Q&A: What to Wear in Germany

April 21st, 2009

Q: I am going to Germany at the end of May and would like to know what I should wear. I’m sure I’ll do a lot of walking. I want to keep my personal style, but want to be comfortable without looking like a tourist.

stillinberlin_042009
Pictured: Berlin Street Fashion, courtesy of Still in Berlin.

by Colleen Geary, fashion stylist and image consultant

A: The weather may still be cool (and perhaps rainy) in Germany at the end of May, so be prepared for daytime temperatures from the 50s up into the 70s.  Layering will be your friend; you’ll be able to take off layers as each day warms up to regulate your temperature throughout the day.

Outerwear: Bring a tailored trench and a nice lightweight jacket to keep you warm (and dry).

Tops: An assortment of long and short sleeve knit tops will travel well.  Choose styles that have a "twist" to them - German style appreciates the small details that make an outfit special.  Also pack a couple of layering sweaters in different styles and weights.

Bottoms: Pack trouser pants, jeans and walking shorts that are at least knee-length.  Note that jeans in Germany can be very expensive - I’ve seen Levi’s priced at over $100.  To be safe, bring your own from home.  You may also want to bring a skirt to round out your bottoms wardrobe.

Dresses:  Pack a dress or two; you’ll need to dress up for any evenings of fine dining. 

Accessories: Since it may rain, don’t forget an umbrella or rain slicker - and bring extra pairs of comfy walking shoes (preferably rainproof ones).  A pair of sunglasses and a chic scarf will round out your accessories wardrobe.

Last thoughts? So as to fit in, you may want to pack more neutrals.  In my experience, German style features more earth tones and black than does American style.  But then again, you do see bright colors as well - so it’s not a hard and fast rule.

Have a great tip about what to wear in Germany? Share it with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: Q&A, Women, Women's

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nuria  |  April 21st, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Great post. As for the style in Berlin, I think it may probably be much more extravagant and ecclectic than in any other place in Germany. I´ve heard in the last years it´s regarded as the city of alternative cultures, everthing indie in general, colourful and most open in many ways.

  • 2. Heather  |  April 21st, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Your ideas are way better - I was going to say irridescent lipstick, blue eyeshadow and pants that are too short.

  • 3. Melinda  |  April 21st, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    In my experience (about 6 months in Germany) German women have beautiful, expensive boots, lots of neutrals, and skirts around the knee. Their boots aren’t wellies, but rather classic leather boots with great hardware. Leather jackets are pretty popular, too.

    Berlin specifically is insane and wonderful! You see a lot of converse on younger people, too.

    All clothing is there is really expensive. Imagine the prices 10% or more higher, and then in Euros.

  • 4. Trisha  |  April 21st, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks, Heather and Nuria! Colleen did a great job with pulling together this information :)

  • 5. Trisha  |  April 21st, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Great tips, Melinda! Thanks for sharing this info about the boots - and the prices.

  • 6. cauchemar  |  April 22nd, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Jeans being expensive is kind of a myth from the 90s, by now there are definitely stores that will sell it cheaper - H&M for example sells good quality jeans for $30.
    H&M is actually my favorite store here, I think they only have a few in the Northeast of the U.S. but they are all over the place over here - every little city will have at least one or five… and it’s great for basic pieces but also some younger, out-there pieces. Obviously the quality isn’t the greatest but I <3 H&M! :)

  • 7. some guy in berlin  |  April 27th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    First and foremost, I’ve been living in Berlin since quite some time. We’ve been sitting at 70-80F for the past couple of weeks, and it’s quickly getting warmer. Make sure you can dress lightly enough. On the clothing: While your suggestions generally are good, they seem more suited to a city like London. Berlin is genuinely very different from any of the other major cities in Europe in it’s style. Generally, people tend to prefer to under-dress here rather than over-dress.

    What that means is: Chucks (Converse All-Stars, whatever you call them), Jeans, maybe a semi fashionable blouse for women. Accessorize appropriately. For men, it’s much of the same, though generally with a tshirt or a simple sweater.

    Berlin locals generally don’t like the whole flashy outfit thing going on unless they belong to the absolute upper class. Generally, showing off labels screams “Russian Mob” here. You’ll surely come across a few very well dressed people, however generally that’s limited to the main shopping districts (KuDamm / Unter den Linden / Friedrichstrasse & respective surroundings.) Also, generally it’s the store clerks that are the best dressed. Keep in mind a lot of the good clubs here won’t actually let overdressed people in (Berghain comes to mind; for gents, a button-down shirt or oxfords/wingtips is an absolute no-no here. Sneakers and t-shirt, please!) The whole indie look works well in Berlin, too - skinny jeans, simple t-shirt, leather jacket, maybe a fedora, for guys. Modify as applicable for the women’s look variant ;)

    Lastly, about the jeans thing Trisha & cauchemar posted: yes, a pair of Levis will run you around 100 Euros here, going into the more upscale labels the prices skyrocket. 7/for all mankind jeans cost you around 260 Euros a pair here, I believe I’ve seen some of those for around $150 in the US. The markup on certain products here is certainly impressive. That being said, there are cheap alternatives such as the aforementioned H&M, Zara, C&A etc.

  • 8. some girl in Munich  |  April 29th, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Be also careful to pack shorts and short-sleeved blouses and t-shirts as we tend to have pockets of heat at the end of may. Also bring suncreen for face and shoulders.
    As to the tips above: Underdressing and earthen colours is in my opinion a good sumary for the age above 25 (leather boots are for winter, now we tend to ankle boots). Under the age 25 there is a lot of bright colours, very short punky dresses and skirts and skin tight jeans in every imaginable colour

  • 9. praveen  |  May 3rd, 2009 at 4:59 am

    i am visting muenster(germany) in mid of may. i am coming from india. What dresses should i carry with me??
    would pullovers be required or not??

    i am 16 yrs old girl!!!!!

  • 10. Kim  |  May 3rd, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Thank you all for the wonderful tips!! I can’t wait to go to Germany! I’ll be in Stuttgart for most of my visit, and possible Munich or Dusseldorf. Thank you!!

  • 11. Asphodel  |  June 8th, 2009 at 12:24 am

    You have no idea what a godsent this post is. I’m visiting Frankfurt with my boyfriend on the 11th of June and I freaked out after uprooting my entire wardrobe with the gut wrenching feeling that I ahd naught to wear. Over reacted, true! But muchos gracias for those tips, really helpful.

  • 12. Trisha  |  June 8th, 2009 at 12:32 am

    So glad that we could help, Asphodel. Big round of applause to Colleen and the Omiru community for all of the wonderful and practical tips!

  • 13. Stormtrooper  |  August 1st, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I tend to favor a nice brown shirt with black red and white accents, a pair of black wool riding breeches and black riding boots.

  • 14. Cathy S  |  September 14th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    We are visiting Ramstein at the end of April 2010. Just wondering what the weather will be like. We are from the North East USA. Aoril here can be warm, cold, sunny and rainy all in one day. We wera alot of Tee shirts and jeans, maybe a hooded sweatshirt or a denim or leather jacket. Is this appropriate attire?

  • 15. Cathy S  |  September 14th, 2009 at 9:43 am

    also are white sneakers ok to wear?

  • 16. jofranz  |  December 4th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I am planning to go to Essen, Germany in February of 2010. I am from the Philippines, a tropical country where we have a generally hot weather and occasionally rainy. I don’t have any idea of what to wear in Essen when I come in February. What should I bring when I travel on those months?

  • 17. jofranz  |  December 4th, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I am 31 years old male, by the way

  • 18. Cristina  |  August 26th, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I am going to Germany, Austria and Switzerland September 17, what kind of cloth should I take?

  • 19. Mahendra  |  March 2nd, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Hi…i am going to Germany At the end of may,i was wondering what is the lanuage Barriers like.

  • 20. Shoyu  |  March 27th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Thank you for the great info! I just have to get some boots (rare in Hawaii) and I am all set!

  • 21. vane Beck  |  April 16th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I’m traveling to Germany in april and I’ve seen that temperatures go anywhere from 24 C to 6 C…. I was packing some high brown suede boots to wear with jeans and knee length skirts, is that too much for Munich and Berlin?? HELLLPPP!!!

  • 22. hoovergirl  |  September 2nd, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I am 45yr old female visiting Berlin in September with my husband on a business trip. We are staying at the Westin in Berlin. We plan to do a little shopping, sight seeing and expeirence some German culture. Here are some of the places we plan to see: Potsdam, The Blilnd Restuarant, a couple of museums, cabaret shows, and Boxhagener Platz vintage market, bike tour of Berlin…. Any suggestions on MUST SEE things and WHAT TO WEAR? help : )

  • 23. odition  |  March 6th, 2012 at 10:25 am

    i am odion by name,a male from nigeria, i will be travelling to gernany sometime in april and i intend to spend some time in frankfurt city, germany, for holidays. and my thgought now is the kind of cloths to put on when i am travelling….

  • 24. Bethany  |  March 10th, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Thank You Everyone for all the awesome advice and suggestions…I leave for Germany on Monday to visit my boyfriend in Hannover. We are also going to Berlin, Bonn, Cologne…..Needless to say I have been stressed to the max contemplating outfit choices varying from meeting the grandparents, parents, anuts and uncles at a nice dinner to great club wear to going to the zoo…..Ahhh : / But now I am feeling super stoked and much more confident about my outfit picks!! Thank you sooooo much!

  • 25. Meg  |  February 4th, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I’m going on a study tour in Germany and will be spending most of it in Berlin this April. How cold does it get in April or how is the weather generally? I’ve never been to Europe and I live in a tropical country so I’m not used to the cold. Also how do students dress generally? :)

  • 26. janet  |  May 3rd, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I am travelling to stuttgart germany in late september for graduate studies. I come from Africa which is mostly hot and rainy.please advise me on what I should bring along for wearing for the first 3 months. Thanks

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