Going Shopping for Clothing in Germany

One of the differences you should be aware of when going clothes shopping in Germany is that the sizes are different.

A North American dress size 8 for women is a size 36, a size 10 is the German 38, or a size 12 is 40, size 14 is 42, and so on.

Shoe sizes are also in double digits. A lady’s shoe size 8 is size 39 in Germany, size 9 is 40, and size 10 is 41.

Children’s clothing uses the metric system. A size 140 for children means the child is 140 cm tall. So a size 140 is approximately a size 10 for children.

There are two big sales each year, one at the end of January, the “Winterschlussverkauf” (end of winter sale) and one at the end of July called “Sommerschlussverkauf” (end of summer sale).

However, during the year you can find “Sonderangebote” (special offers) and items marked as “reduziert” (reduced). The sign marking the items might say “ab 20,-” which means the items start at 20 euros. All prices already include the tax.

For information on the German currency, read my post on the euro.

If you just want to browse you can say to a salesperson approaching you, “Ich will mich nur umsehen” oder “Ich schaue mich nur um.”

When you are looking for a changeroom to try something on, find the sign saying “Umkleidekabine.”

Stores close earlier than in North America. Usually, they are open Monday to Friday from 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. In smaller towns, they might close even earlier. Saturdays, stores are only open until 4:00 p.m. On Sundays and public holidays they are all closed. In a smaller town, the banks, the post office, and smaller stores might close for a lunch break of up to two hours.


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