I'm supposed to be guest posting to talk about the clothes in Germany, as well as a few other small things. First I want to make a few quick disclaimers: I don't normally do this kind of thing. The last time I wrote a blog post about anything was back in May, and that was about books. So fashion writing isn't exactly my forte. Also, this is coming from a months worth of observations in Hamburg, so this doesn't go for all of Germany, I'm just making observations about what I've seen.
I think that the order of this post is going to be:
1. Random observations.
2. The list I'm going to be making of what's going on with clothing here.
3. Here were supposed to be pictures of the few things I've gotten myself, but I'll just have to describe them instead, because I'm leaving tomorrow morning, and everything is packed right now.
If I end up leaving anything out, just comment below and either Jason or I will do our absolute best to answer. I guess I'll just jump into the Random Observations. First off, I want to talk make-up prices. I don't wear make-up often, or at all usually, so this isn't normally a big problem for me, but if there is something important going on, I want to put some on. I was told/ I thought that make-up in Europe was insanely expensive, so I brought my own for the few times I might have worn it. Since getting here, though, I have learned that that isn't the case. I ventured into the local Rossmann (like Shoppers Drugmart, except they don't fill prescriptions) to look for a nail polish colour that I liked from the Rangers meeting (The girls group I was with did nails and henna in the park. It was fun!), and was preparing myself to have a heart attack when I saw the price, as there was an article somewhere that said that nail polish was insanely expensive in Germany. First of all, they didn't have the colour, but secondly, all of that stuff is cheap here! I was so surprised! Mascara for between 2 and 3 euros, nail polish for a little more than that... Not the insane, 20 dollars a bottle I had been told to expect. I ended up getting a black nail pen (because I have trouble finding them in Canada, and I am sick of using toothpicks), which was €1,99. That works out to a little under 3 dollars, with a nail pen from Walmart coming to $5.47. I am going back today to see if I can grab my Mom a mascara. Note: I have found that this is true of German brands. Brands that you would typically find in Canada or the states (imported) cost much more. Food, in general, also seems to be much cheaper than it is at home in Canada, which my language teacher saw as a problem. I was puzzled, to say the least, and so I asked her: What was wrong with affordable food? She said that food was too cheap, and it made it so that people didn't care as much about just throwing some out. She thought that the meat especially was a problem, because if it is cheap, then the manufacturers aren't doing as good of a job in the sanitation of the plants or as conscientious of the animals treatment.
But I digress. So, next on the list, the list!
The List (In No Particular Order)
= Earrings. I've noticed a few small things on this point:
1. I don't think I've seen a single nose ring here.
2. German women/girls seem to stick with the more traditional single ear piercing, instead of multiple piercings going higher up the ear. Also, it is extremely uncommon for a German guy to have an earring at all.
3. As an addition to point #1, facial piercing in general just doesn't seem to be done here. I've only seen it a few times. The same goes for tattoos.
= Hair. In this department, Canada and Germany seem to be about on par. Short hair is in for guys (or really, it's a long enough to be styled sort of short), and girls have longer hair, done in most of the same styles you see in Canada, except for when you are considering hair dye. Hair dye seems to also be something that isn't really done here, at least not in vibrant colours. There is a medium sized natural colour hair dye section at the Rossmann, but the most vibrant thing that they have is a really bright red. This isn't something that most exchange student sites really ever say anything about (I should know, I looked through a lot of them to try and see whether or not I should let my bright blue dip-dye fade out before I came, and I couldn't find anything, so I decided to err on the side of caution and not re-dye it), so if you stumbled across this in an attempt to find out whether or not you should let your rainbow locks fade out before you leave, I am going to suggest that you do. First impressions are important, and you only get one shot at them. It would be awful to make a cultural error even before you open your mouth. Dyeing your hair a natural colour might be more prevalent, but I can't tell that just by looking.
= Nails. From what I have seen of this, girls here tend to keep their nails simple. Either no nail polish, or just one colour is what I've been seeing for the most part. I'm sure that some do up their nails with nail art, but it isn't common.
= Clothing. This one is going to be a tad more general, because it seems like almost anything goes here! I'm going to focus more on women's/girl's clothing here. Dresses and skirts are definitely in right now, a lot of people are wearing them. Some are even bicycling in skirts! In general, everyone looks very polished and put together here. Even 'slobby' clothes manage to look nice. When it comes to jeans, it seems that people are mostly wearing them skinny. I haven't seen anyone wearing leggings as pants (yay).
Random Things/Clothing That I Bought While I was Here:
Clothing-wise, I bought three things while I was here: a dress and two skirts. I will post pictures of them when I get back home and have unpacked. The dress is knee length, and it has a yellow skirt and a white lace type top. Unfortunately it has a cut-out in the back, so I have to wear a cover-up with it, but I still like it a lot. It was 19,99 euro, and I got it in a small shop in Bergedorf. I don't know it's name, but if you are ever going to Germany and you want to look around in a really cool little clothing shop, just ask me for directions! Both skirts came from a store called C&A (Say "Tsay und Ah"). The first one I got when we were having a really warm spell, and I hadn't brought enough shorts. It's knee length, and made of a sort of stretchy jersey material. It is blue, and has this interesting red chain-type design. It was 7,99 euros. The other skirt is a light denim that is ... swirly? Is swirly a descriptor? It is now, I guess. It is also knee length, and cost a bit more at 19 euros. Like I said, I will post photos later. Also, fun fact: In Germany they say that they are 'making' photos, instead of 'taking' photos.
When I did my trial pack on Sunday, I had a ton of leftover room, so yesterday I went out and bought various chocolate/candy/food to fill the space with (purportedly so that things don't bounce around and break, but really just because I wanted to bring myself home some German junk food.). Why not? I think that customs is going to think that I am nuts, because along with my touristy stuff and junk food, I am bringing home a bottle of curry ketchup. It doesn't really taste like ketchup, but it isn't really like curry either, but what I do know is that it tastes great, especially on schnitzel, which tastes sort of like those Jane's chicken fingers. I need to go back to packing and such, so I should be signing off.