June 2013 By Sarah A.
At this time last year, I was overseas with one of my best girlfriends backpacking all of Western Europe. We started in Spain and ended in Scotland- hitting thirteen countries within a six-month period. Each country was like its own world. The sights were profound, the food was that of delicacies, and the people were wonderful. Unfortunately, due to hostel hopping and tight budgets, our fashion, to say the least, didn’t have any local heads turning (yoga pants, loose t-shirts, top knots and flip flops that we attempted at rescuing with duct tape and pins). Regardless, our inner divas were always on the hunt for new international styles that we knew we had to bring back to Canada.
If we weren’t spending the day exploring the must-sees of the city, we would wander to the cutest café we could find (ironically, with the most expensive lattes) and take a seat on the patio to people watch. To put it more bluntly, I guess you could say we were on a quest to find our husbands- since every man (unless he was passed out on the steps of a subway station) had the most impeccable style. We both had our tastes- my jaw would drop at the free-spirited styles of the Parisian men and their grungy but put together styles, and Rachael’s heart would melt at the sight of the English men, and their simple yet spiffy fashion (not to mention their expensive taste). We would look at each other and say, “Why don’t all men dress like this?!”
Humorously, when we were in Sicily visiting some of my family members, a couple of my guy friends from home flew over to meet us, and the women in my family couldn’t get over how, “bravo” and “modelesque” they were. I guess they had a point, on account of the men in Italy didn’t catch my full attention- knock off tight Prada t-shirts, embroidered jeans, Gucci satchels and greased back hair. Although, this is not to say that they were all like this. Men from Milan knew how to rock a hot pressed suit, with freshly shined oxfords and bold wayfarers- a classic look that was flawless.
The men in the Czech Republic, specifically Prague, which became one of my all time favourite cities, fit that of the environment- dark and edgy. Mystery in their style is what made them eye-catching to the general public- beat up loafers, dark cuffed jeans, high collard black leather jackets paired with looped scarves, rustic leather shoulder bags, and hair that looked like they came right out of the barber shop- a laid back look that made you want to take them home.
If you’re into outdoorsy men, Switzerland is where you need to be. Their styles (and bodies) were kept in mint condition- collard t-shirts, khaki shorts and boater shoes for a casual day, and the most prestigious athletic clothing for long hikes in the mountains. The men in Germany had unique styles that had a punkish vibe to them- band tees, loose jeans and simple sneakers were what the majority wore- nothing fancy but it definitely exemplified their laid back look and genuine personalities.
Artsy and bohemian, the men from the Netherlands each had their own exclusive style. When in Amsterdam, we noted that the men were more at leisure when it came to fashion, ironically so. Their unkept look, considering the environment, worked in their favour in pulling off a spontaneous and thrown together, “blasé”, look. It’s hard to pinpoint which country’s men had the best style- but if I were to determine this, the men in Madrid, Spain, would definitely be near to the top. Their chic and intelligent look incorporated lots of layering and neutral colours, and although it was simple, you could tell it was premium quality.
Men’s style is huge, especially in European countries. What you wear is a symbol of where you’re from and who you are. Next time you’re traveling overseas, keep your eyes peeled for the locals’ fashion- it’s fascinating to see the style differences between countries.