Everywhere we turn in the world of fashion, it seems a new concept hits us between the hangers. At times this can feel a tad annoying. Frequently we run into new, expensive trends that cancel our current investment piece, we long over new body parts on magazine cover models, or face new economical hardships that prevent us from obtaining our desired “new” view. Well my friends (old and new), we are shooting this Style File from a different angle. Let’s consider ourselves renewed. We have just entered a brand new year, a spanking new decade, a restored semester and a fresh take on cutting edge clothing from fashion around the world.
Speaking of around the world, I will be reporting to you from a new location this semester. Fabulous style is about diversity so I thought I would freshen my point-of-view while spending this semester studying in Paris, dotted with various European adventures of course. While I may be an American girl in Paris, I will observe and note the French way of style everyday. I will have many opportunities to gush over the classically styled Parisian women and coiffed French men. But in this edition, let’s size up moving to a new country code.
At some point in your college career, many of you will choose to study abroad, travel for a long period of time, or simply find yourself living out of a suitcase. Before heading to Paris, I am nested in Cannes, France with 35 new classmates for a language program to prepare me for classes at La Sorbonne and daily Parisian life. Even though I am now familiar with the salt from the clear Mediterranean lingering on my skin and the smell of the macaroon shop tempting me to venture near, it is the fur dress-coats on the local elders bobbing down the street causing my style spirit to sag with my limited wardrobe resources available.
Nevertheless, USF friends I have now mastered the art of neatly living out of two suitcases in a petit room with two other roommates while looking chic and “French fresh” every day. These are my tips on limited resource dressing and suitcase digging for your study abroad experiences or early spring break planning.
Take a moment to reflect about your style. Individual mode is like the human body: everybody initially works with the same stuff but in different sizes and proportions and with different attitudes. We all have something about our look that sets up apart from everyone else. Before you pack a bag to live out of for five months, figure out your style. For some of us, fashion defines us and leaving our closets full of our unique pieces makes us want to seek therapy. No matter what, you cannot bring your whole wardrobe.
The key to success is planning. When you understand yours, you can strip down to choosing the basics that suit your individual look. For your everyday street wear, only pack pieces that you know you can wear with more than one outfit. Rule of thumb: every piece of clothing that you bring must be able to meld into three different outfits. The only exception to this rule is the one or two party pieces that you bring for special nights out. Also consider comfort, since each item will get a lot of wear in the upcoming months.
Step two of your packing project is to be a savvy accessorizer. American travelers benefit by blending into their home on loan. Sooth the culture clash with your get-up. Challenge yourself in wearing your grey cords three times this week and changing it up every time with a new accessory. Change your outfit with a scarf, next drape a fur across your shoulders and lastly hang massive chains around your neck. Or consider this, one day wear your boots with your jeans with your hair in a knot then disguise them by wearing a long top over them with a funky hat the next day to change up proportions.
While it may not be as easy as having the option of grabbing anything from your closet (or your roommate’s closet) this is a new chance to see how creative you can be. Let your passport be your excuse to change up your looks and experiment with your style.
When I arrived in France with my two suitcases loudly rolling behind me on the cobblestones, I looked around to see that many girls were hurling their one piece of luggage with great difficulty. Don’t let a number fool you. While one suitcase might seem like it is less to handle, I found that two gave me the opportunity to organize my outfit choices with greater ease. This is the one time that I am proud to say that I was a woman with some serious “baggage.”
Suitcase # 1: Clothes and shoes. Don’t try to get anything else in there. After I placed my carefully chosen six pairs of shoes on the bottom of the suitcase, I only filled the rest up with my dresses, pants, skirts and tops. I have a different place for each category so I know where everything is located.
Suitcase #2: Accessories, bathroom gear and books. After picking out my basics from my other suitcase, I just turn around to my other one to find what makes my ensemble unique in suitcase #2.
This system has not failed me yet. While some days I will start with suitcase #1 to pick my functional clothing, I will change it up from time to time to start with suitcase #2 to begin my day with a little color and inspiration. The way your clothes are organized affects the way you look on a day to day basis. If the home of your clothes is chaos then your style will reflect that. Just remember that these are the days that you will remember the most as you will have pictures to document your travel threads.
One of the perks of traveling is everyday you are greeted with something new. I would encourage you to embrace any opportunity that you have to create a vogue voyage with style experimentation and no inhibitions.
I am not quite sure where this odyssey will take me and my fashion, but I welcome you to follow my journey at my fashion/travel blog: http://lamodeinadifferentzipcode.blogspot.com.