Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Swedish Uniform

My friend, well, we'll just call him Houston, is from Texas. Houston has been living the life of a jet-setting expat for several years. He has lived in the Netherlands for a few years, studied his masters here in Stockholm, and is currently breaking the hearts of beautiful Russian girls in St. Petersburg.

When Houston arrived in Stockholm, it was quite evident that he was American, from the way he talked, the way he walked, and even more obviously, the way he dressed. Not that there was anything wrong with the way he dressed. Houston is actually quite good-looking; he just wasn't living up to his full potential. Like many American guys, he insisted on buying pants that were three sizes too big, and wore shirts that would have fit an NFL linebacker. And he seemed to have a preference for plaid. Of various colors and patterns, but lots and lots of plaid. And he suscribed to the belief that tennis shoes go with just about anything, including business wear.

Upon going out to various venues at night, Houston began to get a bit style-conscious, and wondered outloud if his wardrobe wasn't quite up to snuff. So then he asked my beautiful friend, whom I shall call Dr. Style, to be his personal shopper. And so the process of Swedification began.

By the time Dr. Style was done with Houston, she had convinced him that he looks great in blue, had informed him of his actual size in pants and shirts, and in other words, had worked a miracle. Houston appeared that evening in what I like to call his "Swedish uniform." He had the slim fitting jeans, the tight button-up shirt with just enough buttons unbuttoned at the collar, the shiny black shoes, and yes, ladies and gentleman, the grand finale, the corduroy blazer. Houston looked, well, Swedish.

The only thing missing was the little tuft of hair at the front of his scalp sculpted very carefully into a perfect little point or the mop to be slicked straight back. Houston, unfortunately a victim of early male baldness, had no hair to sculpt.

As a final note, I should mention that this "uniform" is most likely to be seen around Stureplan and Vasastan. Those creative types, you know, the ones sporting the "artist uniform," roaming the streets of Södermalm -- looking slightly unkept, trying really hard to look like they didn't try at all, the chin-length hair hanging down over one eye, the converse sneakers -- are an entirely different species all together.


Blogger S. said...

But what if you're really not trying but end up looking like that anyway? Good description of American style by the way.

3:08 AM  
Blogger Fatima said...

Svengelska...Have you visited the food shop named "Willys". That usally makes americans laugh!

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Mikael said...

I didn't really know that swedes had such a typical dressing style that one actually could tell that the person in question is from sweden :) I wonder if an american fashion expert could tell that i'm from sweden if i were to visit America, just by checkin' out my everyday outfit.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Curiosa said...

I'm not sure if the science is that exact, Mikael. However, here's an example that is a dead giveaway (maybe not that you're Swedish, but European at least). Go to the beach in CA wearing a speedo. You are going to stand out from all of the guys wearing board shorts. (And if you are spending a lot of time checking out the girls in bikinis, you might "stand out" in more ways than one.) :)

2:07 PM  
Blogger Ainy Törnquist said...

I think somehow born swedish can tell another Swedish even if they meet them out of Sweden. At least I do and I ont understand how I can do that but usually it is true. Maybe it was true as you have written "The Swedish Uniform" Cool.

2:39 AM  

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