The Casual American Vs The Formal European

Photo from Pinterest.com

The ultimate battle across the pond.

The convoluted fashion sense from each country directly influences one another, but European and American fashion act as the antithesis of each other. Forever in a dance of who wears what better, even when the two styles become closely intertwined.

On the runway, American models wear European designs. In the streets, Europeans proudly wear American brands.

So, what exactly is the difference?

The European Way

Some may say European fashion style is archaic, stemming from the notion of wanting to present in front of other people as high class. That still stands true enough today, as casual fashion in Europe looks very different than in the states. A casual look will likely be cohesive and may feel comfortable, but not too comfortable.

Matilda Djerf built a brand based on casual comfortability that still looks like you took five hours to get ready. There is a degree of being high-maintenance in a lot of European fashion, as if there is always someone to impress. Maybe they’re onto something: someone is always judging your outfit whether you want to be perceived or not. European fashion has a slight, negative connotation in America of being too overdressed for the simplest occasion. However, it seems there is no such thing in Europe. It is somewhat ironic because it seems liberating to be able to have that expression be the norm. It is a part of a bigger culture — a culture that favors leisure and the finer things in life.

When it is time to dress up for the nightlife scene, Europeans do not usually pull out their glitter or shine. Unlike their American counterparts, expect to see simple dresses, long skirts, jeans and blouses. There is a time and place for glitter, but you do not usually see it on the daily.

The American Way

If one thing is certain, Americans favor wearability. Casual comfort is celebrated anywhere that it is socially acceptable, including many places like schools, stores, casual restaurants, friends’ homes — you name it.

You could say it is a capitalistic venture of letting companies decide how comfortable you should be. Or, it simply comes from a culture that prioritizes comfort over presentation or style. That is one stark difference between America and Europe — style is more valued by Europeans as a whole, but people in America don’t mind as long as it’s comfortable.

Brands like Lululemon, Nike and Alo Yoga have revolutionized the meaning of comfortable fashion with the introduction of athleisure, which has definitely reached people globally, but it has dominated in people’s daily attire. That is why so many people are willing to buy expensive athletic clothes — they know how often they will resort to a simple pair of leggings and a tank-top.

Of course this is not to say that Americans don’t dress up. When Americans dress up, it is more bold, less cohesive, vibrant and expressive. There is less of a balance than in Europe, but America has always been the weird child anyways.

The Immersion: Best of Both

With of all that being said, the differences between the two fashion styles bounce off of each other, especially on the runway. Many European and American mainstream fashion brands cater to both audiences.

The late Virgil Abloh was an American designer who worked for the French brand Louis Vuitton. He was known for pairing these two styles together.

Image from Dazed.com

American visionary. French brand. Both American and European models styling it. All in one place. How beautiful this full circle moment has come.

Abloh’s brand Off-White combines that sleek European look with pieces that create a casual (and expensive) look. It is a world where both of those things can exist at one time. Who could have foreseen a day when Europeans and Americans co-exist in the harsh world of fashion? Virgil Abloh saw it, even if that was not his original goal.

The beauty of fashion is its subjective nature that many may try to argue about, but there is always a happy medium somewhere. Europeans will definitely still show up the airport in a full ensemble, and Americans will always show up to a bar in a crop top and leggings.

The world will still go on, so you can breathe knowing that while you might never escape the stereotypes, it does not matter in the world of fashion, where anything is possible.

Send @VALLEYMag on Instagram your favorite pieces to wear on a daily basis and see if you go more toward European or American style!

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