A colleague of mine recently bought a Golf. A blue Golf. He was thinking about getting an A1, but didn’t like the loud colors. This from a guy who wears purple plaid shirts to work.
Southern Germans, specifically Audi, basically invented the boring silver car that seems to drive the perception of and image of German people in the US. The real reason for the silver cars is that most German execs don’t want to be seen driving flashy cars, to the point that they will order the boring silver car with the badges removed. No chance at identifying it as better than anyone else’s, that might attract envy. Whatever. The only other color Audis seem to be available in over here is trash-truck orange. I don’t get the dichotomy, but I do love it.
German people are a colorful dichotomy in every part of their lives. They decry the possibility of sharing personal data, but give out their bank account information like candy on St Martin’s Day. They don’t want to be seen, but dress in beautifully colorful and creatively designed, extremely close-fitting clothes. Which they happily remove completely at sauna. They are the first to blur their license plates and house numbers on Google Maps, but they drive bright green cars which they park directly out front. Have I mentioned the number of personalized license plates? They are everywhere!
I love the color. I love the patterns. I love the lack of grey in daily life in Germany. I love the close-fitting tailored clothes. I love the fact that the typical German person takes the time to carefully choose what to show and what to hide, rather simply hiding everything or showing everything, like we do in American culture. Let’s face it – if you are worried about your thighs in the US, you wear a grey suit cut like a flour sack to work, regardless of the fact that your upper half would make the cover of Vogue. Here in Germany, ladies pay little or no attention to their less-stellar-looking parts and focus on drawing attention to what looks good or even great. Guys are the same way – dressing for what works, rather than for what doesn’t. And the color! Did I mention the color? Or the prints? Or the plaids? Oh, fabulous!! There is a reason Desigual is beloved here.
Before I left, quite a few colleagues mentioned that I would likely fit in much better in Germany due to my clothing habits. And I did. Then I went even further. I put aside all of my grey sack suits and I bought a hot pink suit that is cut just so. I customer ordered pink and white motorcycle leathers. I dropped a small fortune at Desigual, and I have a few more items in mind to grab before I leave. Oh, wait, I’ll be back, so there will be no end to my Desigual habit, I think! It drives my American colleagues nuts when I and my attire walk into a room. I no longer care – I am sorry that they are afraid to look awesome. I am not any more. I am no longer ashamed of my body or of my colorful sense of self. I will continue to use color for purpose.
I am contemplating replacing my old blue Passat with a froggy green Golf one day. Or a yellow Elise. Yes. A yellow Elise sounds just about perfect.