It's been a running joke between us that we need to get Brian into some stylish clothes, stat. For one thing that we all know and love about Brian is that he is very low maintenance when it comes to his clothing and personal style. Basically, if he can wear it camping, that's what he prefers to wear all of the time. Unfortunately here, where people are always effortlessly stylish, it means sticking out like a sore thumb tourist. Which we are definitely trying not to be!
I'm also not very stylish, but so far have been able to fake it because I look very Dutch. Maybe easier to overlook my faux pas? In any case, I didn't feel up to the task. We knew that we would need to find some kindly Dutch fashionistas to help us through this fashion crisis.
So one afternoon we went searching for a new, European ensemble for Brian. Brian hasn't worn jeans since high school, so it was a safe bet for a successful transformation to start with denim and work our way up into a whole outfit. We walked down the street and after a few false starts made it into Just Brands, which sells three distinct lines of clothing. We were greeted by a very tall (and of course very stylish) Dutchman who heard our plight and vowed to help us right away.
Quite rightly, he directed our attention to the most casual line, PME Legend, somewhat ironically for us in the "American" aesthetic. Our consultant called the brand "rugged" and "manly," which worked for us, and then welcomed us to the back of the store for a beer (!) and cookies while he and his associate did all the hard work of picking out clothes and sizes. They thought it was hilarious that we were shocked by the idea of having a drink while shopping, and probably in that first cold one, Just Brands made a customer for life in our dear Brian.
Loosened up already by the first few sips of Amstel beer, Brian came out in the first look. Even though he thought the clothes felt unnaturally tight, he was surprised that with a little bit of money and the right fit that he could actually look almost hip. I personally thought he looked pretty darn amazing already. I mean, I always think that no matter what he's wearing, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a thrill!
Brian even tried a few daring denim-on-denim looks, which our consultant assured us was always in style in the Netherlands, as opposed to ninety's throwback or cowboy chic in America. Brian was not really comfortable in the denim shirts, but he couldn't get enough of those jeans, trying on half a dozen or so.
The final ensemble combined what we know of Canadian Brian into new European Style Icon Brian. Jeans, a t-shirt and a sporty bomber jacket in Brian's favourite earth tones. The whole look is quite smashing with his new Helly Hansen sneakers too, don't ya think?
At 339€ with a free leather belt, the new look wasn't cheap, but not much more expensive than the "Canadian" outfit of technical gear, and the experience was pleasant to boot. I didn't think I'd ever see Brian in a pair of jeans, and he's happy in them, which makes it all worthwhile! They say good denim is addictive, and Brian is already talking about going back for more, so perhaps this is a new leaf for him.
Hello Haarlem, hello new modelling career!