“Ready for Outfit Day?” I tear through my closet, surfacing piece after piece of clothing, each with a history, a memory. My best friend is situated nearby, comfy on my bed, dispensing thoughtful critiques that decide the fate of each article. Many things are discarded, new outfit combinations are discovered, and it feels like I have a whole new wardrobe without having spent a dime.
Growing up in my tiny hometown of Lahr, Germany, I learned to set myself apart by dressing in a different style each morning. One day I’d be the hip-hop chick, with baggy pants and a crop top; the next a grunge girl with heavy boots; and on another day I’d present the girly-girl, with a floral dress and cute smile across my face. The idea of keeping a single style didn’t appeal to me. Fashion is meant to be enjoyed, to make you feel like a new person each day. I loved becoming someone else by changing how I dressed; I loved dressing to match how I felt.
In my 20s, though, I craved a uniform. I’d often create mood boards—I recall that the first one heavily featured Sienna Miller, and I threw out everything that didn’t fit her specific look. It was a nice thought, but it didn’t stick; forever chasing my love for fashion, I’d be helplessly drawn to unique pieces that didn’t fit Sienna’s style, and months later we’d be back with another mood board, another way I wanted to look, another Outfit Day.
I thought it was an identity crisis—without a uniform, did I really know who I was? With time, though, I realized that I land somewhere in the middle, changing my Cloudy characters daily, according to my mood or location. I’ve stopped searching for one style to fit all occasions, but my best friend and I still have Outfit Days to find uniforms for each of my characters.
Wearing black pointed boots, black skinny jeans, an old band T-shirt, and a leather jacket, the first character doesn’t know where life will take her. In Berlin, it’s not uncommon to leave the house in the morning and return sometime the next day, so you have to be fully prepared—I always am in this look. At the office, when I want to both be comfortable and look like a boss, I’m dressed in black cigarette pants, Vans sneakers, and a black chunky turtleneck sweater or a white men’s shirt. My “funky mama” persona, a testament to my love for funk music, combines vivid prints for a look that no one else on this planet would wear, but definitely turns heads. At formal events or galas, I turn up in a glossy, sharply tailored suit with super-high heels and nothing underneath the blazer—as if to say, “I’m a working power woman and want to be taken seriously.”
They say women over 30 know who they are and what they want. Now, at 31, I know what I don’t want: limits on style for myself. And I know who I am: someone who loves to play around with fashion, who thinks it should be fun. That uniform—or nonuniform—shields me from anything negative and makes me feel both comfortable and strong, enabling me to walk my own path.
Shop Cloudy’s Berlin
This is a must-visit when in Berlin. Sip your coffee and wander around the spacious Voo Store in Kreuzberg to discover unique designers you’ve never heard of, paired with this season’s “it” pieces. Photo by @chlmryyy.
A vintage shop in the hip Neukölln neighborhood, where both men and women can find clothing in the minimalistic Scandinavian design, with a few extravagant luxury pieces thrown in the mix. The owner of the shop, Gerda, also has her own jewelry line. Photo by @goodthingswillhappensoon.
Alex Eagle's beautiful concept store features everything from clothing and accessories to plants and stationery, plus amazing food and drink. And it offers plenty of cozy corners where you can work or hang out. Photo by @dlghtjr.
These two power women not only have their own successful clothing label but also own a vintage store in Berlin-Mitte. As you enter the store, you are sucked into a world of color and patterns, where you can choose from the well-curated luxury vintage pieces. Photo by @riannaandnina.