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Contrasting fashion trends from across the pond

Distinguishing between European and American fashion is not much of a challenge. Europe’s modernized and minimalistic approach to fashion is certainly different from that of America’s.


For anyone who’s paid a visit to the continent, the differences are clear. Beyond the clichés of European fashion – head-to-toe haute couture and the “je ne sais quoi” attitude – there are many components that set its clothing trends apart. 


“Polish women are unbelievably particular about their appearance, and not only do they spend a lot of time, but also a ton of money on the way they look,” Polish fashion expert


Dominika Opala said. “A girl with a dress and a tasteful jacket in the winter is the face of every Polish Vogue.”


Outside shopping plaza in downtown Wroclaw

Polish locals often shop for clothing with a quality-over-quantity mindset, meaning they aren’t frequently visiting bargain stores for new wardrobe additions.


“My approach to fashion has become more and more minimalistic,” Opala said. “I prefer to invest more money in purchasing high-quality products which clearly are going to last longer than trashy items.”



The infestation of fast-fashion retailers and lesser quality clothing is perhaps the most significant difference between Europe and America. The latter is far more trend-influenced, according to Opala.


“When I studied abroad [in Poland], the clothes I brought from home were far too casual,” Alexis Jas, who spent considerable time in Poland observing and adapting to the fashion trends, said. “I started wanting to dress more like a Polish girl.”


It is universal throughout Europe that the locals tend to be more mindful of their clothing, and they even care more about their appearance, according to Jas.


Jas soon realized that in order to make the swap from an Americanized wardrobe to a European one, a new mindset was just as important as new clothing items.


Group of locals, wearing common Polish outfits

“Girls in Poland generally seem to be specific, or even sometimes obsessive, about the way they look,” Opala said. “Aesthetically pleasing fashion taste is very important to them."


Around Europe, leggings and yoga pants are unacceptable in any situation except exercise, according to Opala. Sporting the tight-fitting pants in public is the American equivalent to wearing nothing but underwear.


“Polish locals wear t-shirts, but they dress them up to make them way more dressier and neutral,” Jas said. “People don’t wear as many popular brands as they do a certain style.”


Polish locals place strong emphasis on minor details and neutral garments to make an outfit up to code with European fashion. Rather than basing an outfit on trends, it is based on the quality and fit of each individual garment.


The countless generalizations about the contrasts of European and American fashion are, for the most part, products of stereotypes. But while America focuses largely on trends and quality, Europe stays with its steady and adaptable style.


By Sofia Jas

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