Hamburg Heat Wave Decoded

Today is once again the hottest day of the year and since the evening shows no signs of cooling down thus far, there seems nothing better to do than blog in the peaceful sanctuary of my darkened apartment, with my small fan plugged in, reliably churning the air, and in an outfit I wouldn’t show myself in outside. Could this bliss be more introverted? In-between typing I’m switching to watching WIRED YouTube Videos in which various celebrities answer the Internet’s most searched questions about themselves and laughing my head off.

The combination of being a list-making redhead who is voluntarily influenced by the German way of life means I’ve got this particular summer’s routine all figured out. And may I just point out that in my almost ten years living here, this is the FIRST summer in Hamburg which has lasted way, way more than two weeks in a row (someone was telling me ferverntly just this morning it’s been going on since April, that’s what’s happening to our minds now). So I actually had data for developing said routine.

You wake up in the morning and peel off whatever stuck to your skin during the night (get your minds out of the gutter right now). You open some windows in a hurried attempt to take advantage of the morning coolness, which you know won’t last long. You make a mental note to DEFINITELY shut the window before you leave for work, because the last time you forgot, and you came back to the predictable oven. You get yourself ready for the day and try to make breakfast consist of more than chugging water. Then you slap on sunscreen and walk to work, and you know exactly where all the shady spots are during your route, so you feel a sense of accomplishment, and when you reach your destination, your sense of accomplishment changes to feeling smug, because really, this was quite pleasant.

The day goes on and by lunchtime you’re seriously debating whether you’ll go outside. Again. Ever. The heat is snaking its way in. You’re not even thinking about the trip home, because it’s so far away in the future and there are more pressing concerns. You drink the amount of water you subsequently sweat out, and so the cycle continues. You also shower the same amount of times as the water bottles you emptied during the day. Unsticking your skirt or dress when you get up with a dainty grasp (not) of material between thumb and forefinger becomes second nature. Sleep is a gamble and then…see the beginning of this paragraph.

There were, of course, other things I could have decided to do after my supervisor told the department we could leave earlier as it was 36 degrees Celcius outside. Beach bar around the Port of Hamburg? Nah, based on experience all the spots in the shade would be taken, and I’ve become such a pro at avoiding generous sunlight that I don’t want to break my winning streak. Steal the office picnic blanket for an evening and stretch out in the shade of Planten un Blomen park? Nein, I went out earlier in the afternoon for a break and being in the shade felt like walking in to a wall of chicken soup. Go to the pool? Again, good luck finding a spot in the shade to lay down my stuff and I’m sure every pool in the city is bursting at the seams. It’s too hot to traipse around packing up to go somewhere out of town and clearly if one thing is obvious, it’s that I AM good at saying no (to myself), which the Internet says is an important survival skill.

Fragments of what I read in the local paper online between productive bouts of work in an office which hasn’t seen the light beyond our window blinds for what feels like months flit through my mind. Fish are, sadly, dying in the Alster river and the Alster swans were moved all the way to their WINTER quarters in what is still AUGUST by Hamburg’s very own swan father Olaf. I don’t know which of these two bits of information was more convincing, but in stealthy survival mode I crept along the shaded side of the street on my way home, stopping only to satisfy one wish in an air-conditioned shop. Because chocolate, like revenge, is also a dish best served cold, so in the fridge it goes. I’m once again experiencing a sense of accomplishment.

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What To Wear #65: “‘Cause It’s Gonna Be Hot In My Big Silver Pot”

It is indeed going to be hot, and you can count on me to come up with a quote from Les Poissons to title this post.

Hot weather means grabbing the chance to wear a maxi-length dress! Why maxi? Because I like that length and I have to go to work.

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I had strolled in to the shop and noticed this dress on a mannequin, but not anywhere nearby. After painstakingly searching two times to make sure, I approached a saleslady and asked where I might find it. Always ask a staff member if you see something in a window or on display that you like! In my experience they like the question and clearly you are also showing buyer’s commitment, which is, mais oui, to be encouraged. You may therefore be sure of a helpful attitude. For me personally a little exchange like that also gives me a minor sense of achievement when I locate the desired item afterwards. I’m an adult! I’m a customer! I’m an adult customer who can assert herself amid all this consumerism and knows exactly what she wants! Such empowerment, such confidence!

The pattern on the dress reminds me of a ripple of changing colors on the surface of a sea in summertime. The earrings not only pick up on the tones of the dress, but also make me think of the expansive beauty of the sea and sky surrounding the island of Themyscira in this year’s Wonder Woman.

So ready to go.

Dress: C&A

Jewelry: Bijou Brigitte

What To Wear #64: Lace and Leggings and Layers, Oh My

We are promised two days of summer weather, and today is one of them. This means, based on the local forecast and years of experience in the city of Hamburg, that while I can wear a sleeveless T-shirt, layering and leggings, my trusty standbys, are not to be dismissed.

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While the lacy crimson shirt is not completely see-through, it still works better with a longer tank top underneath, and so far my favorite combo is with a black one. Since the top shirt is not completely red, there is no devil Halloween costume color scheme going on here – which I have, by the way, successfully tried out once, but ’tis not the season just yet. It’s still summer, whatever the weather forecast says.

The scarf has been featured before on this blog, a flea market find from years ago and one of my favorite scarves in my * cough * modest collection. It also doubles as a party accessory when I don’t feel like wearing a necklace, but want something extra, thanks to the glittering gold thread running through it.

The gold earrings are some of the most versatile I have, picking up perfectly on the aforementioned gold bit in the scarf, and the ring adds a shot of brighter green against the subtle hues mixed in the, again, scarf.

Leggings will complete this outfit, need to decide on the color, as well as the black (I like to think) ballet-inspired flats. The ribbons complement the feminine pattern and delicacy of the lace top, and being tipped with gold fastenings, they also round up the choice of jewelry.

Ready to go.

Lace top: most likely Amazon

Black tank top: H&M

Leggings: Esprit

Shoes: Asos

Jewelry: SIX

What To Wear #63: I Feel Teal

There are two things I look forward to in the mornings, two simple pleasures: breakfast and putting on a favorite dress. This is one of those mornings – score!

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This dress has been one of my happiest buys to date – it’s long and comfortable, figure-hugging without being clingy and the jersey it’s made from is perfect for hot weather as well. There’s a length of string to knot around the waist however you like, and the sparkling beading across the chest lends a playful note to an intense color.

Teal works well with browns and golds, especially since this dress has embroidery on it exactly in those colors. The dangling earrings are some of my favorite as well, with the multi-colored sphere at the bottom livening up the long loop, and the rings both pick up on both the dress’ hue and go in line with the golds.

Ready to go.

Dress: C&A

Jewelry: I Am and SIX

 

What To Wear #62: Scarves, Dahling

Well, just the one, but still an impressive one. It is scarf awareness day all over again.

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The trusty sleeveless black, but how to liven it up? Because I feel like a splash of bold color! And inevitably a scene from a 1993 adaptation of A Secret Garden, which I loved watching as a child, pops in to my head. Martha, a maid in the manor where Mary, the main heroine has come to live after the death of her parents, holds up several dresses for Mary’s choosing, and attempting to cheer up the young girl with some humor, she asks her which one she wants to wear, “Black, black or black?” “Are you blind?” Mary responds icily. “They’re all black.”

My black dress usually says, “Dude, where’s the rest?” Who am I to ignore signals. The scarf is a souvenir from my recent jaunt to a flea market in Kiel with a friend, and it was only upon spreading it out that I noticed the pattern of the Union Jack in the background. With flowers strewn across it, it’s less official and absolutely wearable.

The accessories pick up the blue and white in the scarf, since the red speaks for itself. I saw these dainty earrings a while ago and liked the tiny and charming detail of the silver leaf against the dark blue, while the ring with the flower was found by my mother during a relaxed afternoon browsing a market in Spain once. The shoes remind me of the 90s every time I look at them – perhaps it’s the combination of black velvety material and the heel style? Another comfortable pair I can log a lot of hours in.

Ready to go.

Dress: Zalando

Scarf: flea market in Kiel

Shoes: Deichmann

Jewelry: I Am, Bijou Brigitte and market in Spain

What To Wear #61: Summer Lovin’

…having a blaaast

It’s warm again! Which means tropical accents, bright colors and a dress. Yes, we do get surprised by summer weather during the summer in this city. Every time.

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A few years ago I was visiting the lovely city of Utrecht and, as you do, I was checking out their shops after a day of sightseeing. I stopped by H&M (I know, but they are different in every cities AND it was sale season). My eyes fell on this cheerful dress, and while I was initially sceptical if it would fit me, trying it on proved the opposite, so whenever I look at it, I’m reminded of this small, but deeply gratifying moment in my female life.

I’ve worn this particular set of accessories with it before, because it just works, and if it ain’t broke, why fix it, at least until I feel like trying something else. Anything picking up on the colors of the pattern will work well with this dress, and there are enough colors and their hues to choose from. The ring has a touch of the Disney villain(ess) about it for me, but they were important figures in those stories, so that’s fine.

I originally bought the shoes for changing in to for the evening’s activities (dancing) at a wedding after a day spent in heels. However, they went so well with many summer outfits that I didn’t restrict them to festive attire. They are also very comfortable and the laces give me that vague feeling (highly romanticized fantasy) of being connected to the world of ballet. Russian roots, soft spot, what you gonna do.

Ready to go.

Dress: H&M

Shoes: Asos

Jewelry: Bijou Brigitte

 

What to Wear #52: Roses and Stripes

Unless they are peonies, not roses, but in any case, they are pretty flowers set against a winningly contrasting background.

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I was visiting the city of Kiel last weekend and it was raining steadily the whole time. Welcome to Norddeutschland! My friend and I were, however, undeterred in pursuing our plans of browsing at the local flea market. Like a child I heard on the street today answering her mother about where she wanted to go with “Da! Wo das Eis ist!” (it is summer, after all), I too had a purpose. I spent several minutes going through clothes at a table overseen by two nice girls who looked like they had a style similar to mine, and apparently I impressed them with something, because they asked me where my “accent” was from and said they thought it was southern German. I was both surprised and amused. That particular accent is very distinctive, after all, and feeds the saying that Bavaria is another country within Germany. Have to think of that Fun with Flags episode on The Big Bang Theory with Amy dressed up as a pretzel and Sheldon wearing Bavarian gear. “Good evening, das YouTube!”

The hooded cotton top found its way to my bag, and it goes well with the dark-teal coloured sleeveless dress that I probably wear once a week. I’m feeling pleased about the comfort level of the combination and a flower pattern always makes me smile. A few well-worn, but still acceptable (not real) silver rings and rose-shaped stud earrings accessorize this Hamburg summer ensemble. The shoes are part of a successful sneaker haul during a recent sale. It’s funny how I used to be averse to the idea of combining sneakers with a dress, but that was before there was so much choice with this particular shoe. Add the combination of the changeable local weather and a bad ankle sprain two years ago that made me question my relationship with heels (I know, such a problem), and I was sold before I realized it.

Ready to go.

Top: flea market in Kiel.

Dress: Zalando.

Rings and earrings: the usual suspects, Bijou Brigitte and SIX.

Shoes: Deichmann.