This scenic Dutch capital offers plenty in excitement and beauty. Lined with historic waterways (2013 marks the 400th anniversary of Amsterdam's canals), the city is home to fabulous cultural institutions, a rollicking (and notorious) bar scene, and high-end shopping. Tack on iconic landmarks like Anne Frank's house and the Van Gogh museum, and Amsterdam will have you enchanted from sunrise to sundown. Let's start packing...
Most locals get around on bicycles, and with the well-defined bike lanes, it's an easy way to get a lot in for the day. Dress with mobility in mind with stretchy skinny jeans—we like this fresh lighter blue ($19.90)—paired with a pink print silk shirt ($125) and chic ankle strap flats ($295). Cropped taupe pants could also sub in nicely ($149.50) worn with a light heather gray scoop neck tee ($6), adding a dashing maroon-print cashmere-blend scarf for breezier days ($170). (Scarves are also handy for long flights.) If you prefer dresses, choose one with a looser, swingier skirt. This washed silk style in hot pink ($268) can be worn alone or layered, and can be dressed down for the daytime with a snake-print sneaker ($150).
At night, go with more comfortable footwear, particularly if you're in the city for the weekend and up for checking out the free open-air concerts at Vondelpark. For a look that works into the late night hours, try a sporty short jumpsuit ($170) and white lightweight jacket ($100) worn with gold accessories like this artsy cuff ($111, available at Amsterdam boutique Restored) and foldover clutch ($55). Get a little city-theme going with NARS matte lipstick "Amsterdam" ($26) to make for a dressier look. Spring for cool pieces that pop, like this stretch skirt ($140) worn with a white and black print short sleeve sweater ($39) or lime-yellow floral top ($32).
Amsterdam is a wonderful place to get "lost," with old cobbled streets and of course those canals. For coffee shop stops, strolls, and boutique shopping, pack comfy long chino shorts ($89) and a dark pink polo by local brand Scotch & Soda ($43). (You can also go for a full button-down look in linen ($79.50).) Long bright summer days require sunglasses, such as these wire aviators with brown accents ($180). The neutral coloring will go with a few different outfits like these olive shorts with drawstring ($84), blush U-neck tee in slub jersey ($76), and red Keds ($45).
Nights in the Square
With a cool and diverse nightlife scene, the city is more than just its infamous Red Light District. Start by checking out music venues like Melkweg and Paradiso. Into highbrow fare? Head to the city theater, Stadschouwburg. As far as clothes, if you're up for experimenting with a slimmer, European cut then head back to local favorite Scotch & Soda for this blue button-down ($89), which will pick up the cobalt laces in these chukka boots ($180). Depending on the weather, bring along a khaki cotton twill jacket ($92.63). For another option, dark rinse selvedge jeans ($185) will give your wardrobe a lift into the autumn months. Contrast the fabric's crispness with a slouchy gray Diesel sweatshirt ($128), maybe layered over a turquoise green logo tee ($50 by GStar).
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