America and Europe may both be regarded as ‘the West’, where people are fairly affluent on the whole and tend to care about things like fashion, however the styles of dress, whether it be the normal things ordinary people wear to go to the supermarket or the high end fashion on the runways, are notably different for both men and women. While fashion snobs from both sides of the Atlantic tend to assume that French or Italian design is the best in the world, a surprising number of experts actually favour US style – top designer Georges Marciano of Guess grew up in Marseille, but was always most inspired by the fashions he saw being imported into France from the US.
Photo by Garrett Coyte
Increased globalization means that youth fashion isn’t as diverse between the US and Europe, as younger people tend to follow the trends they see on celebrities and in movies, with US stars tending to be famous in Europe too. However as more day to day styles go, you still notice some key distinctions between how the average American dresses and somebody from Barcelona, Nice or Rome.
American fashion in general tends to be more laid back, with an emphasis on comfort and being easy to wear. This means that accessories tend to be functional things like belts and purses, with less concern for using pieces like these to complete an outfit. In Europe on the other hand, outfits tend to be accessory heavy, with most women owning a huge number of different scarves and other purely aesthetic add-ons to finish their outfits. Men also accessorise far more in Europe, and it is also not uncommon in Europe for men to carry a satchel type bag, which an American would generally regard as a bit too feminine.
Casual Women’s Clothes
In the US, it is pretty normal for women to pair t-shirts with slogans or images on them with jeans, or even leggings as a complete outfit. In Europe, this isn’t really the done thing. While jeans are worn almost ubiquitously in most of Europe, women tend to use plainer t-shirts as layers that form part of an outfit. The result is far more elegant, but less ‘fun’. European women pretty much never wear leggings as pants, either – they are another piece that is used as a layer under skirts or dresses to make up a more complicated outfit.
European menswear tends to be a little more daring, with styles that in America would be considered effeminate and generally reserved for the gay community being mainstream with heterosexual men. This means things like three quarter length pants, skinny jeans and tight t-shirts in bright colours (including Barbie pink) are fairly normal among European guys.
Really, it is clear that Europeans on the whole tend to put more thought into coming up with attractive and ‘finished’ outfits and follow more extreme trends with greater enthusiasm (particularly in menswear). However, which side of the ocean has the best style is and always will be a matter of taste and whether you are more into comfort or image!