A Guide to Dressing Like The Dutch
Many countries around the world are famous for their stylish women. French women are idolized for their nonchalant elegance, South Koreans for their mastery of street style, and Italians for their sophistication.
But if you have not been lucky enough to watch the messy-haired girls in ankle-grazing trench coats ride their bikes from a sidewalk cafe in Amsterdam, Den Haag, or Utrecht, you are missing out on some of the best style inspiration in the world.
In this article, you will find the best tips on mastering the art of ‘doe maar normaal’ without looking boring, courtesy of the most stylish Dutch nationals out there.
What is the Dutch Style Philosophy?
‘Doe Marr Normaal’ = ‘Just act natural’
The concept of being ‘normal’ is ingrained in Dutch culture. Community is considered the glue that holds the country together, building a society that works for everyone. This phrase is also often associated with Dutch style, and in this case, could be likened to the French mantra, ‘au naturel.’
However, many people confuse this obsession with being natural as being synonymous with not going over the top and suggesting that everybody should be and dress the same. That is not the case at all. What they really mean by being ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ is doing what feels most comfortable to you. In the Netherlands, there is no right or wrong way to dress, it just happens to be the case that the majority of women favor the natural look in a more literal sense.
Comfort over style
Women are often asked to choose between two options—looking good or feeling comfortable. Few of us can pull off the in-between as effortlessly as the Dutch do, as women in the Netherlands have learned how to have their cake and eat it too. This is mainly because biking and walking are the easiest and most common ways of getting about in Dutch cities. Even in the capital city, the ground is uneven (Amsterdam is built on top of what is essentially marshland), making it impossible to hobble about in heels all day.
Dutch women have learned how to balance style and comfort it is close to an art form, and they are famous for their love for practicality. For example, Dutch women typically opt for a stylish trench coat to deal with the almost permanent rainfall. Instead of an awkward pencil skirt which makes getting off their bikes an awkward affair, they wear chic cigarette trousers.
So, now you understand the philosophy and cultural context for the practical and stylish Duch aesthetic.
If you’re looking to dress like a Dutch person, there are a few key things to keep in mind. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the essentials for mastering Dutch fashion.
A Guide to Dressing Like The Dutch
The Dutch tend to favor neutral colors like beige, black, white, gray, and navy blue. These colors are versatile and easy to mix and match. Plus, they are timeless and never go out of style. You can’t go wrong with a classic black coat or a white button-down shirt. Or, try a full monochrome look for ultimate Dutch coolness.
Invest in quality basics
Dutch fashion is all about quality basics. Instead of buying a lot of cheap clothes that won’t last, invest in high-quality pieces that you can wear again and again. Think classic trench coats, wool sweaters, and tailored trousers. These pieces will never go out of style and will last you for years.
Look around the streets of Amsterdam, and within seconds you’ll spot women in a blazer and impeccably-fitted trousers. Fun fact: the woman who popularized tailored trousers in the 1950s, Audrey Hepburn, was half-Dutch.
Layering is key
The Netherlands is an extremely rainy country, but that doesn’t stop women from dressing their best. Dutch women utilize coats for both function and fashion. Whether it’s a stylish trench (as is favored by women in Amsterdam) or a classic biker jacket, layering allows you to adjust your outfit throughout the day to stay comfortable.
Items like thin sweaters, cardigans, and scarves are Dutch wardrobe staples that can easily be added or removed as needed.
As Dutch women tend to prefer bare faces, effortless hair, and understated clothes, gold jewelry is often used to elevate their looks.
The Dutch tend to favor simple and elegant jewelry, and gold is a popular choice. A delicate gold necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings can add sophistication to any outfit. Plus, gold jewelry is versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
So, if you want to add some Dutch flair to your outfit, consider accessorizing with beautiful gold jewelry.
A love for orange
The one color the Dutch love more than a neutral shade is orange. Orange is the national color of the Netherlands, and you’ll see it everywhere during Dutch holidays like King’s Day. The national Dutch football anthem famously states ‘wij houden van oranje,’ which means ‘we love orange.’
Adding a touch of orange to your outfit, whether it’s a scarf or a bag, is a fun way to pay homage to Dutch culture. Plus, it can add a fun and unexpected pop of color to your outfit. This may not be an everyday choice, but even the Queen of the Netherlands enjoys a hint of orange now and again.
5 Dutch Style Icons to Follow
From supermodels to editors, these five Dutch style icons are the perfect source of inspiration for anyone looking to master Dutch fashion.
- Doutzen Kroes: As a former Victoria’s Secret Angel and Dutch supermodel, Doutzen Kroes is known for her effortlessly chic style. She often opts for timeless pieces like tailored blazers, trench coats, and classic denim, which make her a great source of inspiration for mastering Dutch fashion.
- Negin Miraselhi: With over 6 million followers on Instagram, Negin Mirsalehi is one of the most influential Dutch fashion bloggers in the world. Her style is all about mixing high-end designer pieces with affordable brands, creating a chic and accessible look. She’s known for her love of neutral colors and is a great follow for those who want to achieve effortless looks without breaking the bank.
- Cécile Narinx: As a Dutch journalist and former editor-in-chief of Elle Netherlands, Cécile Narinx is a true expert on Dutch fashion. Her personal style is classic and timeless, and she often mixes high-end designer pieces with more affordable brands. Following her style is perfect for those who want to master the art of Dutch fashion on a budget.
- Romee Strijd: As another former Victoria’s Secret Angel, Romee Strijd is known for her effortless and laid-back style. She often opts for comfortable and casual pieces like oversized sweaters and denim jackets, which make her a great source of inspiration for achieving a comfortable yet stylish look. Plus, her love for sneakers and flats makes her a perfect role model for those who prioritize comfort in their daily outfits.
- Queen Maxima: As the queen of the Netherlands, Maxima is a true fashion icon in her own right. She’s known for her impeccable style, often incorporating bold and colorful pieces into her outfits. Maxima’s love for statement hats and jewelry also makes her a great source of inspiration for those looking to add a touch of glamour to their outfits. Whether she’s attending a royal event or running errands around town, Maxima always looks effortlessly chic and put-together.
In conclusion, Dutch fashion is all about practicality, quality, and simplicity. Focus on investing in high-quality basics, layering up, and adding a pop of color to your outfits. By following these tips, you’ll be able to master Dutch fashion and look stylish and practical at the same time.