Style and Life Lessons from Berlin -

Style and Life Lessons from Berlin

Having just come back from a trip to Berlin, I am buzzing with ideas and creative inspiration. Berlin is currently one of my favourite places in Europe. It has a certain energy, certain vibe that makes creative expression seem easy and natural. Berlin definitely has style, a very distinct, expressive, yet practical style. It is all about ease without compromising on elegance and quality.

With its rich history, blossoming art scene, affordable property prices and creative energy, Berlin now attracts people from around the world. It has quickly become one of Europe’s main centres for creativity and entrepreneurship. Being keenly interested in both, I decided to spend almost a week in Berlin soaking all this energy up and seeking new insights on style, creativity and elegant living.

I did not know exactly what I was seeking. And, as it often is the case when we are open, I’ve received so much more than I expected.

Here are my style and life lessons and insights from Berlin. I hope you enjoy them!

1. Owning every part of yourself makes you magnetic.

Berlin is a striking place visually. It combines the old grandeur of pre-war times, the ugly and run-down Soviet style blocks and the new, modern clean glass and steel architecture. Usually all these elements are mixed in the same area, the same street, unlike in many other European cities. The graffiti-covered walls go hand-in-hand with elegant residential buildings, hip concept stores and cutting edge art galleries are around the corner from cheap discount shops. It all merges together into one unique character.

BerlinWhat impressed me about Berlin is that is is not ashamed of its past and it integrates every single part of its history and its diverse facades into its current face. I believe it is this unashamed self-acceptance that makes Berlin so interesting and attractive at the moment.

I began to wonder: what if I could own every part of me just as confidently. What if I embraced every part of my background? What if I stopped apologising for not being perfect? I wonder how much more energy I would have in life.

What about you? Is any of this speaking to you? What if you could own all of you, every bit of your past and express it all powerfully and confidently in who you are today? Imagine how much easier life could be…

2. Choose quality over quantity. 

Bespoke and ready-to-wear hat boutique

Bespoke and ready-to-wear hat boutique

Fast fashion is unavoidable these days, but Berlin impressed me with its ratio of smaller boutiques and brands selling elegant, well-cut pieces from quality fabrics. Berlin style is far from formal, so local brands focus on creating cozy quality items made from wool and other natural fabrics. Yes, you end up paying more than you would in a high street shop, but the quality, uniqueness and feel of such item are worth it.

Berliners appear to be great at fashion “recycling”. There is a lot of good quality vintage available. Some shops sell clothes from recent years, which do not yet qualify as vintage. But rather than being tightly packed on rails or thrown into baskets, these pieces are beautifully presented in boutiques. Just because the clothes are not from current fashion season, does not mean they can’t be displayed beautifully and the shopping experience can’t be high quality.

There are areas I can add more quality to in my life and my own wardrobe. I am currently on a mission to get rid of what is no longer in use or of poor quality.

How do you feel about this? What is the balance between quality and quantity in your wardrobe and life? Is there anything you can commit to today to bring more quality?

3. Style is not just about what you wear, it is your attitude, your behaviour, your values.

Berlin woman has a very distinct style, I learned from a book called “Berlin Street Style, A Guide to Urban Chic” I bought before my trip. Apparently, she does not wear labels of any kind, unless they are vintage, because showing off is considered bad taste. She prefers darks and neutrals with only one or two accent pieces. She loves comfortable footwear because she is often on the go. She is never too formal, polished or overdressed because Berlin is a creative city and perfection kills creative vibe. (Ok, that last explanation was from me, not from the book, but I believe it is the case).

Where does the style end and the attitude begin?

Berlin style - comfortable, confident, urban chic.

Berlin style – comfortable, confident, urban chic.

This made me think: how does my style influence my behaviour or how do my values impact my style? Are they all aligned? Today, they are. But it has not always been the case. For years, I was dressing to either impress or fit in.

Is your personal style aligned with your values, your character? Do you feel authentic with how you show up?

4. Contrast gives you a stylish edge. 

Finally, let’s look at what makes a Berlin woman stylish. From my observations, it is a contrast that gives Berlin style a certain edge. Examples of contrast in clothing include: wearing sports shoes with an elegant dress and a trench, pairing a smart blazer with a t-shirt, an-all black outfit finished with a red lipstick or bright coloured jewellery, combining a girly dress with a grungy leather jacket. Berlin women are expert at this. They never appear over-dressed or like they are trying too hard but neither do they look neglected or scruffy.

I have been practicing my own art of elegant yet casual dressing in Berlin as you can see in the photos and I am taking this style habit back with me to London.

There is something special about dressing this way. Not only does it make you feel and look stylish, but it also teaches you that contrasts give us an edge. And this takes us full circle to lesson one – own all of who you are and your contrasting combination in your outfit as well as you personality will make you magnetic.

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