don’t know what’s funnier…your article or your responses. Signed, Annoying Fat American Woman

  • priscilla

    What is this a lot of hating bullshit. This is just who we are and there is no reason to judge us because we simply like comfortable and au naturel at daylight. I bet that there are even a lot of countries who envy us because we don’t give a sh*t about what others think thus don’t keep thinking about how it should or how others want to have it. Saves time and headaches.

    • Yes, I’m sure there a lot of countries whose citizens are so jealous of the Dutch, and say to themselves, “I’d love to leave the house in birkenstocks, old jeans and a mismatching top, just like they do in the Netherlands.”

  • belaroo

    This English woman living in NL is giving you no fucks. I have at least 4 pairs of birkenstocks and a wardrobe full of jeans that I never iron. I think that riding a bike with wet hair must be a Dutch super power as it gives me an ear infection.
    If you would rather women wore entirely feminine attire and heels, perhaps you might consider a time machine? I doubt many countries would provide what you are looking for.
    As for makeup, being able to wear makeup, unless you are on the stage, should be about it being invisible, that’s just good fashion sense. Your lips don’t need to be seen from a distance.
    Judging by the prevalence of cosmetics shops in NL that are clearly not going out of business, It can’t be the 11% allochtonen residents in NL that keep Douglas in business. I’d say you are talking out of your bottom.
    I invite you to spend a night out in Cambridge, UK and then see if your eyes recover from the amount of cellulite, women walking barefoot with their heels in the hands and cleavage on show. I think your eyes would be happier in a land where women go for a drink without ending up vomiting in the gutter by 10.30pm.
    Being able to ride home half cut, at 2am on my own is one of the best things about living in the Netherlands. This is in no small part down to the fact that women expect to give no fucks what people like you think.

    • How eloquently put. Thank you for taking time out of your day to share your thoughts with me. Lekker kort! Enjoy your weekend 🙂

      • belaroo

        I like taking photos of Dutch life on bikes and I took this yesterday afternoon in Utrecht. Two lekker wijfies, not wearing jeans, in a skirt of appropriate length. I couldn’t see what lipstick they were wearing but I’d say something suitably neutral, maybe organic cherry flavoured. Cycling in heels is much easier than walking in them.

    • Jessica

      I wouldn’t find the text so offensive. Holland has a lot of great things, but style is not one of them, that is for sure. Maybe comparing to England ,yes, you might be right. But if you compare Dutch women with the rest of Europe, for example Italy, Spain, Portugal, not to mention east of Europe or Balkan countries…The truth is that women in the rest of Europe simply take better care of themselves. Take for example hair style! There is no such thing in Holland! Come on, girls walk with wet hair! And yes, Dutch women don’t care what other people think, and as result of that, Dutch men are constantly complaining that the Dutch women are not feminine at all and they simple find foreign girls..

      • Binary Riot

        well,you would take much better take of yourself by wearing birkenstock and ride bike than with tons of make up and hip bullshit

  • Cléo Vermeer

    This is almost completely inaccurate. Red jeans, white leggings? When did you last see that shit, like three years ago? Also, take a look around. Everyone seems to be wearing lipstick these days. Birkenstocks, that’s no lie though. But I do kinda feel offended. Going to Utrecht en Amsterdam almost every day, I see plenty of stylish people who make up for the ones that are not.

  • Isabel

    I dress to be compfy ej.
    I see a lot of variation when it comes to types of clothing over here.
    I just happen to be one of those that just doesn’t give a shieett x3

    • If you’re a fan of the Wire you must have good taste 😉

      • Isabel :3

        indeed ;3

  • Sam XXX

    Your blog is absolutely hilarious.

  • Karolina Zielinska

    I love this text and love the way how Dutch ladies get mad to read this 😉 It’s so funny and so true.

  • With some points (especially the Birkenstocks and Fear of Heights) you are reading my thoughts. But in The Netherlands it is (almost) all comfort over looks, so what do you do.. ‘Feminine is never out of style’ and it doesn’t have to be with tons of make-up, dresses and 12cm heels, but a little bit of femininity would not hurt any woman. Anyway, if you want to take this more seriously you should start with a study to see where ‘feminism in NL’ went.. 😉 Fashion here is much more masculine than in many other countries and that is no coincidence. Nevertheless, anyone should wear whatever he or she likes, but you got some points here. Food for thought.



  • Maarten ‘s Gravemade

    SHallowman, I am upset regarding your tinder comment. Most Dutch girls or guys don’t use tinder and they certainly don’t expect sex so quickly as on the second date.

  • JFC, please fucking leave highschool and the bitchy, judgy tone in which this article is drenched, would ya?

    Seriously, who wears what is completely none of your business and while everyone engages in a bit “well, I would never”, you have reached some true bitch-level moments.

    And no, that shit is not funny, jokes that rely on “let’s judge women and dress them down for every single thing they do” are not really funny to anyone who is not insecure about how they look and feel the need to trash others, however they dress.

    P.S. Dude… I am sure you don’t dress so hot, how about some self-awareness?