Monday, June 24, 2024

Stuff: Thoughts from Abroad

By J.J. Atwell


Did you think this was going to be about me referring to myself as “a broad?” Sorry to disappoint. Instead, I’d like to relate some observations from a recent trip abroad – observations about women’s styles of course. 

There is a Different Aesthetic

My trip included England and Norway. A couple of places that are similar, but very different. I’d also allow that the places I visited were more touristy, but did include some regular locations, with regular people, as well. 

Perhaps the most interesting thing I noticed was that the professional women I saw were frequently wearing skirts and hose – very stylish outfits for sure. The fact that they were wearing hose was the odd thing for me. You see, JJ lives in the south where the temperatures are pretty high. So we seldom see women wearing hose. It’s just too hot for that. But I understand the bare leg look is not uncommon at all even in the big northern cities in the USA. 

As an aside, when getting ready for one of JJ’s group meetings, I went looking for some dark pantyhose. It wasn’t an easy search. There were few options available here where the weather is hot almost all the time. It seems like here in the USA that the regularity of women wearing hose is fading away. Perhaps, Europe is behind the curve here.

Other Differences?

Yes, I noticed interesting styles. Especially in Norway where much of what was for sale was targeted more to the colder climates. Not surprising, you say. Well yes, except that the weather while we were there was in the upper 70’s and low 80’s. So obviously there should be a market for some lighter wear. Also, lots of clothing in Norway were knitted with interesting, intricate patterns. 

Sizes are also a bit different. It seems that it’s hard to find things in larger sizes when abroad. Marked sizes are only an indication of what the garment might be. In the US we often hear the term “Vanity Sizing.” That’s the practice of making clothing larger than the standard size or marking it one size smaller. That way people can proudly say they are a size 8 when in reality they are a 10. Or a 12. 

I noticed however that sizing in Norway especially seems to run pretty small. An XL size there might be equivalent to a M or L in the US. If you go shopping abroad be sure to hold up the clothing to get a better idea if it will actually fit. 

I’ll admit that most of the women I noticed were younger and perhaps my impressions are just my old, male bias showing through. But I did come away from the trip with a different perspective on style abroad. Maybe it is simply differences in the environment or climate in the places I visited. People adapt their clothing to suit where they live. 

I’ll Be Back

I’ll be back with more Stuff in the next installment. Comments are welcome either here on the blog or by email to Jenn6nov at-sign gmail dot com. JJ is always looking for more stuff so let me know what you would like to read about.

Source: Nine West
Wearing Nine West

Sture Lagerwall femulating in the 1934 Swedish film Adventures At The Hotel
(Äventyr på hotell).


  1. AnonymousJune 24, 2024

    Dress sizing everywhere is a problem, but certainly in the UK larger sizes are to be found everywhere. Holland and Germany are good countries in which to shop as people are generally taller so bigger boned. Bras can be a problem as the larger (torso) sizes usually mean expensive specialiy stores, but what lovely feminine bras!

    Leg wear is easy. There is a great Italian chain, Calzedonia, with a fantastic selection of everything à girl could need for her legs.

  2. I want to go back to France. I went last year and concluded that I was the fattest person in Paris. I've lost 55 pounds this past year and want to go compare again. I noticed that Parisian women tended to wear flowing skirts. I was a very feminine look. You could surmise that any woman wearing jeans or sweat pants was a tourist...probably from the U.S..

  3. Over here in Blighty the trend is very much tights (hose) and skirts for professional women, it's almost expected. Even when it gets warmer. The temperatures in Norway may well be unusual, we've had more than a few heatwaves over in Europe lately, and the expectation is considerably cooller than what we've been getting - I assume that is true of Norway as it is true of the UK.

    Nowadays (long story) I tend to be more working class, and I wear a skirt and tights (hose) most days - it means I don't have to shave my legs every day. Many of my female colleagues are similar or simply wear trousers except in unusual heat, when they will wear tights (hose) as well as a skirt.

    Does that put the Uk behind the curve or, perhaps, on a different plane? Perhaps, at least in the UK, it is a class thing - it's still a thing here, but not in the way you'd expect.

  4. AnonymousJune 24, 2024

    The Brits love tights --Paula G

  5. AnonymousJune 24, 2024

    American women are so enamored with not wearing hose that I wonder if they ever stop to think that (older women for sure) their blotchy,veined legs are ugly

  6. I broke my own rule today, maybe for the first time. As I've said previously, I am out at work. I've dressed "pretty" every day at work since November 2022.
    Today I chose to wear a skort without hosiery. It was a fairly short skort, just to my knee. I usually wear nylons or tights under my dresses and skirts. If I'm wearing jeans, I'll wear knee highs. When wearing a dress or skirt, I prefer to wear hosiery to hide the scars and damage I've caused to my knees and legs.
    Today my jeans were in the laundry and I didn't realize until I was gathering my clothes to get dressed. I was stressed because I wasn't aware that we were bringing a car to the service shop on the way to my office and needed to wear something suitable to work. The black skort! It would have been weird if I did wear nylons or tights. And, I got compliments for showing off my legs! One coworker was "jelly!" She said that I have the legs for a short skirt! Woot!

    In my personal opinion, clothing sizing needs to become standardized worldwide. Buying a garment in a known size should be a simple process. A person who generally wears a dress sized 24, should be free to purchase any size 24 from any store, website and/or catalog without fear that the purchase won't fit because it's an "imported" brand or because "they run large/small."
    Shoes too.
    Size standards, especially since in-person retail shops are a dying industry.

    Thanks for your contributions and thanks for listening to my rant!


  7. I work in the Netherlands and around 50% of my female colleagues where skirts and hose in the office. As one poster states Calzedona has a create selection of hosiery as do regular shops like Hema