My family and I spent the second half of August in Europe; time split more or less evenly between Paris, southern Germany (Freiburg im Breisgau and Munich), and Prague. I live in the northeastern US, so my main style reference points are Boston/Montreal/NYC, along with the smaller crunchy New England towns like Burlington and Portland. The last time I was in Paris was exactly a decade ago, and the overall vibe felt more relaxed and down-to-earth to me this time, less stuffy than I remember. It could also be that my own style has changed! In 2009 I was there as a peregrina, setting out on the Camino de Santiago. Germany and Czechia were both new to me so I didn’t have set expectations. No street style photography for me (I barely manage to take sufficient photos of my 5yo cutie), but I did jot down a lot of observations every day. I make some big generalizations here; of course they're not representative of everyone, just tendencies that stood out to me -- and it may have as much to do with the sort of tourists each place attracts as it does with locals.
Paris -- I’d forgotten how heavy on the perfume Europeans are, especially Parisians! Perfume is omnipresent in Paris, along with a lot of real cigarette smoke (not much vaping). Style skews classic and heavy on black and other neutrals, the main nod to trends being *lots* of earth tones (chiefly mustard and rust). Lots of closed-toe flats and ankle boots (lace-up and chelsea); a fair number of “classic” sneakers -- including more Veja sneakers than I’ve seen anywhere else -- but sneakers that look like real gear don’t have much of a presence (nor do dad sneakers it seems). Not many sandals but some espadrilles. Almost no heels, and the heels I did see were quite low. Tons of jeans in every silhouette and wash imaginable, and fewer skirts/dresses than I expected, despite the weather being warm (70s and 80s). And pretty much no shorts, although I did see a surprising number of young women and teen girls in skimpy bandeau-style tube tops. Wide-leg and bootcut jeans were both prominent and caught my eye. Lots of messy-chic hair (eg loose chignons) and mostly natural-looking colours. Same with make-up: very natural, subtle colours. Favorite outfit: simple black jersey slash-neck top worn off one shoulder, slightly cropped vintage Levi bootcuts (longer than most of us would wear kick-flares, yet somehow still intentional), simple black Nikes, short brunette pixie cut.
Germany -- Holy crap, everyone’s tall! (I feel the same visiting family in the Netherlands; my genetics somehow skew more Mediterranean -- I seem more “normal” sized in France and Spain.) More men’s cologne than in Paris, less perfume. Very little smoking of tobacco or e-cigs. Lots of sporty shoes and comfort shoes, and socks-with-sandals is a surprisingly common look (sometimes fashion-y, often not). Not as many Birkenstocks as in the US; much wider variety of sport/comfort sandal brands and styles. Birks are completely ubiquitous in New England right now, and it’s interesting to see that they’re not A Big Deal in their country of origin. I saw a lot of women in oxfords, more than at home. Lots of practical/sporty bags and toppers -- not much difference between men’s and women’s bags and outerwear. Surprisingly androgynous in a lot of cases -- backpacks and messengers for everyone. Lots of asymmetrical short haircuts on women and girls (these cuts are also really popular right now with girls at the schools where I teach; possibly due to a women’s soccer/Megan Rapinoe influence?). On the whole a bit more colorful than Paris, but not over-the-top. Favorite outfit: rust/ivory breton top, slim navy chinos cuffed, navy canvas messenger with a verrrry long strap, monochrome black canvas sneakers; extremely short/androgynous platinum pixie.
Prague -- Heels! Still quite a few women working (and commuting) in 2 - 3” heels. I noticed a lot of dyed-red hair, ranging from chestnut shades all the way through burgundy. Brighter lip colours and heavier eye make-up than France or Germany. Lots of dad sneakers and sporty sandals, often accompanied by other overtly trendy pieces (fanny packs, bike shorts, neon, florals both big and ditsy). Quite a bit of heavily distressed denim, especially mom jeans with big holes. Also lots of bodycon cuts, think sheath dresses and pencil skirts. Lots more e-cigs here than in France and Germany. Also more visible tattoos and non-ear piercings. Tons of band t-shirts, especially metal bands, and lots of Metallica memorabilia (we first noticed this in Germany but it was even more pronounced in Czechia, and one of DH’s Czech coworkers confirmed that they were indeed touring Europe in August). The food scene is strikingly international, and the melting-pot/crossroads vibe seems to hold true for fashion as well. Favorite outfit: oversized drapey olive shirt, black twill joggers, black-and-silver Nike Airs, and dark curly hair worn in a single french braid.
I'd love to hear from local folks if any of this is even a little bit on-point, or if I'm just seeing what I want to see.