11 Fashion Lessons You Learn When Living In Berlin

Photo of Fee Gross
18 December 2016

If there is a fashion city in Germany, it is undoubtedly Berlin. Even though fashion week is more about partying, the city still has a collective interest in fashion. Yet, the city has its own style rules. So you don’t lose your trying-to-act-and-look-like-a-local cover when in Berlin, here are 11 rules to follow when you visit.

Style | © Mario Mancuso/Flickr

1 – Not everyone wearing all black is going to a funeral

Black is one of the colors you will see most when in Berlin. Berliners are not big fans of bright and shiny colors, whatever season it is. If you want to look like a local, leave your red skirt and yellow shirt at home.

Men in heels… | 
© Micadew/Flickr

2 – Wearing heels will get you turned away at clubs

You might be used to the golden rule of clubs in cities like London and New York City, where girls will not get in if they don’t wear heels. In Berlin, it is the opposite. Unless you are heading to Mitte or a fancy club in West Berlin, leave your heels at home. Especially in East Berlin, you will be the only one wearing heels and people will immediately know you are a tourist.

3 – People who look like they’re wearing pajamas did not forget to change, that’s a look

The ‘undone’ look is one of the most popular in Berlin. People will look like the came straight out of bed, even though they spent an hour in front of their wardrobe (and mirror).

4 – Greasy-looking hair is considered stylish in Berlin

This goes with the previous rule. The more undone you look, the cooler you are. Don’t worry about greasy hair, it’s cool. Curling your hair with an iron is a no-go. Go all natural and you’ll be cool.

5 – Someone who looks like a homeless person might also be the CEO of a promising new startup

Combining rules 3 and 4 will lead us to an important new rule: do not judge people by how they look. You might see someone on the street wearing a hoodie and jogging pants and think it’s a homeless person, but that person might very well be the founder of a million-dollar company.

Ave Maria | © Thomas8047/Flickr

6 – Backpacks are not only for school kids

It might have been a long time since you wore a backpack (probably in primary school), but Berlin is a backpack city. It is not unusual for Berliners to leave their house in the morning and only come back home the next day, working all day and partying all night. That’s why Berliners like their backpacks, as they are big enough to carry everything they need with them.

7 – Fanny packs are the hippest new trend

Yes, fanny packs are back – at least in Berlin. Girls don’t wear fancy handbags in Berlin, and fanny packs are the answer to that. However, they don’t have to be worn around the hip, extending the strip and wearing it as a cross body bag is very Berlinish and cool.

8 – White socks are not exclusively for tennis players

What used to be associated with German tourists in Mallorca is a fashion trend that has taken over Berlin: white tennis socks. Especially often seen in combination with (white) sneakers.

Slush Puppie | © Jeroen Werkman/Flickr

9 – Sneakers are not only running shoes but also totally accepted in everyday life

As said before (rule number 2), heels are not a shoe style often seen in Berlin. What characterizes the streets of Berlin are sneakers. The fancier, the better. If you are a sneaker-lover anyway, you will find great sneaker stores around town, offering the most special sneakers.

Louis Vuitton | 
© Thomas8047/Flickr

10 – Showing off brands is not cool

Berlin is a fashion city, but it does not show off brands. Berliners do not like to show off, but instead like to invest in pieces where a brand is not visible from the outside. Leave your LV Monogram bag at home, don’t wear a pullover that has a print with the brand name all over your chest, and try to avoid even that small logo with a Polo player. Not cool.

11 – Berlin is not a ‘boob-city.’ Leave your bra at home

Girls, you can totally forget your bras at home when going to Berlin. Berlin is not at all a boob city, and many Berliner girls don’t wear bras at all. Push up bras are very 90s, and if you don’t feel comfortable without a bra, at least try to not put on the wonder bra when you’re visiting.

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