I'm currently on my lunch break at work. But, as I decided to make my own sandwich to bring with me (50 cents for a small baguette to make it on seems far more economical than 3,50 for basically the same sandwich had I bought it today). This means that I have some extra time in the office before I go back to work, and I thought I would take the opportunity to post part two of the Cultural Differences Saga. As you may have realized from the links on this page, I've always taken a casual interest in fashion. Walking around, I'm constantly glancing at others outfits, storing up inspiration for the day I have enough money to purchase my dream wardrobe, and musing (perhaps a bit too harshly sometimes) over how people make the fashion choices they make. This is an especially fun game to play on the bus. European fashion trends tend to be a bit ahead of American ones, and since Luxembourg is quite wealthy, many people put their white-collar earnings toward their appearance (this sounds like an assumption but it is actually based on mutiple conversations and observations of the vast amount of shopping being done). It is a trendy and well-dressed city, especially in the business districts. Some statements I have seen here have been particularly interesting. To enumerate...
1. Skinny Trousers. I don't know what these are actually called, or if they are even a uniquely labeled item, but this is my name for the skinny jeans + dress pants lovechild I saw everywhere during my first few weeks. Pants one wears to work with a suitjacket, but with the cut of a skinny jean. Both men and women wear them, and when done right, they can look quite chic. When done wrong, one ends up with saggy crotch syndrome and skankles (a word created by my friend who hated her skinny ankles in high school) peeking out of the bottom of your now-awkward silhouette.
2. MC Hammer Pants: Floral Edition. Let me preface this by saying that fashion trends are constantly being recycled in what seems like twenty year cycles. In the early 2000s, trends from the 80s started to creep back into consciousness and, whats worse, acceptability. Now its the 90s turn. Apart from the eternally-awesome sundress + patterned tights + converse look I rocked as a six year old, Fashion in the 1990s was sort of a disaster. And here it is again. Floral babydoll dresses and denim everywhere. The other day on a college fashion blog, there was an entire post devoted to mesh workout tanktops as shirts. This blogger, who I'm sure is a lovely human being, then posed the question "would you wear this" without a trace of irony. Oh, dear. Anyway, the biggest 90s-esque trend I've seen going on here are those loose and baggy cotton pants with the addition of any pattern one could possibly envision. I've seen these imprinted with everything from Laura Ashley bed sham to leopard/zebra print safari extravaganza. And its not just crazy people - its everyone. They are ubiquitous both in the stores and on the streets. Regarding this, there are only two things I'm sure of: 1. They are super comfy and 2. Someday, those pictures will cause much regret and laughter.
3. Man Purses.Guys in America, stop being so self-conscious about your masculinity. Gender stereotypes say you aren't supposed to carry any sort of bag, but your European counterparts know full well the benefits of an over the shoulder (preferably burberry-patterned) bag just large enough to hold your phone, wallet and whatever other knicknacks will come in handy throughout a pleasant shopping trip with the bros. Man up, be practical, and stop stuffing your pockets. You know you want to.
4. Pointy-toed dress shoes for men. I don't think I need to elaborate on this one. It is what it is.
5. Scarves. I guess this has been true in the States lately as well, but they are everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. I need approximately a thousand more.