Wednesday 9 November 2011

Fashion Forward in Amsterdam – De 9 Straatjes on

Amsterdam may not have the reputation that New York, London and Milan have as fashion hotspots, but for anyone who wants creative gifts or trendy threads that aren’t available in the United States, this is the city.

Located between Leidsetraat and Raadhuisstraat is the area called De 9 Straatjes. Named after the nine side streets connecting the main canals, this delightful neighborhood is brimming with unique shops, charming eateries and great ambience. Anyone spending an afternoon here is sure to take home unexpected finds.

Zipper – Huidenstraat

At Zipper, a store specializing in second-hand, vintage and one-of- a-kind clothing, my husband and I met the owners’ son, who explained that the store buys vintage clothing from the United States and sometimes remakes it into something new — like their unusual jogging trousers, marketed under their own brand, UltraZipper. “One Christmas my sister was complaining about the cold,” he said. “We only stocked vintage American sweatshirts that were much too big for our European customers, and we couldn’t sell them. I suggested we turn the sweatshirt into pants using the arms as legs. They were so popular that we now actually have to buy new sweatshirts from America to keep up with demand.” Everything in the shop is priced under about $70, and the target market is juniors.

Donna Fiera – Huidenstraat

At Donna Fiera, women who want a European look not easily duplicated stateside will love the collections from 11 different continental designers in Denmark, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. According to manager Monique van Tholl, Donna Fiera stocks limited-edition dresses, skirts, pants, tops and accessories in colorful prints and fabrics with a vintage or boho look. Prices range from $85 to $425, and the shop carries sizes from small to extra large.

TIP: Buy the City Card!

WHEN YOU GO Purchase a City Card, the most cost-effective way of exploring the city. Sold for 24, 48 or 72 hours, it includes a smart card, a public transport ticket, a pocket guide and more than 50 fee and 60 discounted offers on major tourist attractions and restaurants. The cost is $55 to $85. Don’t tip. Gratuities are already included in the restaurant bill. Keep your transit map handy. All tram stops are announced in Dutch, which can be challenging unless you check the names with your map. Watch out for cyclists. They have their own paths adjacent to pedestrians, and they won’t stop for you to cross the road.

For more information on De 9 Straatjes and the venues mentioned in this article: