Velp is my father’s hometown, and where he lives again today after 40 years of living abroad in Hong Kong, Japan and South Africa. Just a few miles away from Velp is Arnhem, a charming little city on the Eastern side of the Netherlands and very close to the German border. It is home to the well known Arnhem Fashion Design School, where famous Dutch pret a porter designers Viktor & Rolf graduated in 1992.
Amsterdam is hands down my favorite city in the Netherlands, but I also love Arnhem because it’s safer, smaller and more quaint. Typical of the Netherlands, the bicycle is a preferred mode of transport for people of all ages.
In true Dutch style, today’s adventure started off with coffee (tea for me) and a biscuit before taking the bus to downtown Arnhem. It’s all about spending quality time with my Papa when we visit Velp, but I did steal a wonderful hour to browse the shops and check out street fashion while the boys were reading and computing in a café.
On the street the number one look BY FAR is skinnies or leggings worn with flat or low heeled, mid-high or knee-high light grey, cream, tan and chestnut boots. Both slouchy and sleek. This was topped with a sweater, cropped leather jacket or trench coat and a statement scarf. Almost everyone is wearing a scarf – blokes too. Cross-body bags and flat shoulder totes were the order of the day.
If people aren’t in skinnies or leggings , it’s all about the skirt.
I saw quite a few people in white or off-white jeans with tan or chestnut boots. Some with denim shirts and tunic cardigans. Delicious! I’m definitely copying that look when I get home. And I just realised that tan boots (lighter than chestnut and darker than cream) are next on my boots shopping list. So fresh!
Lots of people were wearing trenches, in many different styles – from classic belted black and fun tomato red styles, to voluminous crinkle sateens in mushrooms and white. Not surprising given that they are perfect for the weather right now.
One surprise for me though: far fewer people in booties than I expected to see.
In the stores I saw a dominance of neutrally toned palettes, denim everything and one to two inch heels. In fact, the Netherlands is shoe heaven. I could have come home with 10 pairs of gorgeously fashionable and comfy shoes, but by summoning all my willpower I managed to limit myself to one pair. I opted for an eccentric looking black and purple studded kitten heel almond toed pump. They are going to be 8-hour city shoes for sure.
In addition to the neutrals, citron, coral and turquoise are strong colors. Styles that stand out are cropped pants, harem pants, camouflage, strong shoulders and tunic blouses.
So far I’m loving the fashion, but food is also shaping up to be a highlight of this trip. We had a fabulous Indonesian lunch (Indonesian food has virtually become the national food of the Netherlands), and finished off the day with tea and freshly made stroopwafels. Directly translated, “stroopwafel” means “syrup waffle”, and that’s exactly what they are: wafer thin waffles glued together with hot caramel syrup. A typical Dutch treat and one of my favourites.
Spring had sprung in Arnhem so although it wasn’t cold, it certainly wasn’t warm either. So out came one of my Springtime FFBO’s – skinnies, light coloured boots, military blazer and bright accessories. Greg and Papa couldn’t miss me with my bright new L.A.M.B. bag (in YLF colours, of course).