Since I’ve been in Sweden I’ve somehow managed to rip three pairs of jeans (In my defense one pair was during my two month stay during the summer!). Maybe this isn’t the type of thing one normally shouts to the world, but here it is. By no means would anyone consider me to be, for lack of a better word, fat. I’m only 5’2 and 115 pounds (Hold on, I need to start using this darn metric system! 160cm and 52Kg) However, I have put on a few “Happy Pounds” as my best friend defined them. Three years ago I was probably more like 105 pounds (47kg) and this year I have fluctuated to 120 pounds (54kg), and I am actually proud of that! I have always wanted to be a healthier weight and now I have happy pounds to help! I eat when I’m happy and I am happy when I eat. By no means do I think I have put on too much weight, but my pants don’t seem to agree! I never realized that just a few pounds can make you want to walk around with your pants unbuttoned. And who can blame me? I am around so much new and exciting Swedish cuisine! Oh, how I love everything topped with lingon berries and/or a creamy sauce. Fresh potatoes and strawberries in the heart of the summer. Meatballs, herring, salmon, and potato casserole all year round. And the traditional ham and lutefish during Christmas. Anyway, now that we have narrowed down a few of the culprits behind my ripped jeans, lets move on. (I will post plenty about food in the future)
The point is I needed to get new pants which means I needed to go shopping. Clothing shopping in Sweden really confuses me. The prices, the sizes, the measurements- I’m not there yet. The first two pants I try on are just to understand what size I am, (the smart thing would have been to look up a conversion table.) 36, 38? 27 x 33? These look like mens clothing sizes to me! Which number is the waist and which is the length? Now, don’t get me wrong. I think this makes more sense than saying I am a size 2 or 4- what is that anyway? At least these are actual dimensions. To my relief the descriptions are in English, so I know if I am looking at a high or normal waist, regular or slim cut. I was surprised to encounter the same issue shopping in Sweden as I did in New York: What is with all the slim cut jeans?? Why do people want to walk around without circulation to their legs? I am not paying money for pants that I have to struggle to get in and out of, and that cause pain!
499, 599, 399. Swedish prices. As I mentioned earlier I am getting better at understand the value of an amount of SEK, however it gets harder as the numbers get higher. One USD is about 6.7 SEK (right now), so I always assume 1:7 which means means that 70 kronor is about 10 dollars, which is the way I estimate prices, in relation to domination of 10. Then we get to the 300+ range and I have to think slightly harder.
Anyway, back to pants. I have a 20% coupon for one item so I am excited to go shopping. I’m discouraged by the 499 price tags (75 bucks, yes I think that’s expensive!), but figure the coupon will make it worth it to get a nice pair of jeans. I was wrong. I instead went to H&M (Which is another Swedish based store by the way) and found three pairs of jeans on the sale rack for 100 SEK each! That’s 15 bucks!
So, it might not have been an exciting day, but a victorious one. Sweden does have higher taxes and slightly higher prices on certain things, but the more I shop the more I feel like the prices are reasonable and not so far from what I’m used to.