Friday, April 18, 2008

The Tale of Two Suitcases

I was so excited! I would be spending my Junior Year as an exchange student in Sweden. Here was my chance to be *that girl* abroad! It didn't matter that I couldn't speak Swedish or had no idea what the Swedes were like. And it didn't matter that I could only take two suitcases with me. I was going to S-W-E-D-E-N! The land of ABBA!

Just before departing, my mother and I went shopping for clothes. And in my usual manner of purchasing, I managed to bring home a small handful of disparate items with no relation to one another. Distant cousins, perhaps. Maybe. I remember that among the items were a pair of purple flower-print jeans (really--these WERE trendy at the time), a pair of olive-green high-waisted pants, a red short-sleeve knit sweater, black leggings, and a brand new pair of white Nikes. But perhaps the worst mistake I made was this: I bought most things just a *tad* bit too small. After all, I would be LOSING weight on the other side of the pond, wouldn't I? Please don't laugh...I really thought I was going to impress my new European friends with my ultra-trendy style. (I did mention that I was young and clueless, didn't I?!)

What I know now that I didn't know then is that you cannot throw two suitcases' worth of individual items together and expect to get a year's worth of outfits out of the mix. It is not possible. It does not matter how wonderful each piece of clothing is on its own if it doesn't have an outfit to belong to. And in the context of two suitcases, it better have more than one outfit to belong to!

This is the same problem that so many people have with their own wardrobes...only it is their closet they are challenged by, and not a suitcase. But the principle is the same. Without a plan, you will end up looking into a full closet/suitcase and saying to yourself, "I don't have a thing to wear!"

So there I was in Sweden, with two suitcases full of a disaster waiting to happen. Come on back tomorrow and I'll tell you about the girl who rescued me from my own cluelessness ...same blog time...same blog channel....

(If you can't wait that long, you can read more on wardrobe planning at my website!)


Susan said...

Excellent story Jennifer -- I'm sure almost everyone can relate to that one! It seems even when I pack my suitcase with items that match at the time; when I get to the destination, nothing seems right (this is my opinion as others seem to feel I am appropriately clothed). I've been commenting at your vox blog that's why you received no comments. I'm off to apply my baby steps to success theory to my closet today: 15 minutes of purging. Keep up the interesting blogs -- I hope someday to meet you in person. Sue

S Chambers said...

I like the way you are teaching through narrative. Easy to tell you're a teacher. I can relate to what you are selling because I've been there. I am looking forward to your next post.

April Braswell said...

Hi Jennifer,

Oooo no! Those jeans! They are like the Britney Spears jeans that have moved from being so popular with teens years ago to where totally Middle American women in their 40s are deludedly wearing them, doing a Mutton Dressed as Lamb thing.

We've ALL had some of those fashion victim moments.

Looking forward to your further posts. How engaging you are!


April Braswell - Online Personals, Online Dating, Human Sexuality, Romantic Relationships Expert

Scott said...

Two suitcases of full of clothes and nothing to wear. Hummmmm I think I've heard that once or twice before, but just substitute closet for suitcase. And my wife is very fashion savvy and shops thinking about what outfit the new item will go with. Believe me I have been dragged along on enough shopping trips to understand the concept. All that being said that is an area most of us, especially me, need help with (my wife often reminds me of that).

Scott A Bell

The Road Warrior: Travel

drpeter said...

I am traveling in Detroit for one week with one suitcase and I still brought all the wrong stuff!. The Swedish experience must have been what made you aware of your calling.


Aaron said...

I always feel like I can't get enough stuff packed when I go on a trip. I was amazed my wife and I were under the limit when we went on our honeymoon.

Aaron's Blog

Jennifer Skinner said...

Thank you for all your wonderful comments!

Sue- It's nice to see you here! Have faith in your clothing decisions. Becoming more and more decisive is an important key to looking and feeling great!

April- mutton dressed as upon a time young girls aspired to dress like their mothers. Now, well...eegads!

And hi to all you fellas! This is fun getting some of your insight. Steve, Scott, Peter and Aaron- I've found that as far as mangaging a closet, the principles are the same for men and women. First comes figuring out how you want to be seen by the world (your style persona or brand), and then comes THE PLAN. We can get stuck anywhere along the way.

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

I LOVE your tale of two Suitcases. Jenn, this is THE start of TVSC. When I was being interviewed as a Dating Expert and Online Dating Coach today providing tips for getting more dates, image, and how to get married, I was mentioning your story for wardrobe advise.

All the best,

April Braswell

Online Dating Coach, Dating Expert, Relationship Coach, Romance Coaching

Online Dating Sites Review, Internet Dating Sites Guide