Revenge Of The Nerds is my column for HONK! magazine – art, photography, fashion & music online magazine from Berlin.

2010 was the year when the 80s were back, 2011 is obviously the year the fashion and all other industries joined forces to bring back the 90s. No matter what decade is coming back in which year, style and taste are always two crucial requirements for applying and following trends. For the same reason I refuse to put on man jeggings and make my legs look like two bratwursts. It seems like Berlin has concentrated all well-dressed people in Mitte and once you leave the fashion  neighborhood of the German capital, you stumble upon people who look like they’ve made their fashion decisions in the dark. Anyhow, if you feel you don’t have the imagination to dress up, at least flip some fashion magazines in the nearest coffee shop and just copy-paste some looks.

On my way to the trendy cafe I came to finish my column, I was able to spot 5 fashion disasters which I haven’t even planned on mentioning. Here is a quick tip: If the T-shirt looks like it might be mentally ill, then, so, too, is the smug gentleman wearing it. Ambiguous baseball caps with pink plastic pieces jutting out the top intended to look like a pair of lady’s legs — NO. This is NOT the cool, updated version of the 50s lamp shaped like a can-can girl’s fishnet stocking-enhanced thigh. Please, Mr. Hipster, cease and desist with the all-yellow (yes, lemon yellow) outfit. Just because it was on display at the COS window doesn’t mean you should put it on. As the Russians say, “Nyet.” Drop-crotch trousers with elasticated cuffs. Fucking stop it. It wasn’t cool in 1983 and it’s DEFINITELY not cool in 2011. Hawaiian shirts – no comment. Bra over the blouse. Yes, my good friend Corey actually saw this the other day. Oh, Berlin… But now back to my plan which includes examples from German clothing over hair and style:

Sandal Scandal

There is an image that always pops up in my mind when I think about German fashion and unfortunately it is not the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I know I am not the only one who has noticed – sandals with socks. What is up with that, Germany? Are you getting cold wearing sandals, are you afraid to wash your feet in case they get dirty or do they look so gross that you hide them in white socks? Also, what is wrong with wearing a chic sandal and taking a pass on all the tasteless sporty sandals out there? So many questions, so little time. However, you can just put on lighter shoes or just be brave and adventurous and put on the sandals on a bare foot.

Khaki Bukkake

I know a very respectable woman brought back the skin tone for clothing, namely Angela Merkel, but why do you have to show your patriotism in the worst possible way by dressing up in ochre and khaki from head to toe? Due to the lack of sun in Germany and the slight domination of pasties, overdosing with skin toned garments has almost as devastating effects as the tainted cocaine in the US and Russia. Let’s leave this privilege of wearing khaki, ochre and egg shell to the elderly, the yachters and the sailors.

Pierce for Peace?

Not really. Piercings were HUGE in the 90s. They were hugely overestimated as a political statement and underestimated in hideousness. Lip piecing, eyebrow piercing, cheek piercing, neck piercing,… Should I continue? Who needs those piercings? I could understand if it was a pleasure-oriented piercing like e.g. nipple piercing. Everything else is just obsolete.

The Pity of The Pits

Ladies, pay close attention. I almost feel ashamed to utter or write down those words in a country that is a leading world industrial power; that has running warm water and where cosmetic products are available on every corner, any time. So if all those conditions are available, why are there some of you, Fräuleins, who just refuse to shave or wax your armpits? Lifting your arm to hold onto the handle in the train and flashing your rainforest to everyone should be banned by law. And don’t get me started on the scents you spread in the non-air-conditioned trains of Berlin. And don’t forget – you’re not alone on the train and it’s not really about style, but hygiene.

The Dreadful Locks

Dreadlocks are definitely making a comeback this summer in Berlin. Wherever I go, whatever social group I am surrounded by, there is always at least one boy or girl sporting a ras. Short, long, thick, thin, blond, dark, colored, woolen – and that is just the beginning of the list. Sometimes I really wonder if people wearing dreadlocks are living in a house missing mirrors or if they have lost their sense of smell. My flatmate Sean calls them maggot sticks. I won’t bore you with the story behind coining this term, but just imagine the perfect conditions dreadlocks offer for a flourishing fleas colony on your head.

Summer Wool

Ok, I get it. Hipsters are a great drive for fashion and related business but can we all please decide right here and right now that we do not want to turn wearing a wool hat in summer to the next big thing after man jeggings? Thank you. Even when made of cotton wool, beanies and such belong in the autumn and winter wardrobe, not as an accessory to shorts and sandals. It has has been scientifically proven that all temperatures over 26°C are slowing down brain cell functionality. Maybe you should take off your wool hat and think about it. Before that the process wouldn’t be possible anyway.

Flip-Flops and The City

Closing up the frame of the Revenge of The Fashion Nerds, we’re back on the shoes issue. Besides sandals with socks, there is another persistent phenomenon that just won’t let go: flip-flops. They are just not meant for the city. For the beach – yes. For the bathroom – yes. But don’t forget them on your feet before leaving the apartment. Especially if you’re wearing jeans or other long pants.

Despite my efforts to sum up some of the most prominent German fashion and style disasters or at  least those that get on trains, walk the streets or flood bars and cafes, there are probably hundreds of other experiences that cause instant eye cancer. Until I face them, I’d try to enjoy the summer without making or running into the mistakes listed above so I can recharge the batteries of my stun gun and point at the next victim of the Nerds in Issue No. 5 on October 15th. Until then, feel free to drop a line at


One Comment

  1. Grateful Grapefruit © » James Long’s Sandals With Socks

    […] from the otherwise rather fashion-wise uninspiring Germans. I present you sandals with socks. You know how much I hate those, so you tell Siri that if I see you rocking an outfit like those in the gallery below, I’m […]

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