I truly think that one of the worst feelings in the world is being cold. After stepping off the plane and exiting the Skavsta airport, I was immediately hit with a bitter cold, damp wind and realized instantly that my leather jacket would not be enough clothing to keep me warm. I had entered the land of the utterly beautiful but chilled city of Stockholm, Sweden.
One of my favorite things about traveling is seeing different types of people from around the world, how they interact with one another, grasping a glimpse of their lifestyle, and for me especially, taking notice how each part of the world dresses differently from the rest.
While the thought of the ingenious and inexpensive Swedish store, IKEA, might make you think the rest of Sweden follows suit, sadly, it does not. Sweden has the ability to wipe your wallet clean without you feeling as though you’ve actually received anything in return except for a little less added weight because you can’t afford to eat anymore. After having this experience, I realized my hopes of purchasing a fabulous Swedish coat wouldn’t be an option. On my second day in Stockholm, I decided to leave the small island of Gamla Stan and walk across into the more urban area of Stockholm for some sight-seeing.
Forget the rumors that skinny jeans are on the out because the streets of Europe will tell you differently. Everywhere you look, tight jeans are being worn with thick socks over them, scrunched at the bottom and tucked away in a fabulous pair of motorcycle boots. The men and women in Stockholm make getting dressed seem so easy, yet extremely creative. They don’t appear to have spent hours rummaging through their closets searching for just the right pair of tights to wear under their shorts and layered Tee’s. Their looks scream effortless yet put together as if they rolled out of bed and threw on the first things they saw, which just happened to go together amazingly.
While there is no difference in how much each culture shops, there is a difference in the way we shop. Americans are constantly buying what is new and hot on the market, wanting clean, sharp pieces for their wardrobes while Europeans are just as in fashion (if not more so) but their pieces appear to have been in their closet for years or possibly a great hand-me-down from a relative. So how do they do it?
After walking by numerous eye-catching window displays, I turned the corner and ran into what appeared to be a small vintage shop; however, once you went in the store more than 20 feet, the small shop grew into an enormous store with multiple levels selling anything and everything vintage from 1930’s dresses, to Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, suits, and handbags galore! Fashion’s styles and trends recycle themselves after a certain amount of years so isn’t it better to wear an original skirt from the 80’s instead of purchasing a new one that tries to resemble the original? After rifling through a few racks of old flannel pieces I came across none other than a vintage Pendleton blazer in its classic tartan which fit me to a T. How was I supposed to pass that up?! Wishing I could have purchased half of the store, I walked out happy with my Pendleton jacket and vintage Dooney & Bourke leather handbag.
Sweden has the ability to make you want to eat less, bike more, and invest in the best skin care and makeup around after laying eyes on any Swede within viewing distance. Their skin is flawless (I’m not even sure they would know what a pimple or blemish is) and for me, their skin was almost better than their unique clothing they wore. If Sweden taught me one thing, it’s that I need to develop a better skin regimen and remember to search for those great “pre-loved” pieces found in hidden shops. It might take a bit more searching to be successful but in the end, you’ll stand out far beyond the rest. Off to Copenhagen, Denmark to see what I can find in the land of mermaids!