How Studying Abroad Helped Me Love My Clothes More

Nick Sheppard
May 21, 2019

I am a fashion lover and always have been and that’s my truth. Flash back to 11-year-old me and I’d be sporting a hound’s tooth sweater vest and a hat from Nordstrom—not a fedora, Brenda, don’t try to come for me. When I knew I was coming abroad for an entire year I didn’t want to overpack because I didn’t want to be that American showing up to my homestay and take up half the itty-bitty apartment. Plus, I knew I would come back home for Christmas, so I just kept reminding myself not to go crazy. I went through the motions we all did of trying to pick out the best things to take and what I felt I could do without. It’s hard choosing between your babies, but it had to be done! After the final pair of shoes was thrown on the “take” pile, I felt I had enough to work with.

Living in Madrid with just a slice of my wardrobe got to be sort of difficult the first semester. For the first few months I was satisfied with what I brought, simply throwing on my holographic pink Doc Martens when I felt a little uninspired. That trick quickly became less and less entertaining to me. I had to get creative, so I turned my boredom with my lack of variety into an opportunity to experiment with pairings I hadn’t tried before. There was one night in particular when I just got in a mood and felt like planning an outfit, so I picked out a simple white tank, my black cropped dress pants, pink Docs, big black leather belt, and then consulted my eyeliner Pinterest board. Sounds a little simple, I know, but I never ever wear sleeveless shirts by themselves and had never drawn on a single cobalt blue lightning bolt where a wing would go and worn it out of the house. I was feeling my lil baby fit! Going outside of my normal combinations renewed my confidence in the pieces I owned and made me feel less bored when I repeated an outfit for the ump-teenth time. When I did feel like adding something new to my rotation, I tried to make it small but effective. For example, instead of buying a new shirt or pair of pants I went for something like yellow cheetah print socks and shimmery lavender eyeshadow.

This second semester I’ve had the feeling of being bored with my closet less and less. Saying that, I have bought principal garments this semester (meaning pants, tops, etc.), but those purchases came from being excited by those certain garments not from boredom with what I already owned. I fell into a routine of looks that I felt comfortable and confident in, and my closet really only consisted of about 20 principal garments plus six pairs of shoes. There are still many more clothes items I have hanging in my closet and sitting in drawers in my house in Houston, but if those were all taken away today I don’t think I would miss them. Studying in a European setting, where space is limited and my attention is focused on experiencing new things rather than acquiring new things, has given me the opportunity to really live and be myself in the clothes I’ve brought with me and refine my style to its most personal potential.

Nick Sheppard

<p>Hiya, beautiful people! I'm Nick Sheppard: a guy who dances in public like it was his bedroom and sings as loud on the street as he does in the shower. I like my steaks medium rare, my go-carts fast, my mornings early, and my nails done. If you're looking for a hug and a smile, I'm your girl. But, <em>cuidado</em>, if you make me laugh, I am a cackler. I'm a firm believer in positivity and never, ever, never ever ever<br>saying "I'm tired". So listen up, children! You might just have a good time.</p>

2019 Spring
Home University:
University of Texas - Austin
Houston, TX
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