Dressing to be comfortable
There are many things that the Netherlands is famous for. Water management, cheese, XTC, cycling, the red light district, and of course tolerantie. These are all well and good, (with the exception of the tolerance part which is a bit of a myth if you ask me) but there’s one thing that the Dutch, well actually Dutch women are the world leaders in, dressing to be comfortable. Which brings me to the subject of today’s post.
No matter where I go in the world, I can spot a Dutch woman immediately. Once I was standing in a queue to enter a chic nightclub in Paris. Everyone was dressed up for a night out, but in front of me were some ladies in denim and sneakers who were quite rightly refused entry. Even before I heard shouts of “dat is ongelooflijk” and “doe maar normaal” I knew that the ladies could only be Dutch.
No matter where in the world Dutch women go, they put a lot of effort into dressing to be so comfortable that local women look at them and say, “I wish I was brave enough to the leave the house looking like that.”
Fear not expat women, the Shallow Man will provide you with some absolutely essential tips on how to dress so comfortably that you’ll be able to curl up and fall asleep at any location. When people see you they’ll say, “is that a pile of rags? Oh no it’s just a lady dressed to be comfortable, she must be Dutch.”
So here’s some expert advice on how to dress to be comfortable, just like Dutch women.
The things I do for my readers!
Dear reader, now you might be thinking ‘attitude? you can’t wear attitude.’ Well just like a Dutch person justifying not stopping at a zebra crossing while cycling, let me tell you that you’re wrong. Dressing to be comfortable is all about attitude. It’s the willingness to leave the house looking as if you’ve slept in your clothes, and not giving a damn! You need to adopt the perfectly timed shrug of the shoulders, the contemptuous sneer when you see other women actually making an effort not to look like shipwrecked refugees that just got off a boat with their last pair of ripped jeans and well worn sneakers.
Practice your excuses
Be prepared for people that might ask why you dress with the elegance of a sack of potatoes. Practice the following excuses:
- We dress like this because we cycle a lot (even if you’re on holiday in Paris or New York)
- Everyone dresses like this in Amsterdam, (doe maar gewoon, individuality is not allowed)
- Dressing up is a waste of time, it’s so superficial, we like to keep it real (we look down on Americans but love using their phrases)
Look in the mirror, and once you can repeat the excuses above until you can say them with a straight face, and without any trace of embarrassment, you’ll be ready to move on to actually dressing to be comfortable.
Comfort is King
Whatever your background, dressing to be comfortable requires you to renounce all other gods and worship only the Lord of comfort. Nothing else matters. From this moment onwards no matter which occasion you’ll be attending, you should only think about how comfortable you’ll be when choosing an outfit.
Your feet are a temple, and should be worshipped with the kind of passion usually reserved by Dutch women for shouting, smoking, and telling people how emancipated they are. In the religion of dressing to be comfortable, there’s a heaven and a hell.
Wear shoes flatter than the surface of a table tennis bat. Choose footwear that on sunny days allows toes to roam freely in the wind, displaying ones unmanicured feet. Don’t whatever you do apply nail varnish. You may as well stick a sign on your back saying “ik ben een buitenlander.”
Sneakers, preferably white, are mandatory! They should keep your feet as snug as a group of illegal immigrants packed together in the back of a lorry going through the channel tunnel.
Marilyn Monroe sang, diamonds are a girls best friend. But hey, that was a long time ago. In the Netherlands, Birkenstocks, or any other kind of sandals now take the role of diamonds. They are so comfortable, women practically have orgasms when they put them on. They are irresistible, and should be worn as much as possible on the ten to twelve days a year that the sun shines in the Netherlands.
Avoid wearing heels at all costs. The Dutch meisjes (girls) refer to high heels (high being anything that elevates the wearer more than two centimeters off the ground) as porno heels. Heels are only acceptable if you dress as if you’re the sheriff of a town in the wild west. Yes, in spite of constant denials, cowboy boots are still worn in the Netherlands, without any shame or embarrassment at all.
Denim the true religion of the Netherlands
Jeans are a kind of national obsession here. They’re so practical, you can wear them anywhere, and the best thing is that you’ll look just like everyone else. You can go straight from working in the garden, to a one night stand, then onto work the next day in your trusty, well worn jeans. Skirts and dresses are really not very practical or comfortable. There’s currently only one exception to this rule.
The Tyranny of the striped dress
Usually, if you’re an expat lady who wears heels and god forbid a dress and makeup, you might get asked question such as. “I don’t understand why you bother, you’re in a relationship already, why do you need to dress up?” However, the exception to this is if you wear an item that is more prominent in Amsterdam than morons cycling while sexting. The striped dress.
Another way of being ‘lekker comfortable’ is to squeeze into a pair of leggings so tight that you have to leave the house with a portable oxygen tank, and use vaseline and the help of several close friends to take them off again. As Amsterdam is below water level, it’s important that the leggings are three quarter length. You never know when there might be a flood.
Dressing to be comfortable final tips
So remember, that when it comes to dressing to be comfortable, you must do the following:
- Love your feet by only wearing sneakers, sandals or slippers
- If an employer has a problem with this tell them “you’re in Holland not Saudi Arabia!!”
- Leggings are fine, but they should always be white and tight enough to cause a phantom pregnancy
- Dresses are for ‘makeup girls’ unless they’re striped, then that’s fine
- Always have an excuse handy to lecture any silly foreigner that dares to question why you’d enter a michelin star restaurant wearing white Nikes, three quarter length leggings and a mismatching top. Shout the excuses at them as if you’re selling fish at the Albert Cuyp Market
So remember, the universe revolves around you, and regardless of the occasion, doe maar gewoon en doe je gek genoeg!
No ladies in striped dresses were hurt during the writing of this post
Till next time, remember that black people once kept slaves too, so there you go