What to bring to Amsterdam Year-Round
The dress code for Amsterdam (for women) in fall/spring for a casual day out typically involves a light/stylish (often leather) jacket, booties, and a blouse/t-shirt. In summer, you'll see the dress code in Amsterdam switches more to dresses although many women will wear dresses year-round (but with lots of layers). The dress code for Amsterdam for men tends to be much more polished with more tightly fitted clothes (compared to the US) although fairly standard for European fashion. You'll see a lot of men wearing white shirts and jeans with polished shoes to work, however you'll see a more casual (yet polished) look on weekends.
Amsterdam street fashion tends to range a lot from functional to eclectic with many ladies embracing quirky dresses from Belgian/Dutch brands to vintage clothes to fashionistas embracing the newest minimalistic trends.
Clothing: What should you bring to Amsterdam and why?
Your ATM card and Visa Credit Card with Chip. A lot of places outside of the tourist centre do not accept many types of credit cards, so always plan on having some cash on you just in case. Visa (with chip) and Mastercard (with chip) are often accepted at places that take credit cards. (More about this issue here!)
Medicines. Although it's possible to buy basic medications (such as Ibuprofen) at the local Dutch drugstore (Etos or Kruidvat), prescription medications will be a hassle to replace as pharmacists have separate locations and you will need permission from your doctor to refill medications that you can easily get at home.
Passport. Always important!
A carry-on bag that will fit everything with 0 extra baggage fees + some souvenirs.
Packing cubes if you're really bad at packing or just like to stay organized.
What to bring to Amsterdam for Winter (including December!)
What not to wear to Amsterdam & What NOT to bring to Amsterdam
Your drone. It is possible to bring it with you, but it is ILLEGAL to fly it anywhere in Amsterdam. It is possible to fly a drone some places in the Netherlands with restrictions, but you need to study up on the applicable drone laws as many attractions and the Dutch government is cracking down.
Your safari vest. Most things are fine to wear in Amsterdam, but this is what you should not wear in Amsterdam. This issue is that it makes you stand out like a sore thumb, so scam artists will pick you out easily. I’ve heard they’re convenient and useful, but Amsterdam doesn't require anything this intense.
ALL your make-up. Besides a basic level of makeup that often includes mascara, some BB cream, a touch of lipstick, you’ll notice that many Dutch girls go pretty natural. I’ve brought my makeup on so many trips, but it’s rare that I end up using it and more often than not, I feel overdressed here when I wear full makeup, even at a fancier party.
Your international products that can be bought anywhere. Save the space in your luggage and get it here as needed if you're not sure if it's necessary. (Think L'Oreal, Maybelline, Nivea).
Uggs. I know they're comfy, but some things are better left at home.
Sunglasses. It's cloudy 99% of the time (I feel like), so you can bring them, but wearing them on a cloudy day just looks ridiculous.
Bathing suit. Unless you have plans to swim at your hotel OR in the canals of Amsterdam, you don't need to bring your bathing suit as it probably won't be warm enough. Check ahead, but if the weather is good, you can lay out in the park.
Your thin heels as they might get caught in the cobblestones.
Special Occasions to Keep In Mind
In case you forget something...
Where can you get clothing in Amsterdam? HEMA and C&A are reasonable retailers with a good selection of clothing for both men & women in case you forget something.
Where can you get medications in Amsterdam? If it’s prescription, you’ll need to go to a pharmacy and contact your doctor at home. If you need over the counter medicines in Amsterdam, go to Etos or Kruidvat.
Things here are NOT 24 hours, so many of these places close around 6pm, so plan accordingly.
Is there anything that you wish that you left behind (or brought) when you visited in Amsterdam? If you haven't visited Amsterdam, what is your MUST-CARRY clothing item?
The Ultimate Guide to Amsterdam (written by a resident)
Most Instagrammable places in Amsterdam
Best Cheap Places to Eat in Amsterdam
15 Do's & Don'ts of Amsterdam
Castle Day Trips from Amsterdam
Other Cities to Visit in the Netherlands