People-watching is fun wherever you are, but there are some cities where the street style makes observation particularly exciting (and perhaps a little dampening on one’s self-confidence). I feel that way in New York, London, and most recently, Berlin, where I celebrated the New Year. Walking around the central Mitte district on a cold rainy day, I couldn’t help but feel decidedly un-chic amidst the passing Berlinites in their long, structured coats, effortless bob cuts, and cool platform shoes.
Though pastel and jewel-toned coats have been dotting the streets since last winter, the timeless black coat reigns supreme in this city. Whether or not you’re a fan of black-on-black winter ensembles, you cannot deny that black is the most versatile and the most flattering option when it comes to wardrobe staples. You may love your powder pink coat today, but it’ll be hard to stay loyal to next year when a new, enticing hue takes over store-front mannequins.
The beauty of black is that it never loses its charm. But that doesn’t mean it should be the only colour (or non-colour) in your closet. Like a slice of cake or a hot cup of tea on a bristly day, a dose of color really can brighten your spirits in the dead of winter. In Berlin, I noticed splashes of colour on all-black facades, much like the colorful graffiti adorning the city’s grey cement walls. Bright accent pieces enliven otherwise colourless ensembles: effortlessly cool beanies in bright red or mustard yellow hues; blanket scarves in bold patterns; and of course, the classic low-top sneaker in winter white.
The system makes sense: for staple items that you’ll wear forever, opt for black, which you’ll always appreciate in your closet. For accessories, feel free to follow your whim and indulge in the shifting tides of trend.
Clockwise from top left: jumper, H&M; beanie, American Apparel; jeans, River Island; scarf, H&M; bomber jacket and boots, Topshop; turtleneck, H&M