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Prinsjesdag Count Down (Part 3) – Match The Hat

The Hat to Match

The Hat to Match

We live in a smaller town outside The Hague which has a quaint pedestrian area in town center. Shops of all sorts line the wide cobblestone thoroughfare: shops for flowers, toys, baked goods, chocolates, pharmacy, shoes, and clothes. I mentioned previously that the area is rather upscale in that the cheapest bicycle around here is 800 euro. Clothes shops are, for the most part, similar, thus I have not set foot in most of them. Till this weekend.

The dress and thigh length cardigan I’ve worn with my chosen hat before are not dressy enough for Prinsjesdag. When I mentioned with dread to my older son and his friend that I had to go shopping, the friend was shocked. I don’t think he’s ever met a woman who doesn’t like to shop. Here I am. Shopping is only enjoyable for me when done as a social activity with a friend–preferably one who spends more than I do and makes me feel smugly thrifty.

Brands at the least helpful shop.

Brands at the least helpful shop.

This was a special occasion and the clock was ticking, though. I set myself a budget of 200 euro (including some birthday money) and set out to find a suit or coordinates in blue and off-white. Amazingly almost all the stores organize their goods by color. No wonder the Dutch always look incredibly coordinated–their casual elegance is often spoken in the expat community here. With my mission to Match The Hat, the shopping was a fantastically stream lined experience. Inspite of the posh fashions and other clientele, I was offered help, sometimes repeatedly in the same store, and only followed about at a respectful distance in one establishment.

What is upscale to me? Skirts 70 euro and up, casual blouses over 50, and sport coats running from 129 to 250 euro. The dress I eventually found that day, one which would work in a pinch, had semi-deep v-neck, long sleeves appropriate to the ever changing weather, and was within my budget at 70 euro. The ladies at that shop were delighted Dutch and delighted to help someone attending the Prinsjesdag events. The dress wasn’t quite the thing though, especially since I wanted the added factor of a suit jacket which wasn’t to be had without going over budget anywhere in town. I held that option in mind and decided to grin-and-bear the open mall next town over.

Next morning I announced at breakfast that I did not want to go shopping by  myself.

“Who would you like to take with you?” my husband asked as if any of the five males in our home would be made immediately available to me.

“You,” I said. And he was up and getting ready. God bless him and God bless my mother-in-law who brought him with no qualms getting on board for a day at the mall. I suggested he bring a book so he might enjoy a cafe at some point.

Inside the Dutch Parlaiment during a previous Prinsjesdag - King and Queen on their thrones.

Inside the Dutch Parlaiment during a previous Prinsjesdag – King and Queen on their thrones.

At the mall everything summer was deeply discounted, so I found a jacket in the perfect hue at the second shop we entered (see here types of items they carry). Previously 99.95 euro, it was a steal at 15 euro. Good deals inspire my well-trained husband who knew the hat and located a dress, previously 79.95 now only…15 euro. I was trying on the pair when Ryan came carrying three more skirt options and pointing out another jacket that might be too good a deal to pass by. “On a mission,” I said. “Let’s not get distracted.” I knew he was making his mother and sister proud and commended him appropriately.

The dress required a specialized under garment purchased a couple doors down which brought my total expense to less than 60 euro–so well within budget I began to think about shoes. Ryan hit the coffee shop and held onto our purchases while I traipsed around to every shoe store. Only one possibility seemed like it would go…only…well the color was off and heel a bit higher than might be advisable for a 9am-4pm dress event with limited seating.

We headed home to sons who claimed we’d been gone “forever.” We were quite pleased with the budget, and I began to think of shoes and hair as the next preparatory expenses for Prinsjesdag 2015.

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Kristin King is an author, publisher, and president of the nonprofit, Future Hope Africa. She seldom splurges on anything except her children and travel.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Events, Living in Holland

 

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Prinsjesdag Count Down (Part 2) How to Plan Your Shopping

Royal Head Gear at Prinsjesdag in Holland.

Royal Head Gear at Prinsjesdag in Holland.

As providence would have it, I am from the state of Kentucky which often draws a big question mark if given in answer to the question “Where are you from?” I prefer to clarify with “The United States” followed by “my state is Kentucky” and say we are “known for the Kentucky Derby, Bourbon…” — and before I can finish my sentence I hear “Like Kentucky Fried Chicken?”

2015 Hat Show  (Photo Copyright of the Hague Committee 200 years Kingdom - permission for educational use.)

2015 Hat Show (Photo Copyright of the Hague Committee 200 years Kingdom – permission for educational use.)

Yes, that’s the place. Sometimes foreigners even mention The Colonel–who actually did look like that in case you were wondering. Last week someone commented with admiration on how old The Colonel was when he began KFC. (Sorry the new moniker has not taken hold.)

What does this have to do with Prinsjesdag? Well, the Kentucky Derby and Prinsjesdag have one thing in common–besides quality horse flesh– and that’s hats. Big hats, designer hats, incredible hattery will be displayed on par with a Royal Wedding. However, these Hat Spectaculars take place every year. In fact, as part of four days of festivities leading up to Prinsjesdag, there was a hat show downtown. And can I just say I really, really, really like hats–also…they seem to like me.

(Photo Copyright of the Hague Committee 200 years Kingdom)

(Photo Copyright of the Hague Committee 200 years Kingdom)

Time for a little confession (cough cough), I’ve never been to the Kentucky Derby, but the hat I’m wearing for Prinsjesdag has! My cousin wore it a few years back and then passed it down to me. I’ve made good use of the wide-brimmed wonder during two Easters and wore it for book signings at the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge Tennessee.

Thus my shopping for the Big Day starts with the one item I already own–a fabulous hat.

Part 3 – Find a Matching Outfit for The Hat

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Kristin King is an author, publisher and US expat living in the Netherlands. She will be wearing a large, crowd infringing hat for Prinsjesdag.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Events, Living in Holland

 

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Prinsjesdag Count Down – What? (Part 1)

Photo of the Golden Carriage from last year by The Telegraph.

Photo of the Golden Carriage from last year by The Telegraph.

I remember the first time it occurred to me that I was under the rule of a monarch. It was an educational tour of the United Kingdom when I finished university, and as an American born in the USA…well, it just felt wrong.

Nowadays though I’ve found a new appreciation for the pomp and circumstance. I have great admiration for Queen Elizabeth, and there is definitely a certain character and pride preserved in holding onto these traditions.

Thus, for someone like me, the invitation to Prinsjesdag is a once in a lifetime event. Sure, next year I can stand by the parade route as the King’s Golden Carriage takes him to Parliament, but this year I will be with the dignitaries…or are we VIP’s, or….well whatever my husband and my section of attenders is called. I think we will actually visit Parliament and see the King give his speech. I’ll write more about that when I find out.

One of the traditions of Prince’s Day is the procession by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima in the Golden Coach from Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal, where the King reads the Speech from the Throne.

Online you’ll see Prinsjesdag translated as Prince’s Day although a quick trip to google translate gives you “Budget Day” instead. Both seem to be correct. The Head of State in the Netherlands is the currently enthroned royal, and the speech being given is for the government’s budget which was trimmed into ship-shape over the last three weeks to be ready for the Big Day.

Since my birthday was earlier this month and this really is a very special occasion…I decided to splurge on new outfit clothes. Nothing in my current wardrobe seemed quite up to snuff. Thus I set my own budget and hit the concourse.

Part 2 – The Shopping.

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Kristin King is an author, publisher and US expat living in the Netherlands. She looks forward to playing her very little part in the 2015 Prinsjesdag.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Events, Living in Holland

 

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