Imagine stumbling across a huge sale on designer dog food but you don’t have a dog. Do you go ahead and take advantage of the savings?
After all, when have you ever seen this deluxe brand of dog food on sale? What if you never run into that opportunity again?
Currently, the way I live my life does not demand high-end designer-type clothing – or dog food. I mean, when I hold my Kuel Life board meetings with my two cats in attendance, do I need a power three-piece suit worthy of The Good Wife’s Diane Lockhart? Would I wear a pure silk, Vietnamese traditional ao dai to the grocery store? Wait, I’m sure a runway-inspired bright pink and orange pantsuit will be just the ticket at my next coffee date with a girlfriend. Yes, the analogy to buying dog food when one does not own a dog is a stretch. I do have a body to hang the clothes on. However, the items I selected to make here in Vietnam are three standard deviations from my current lifestyle.
Does this mean I need a new lifestyle?
The Need For Practical Clothing:
“How I dress each day while on the road is 100% practical.”
Ironically, what I have been wearing this month in Vietnam, has really highlighted the absurdity of my new clothing selections. Since early February, I have been rotating through the same four pants — a black, khaki, gray, and print pair. That’s it. The tops aren’t that much more interesting. Of course I have three compact puffer vests (blue, orange, and pink) to really up-level my fashion panache whilst traveling. Add to that, no jewelry — except my Elyse Ryan word bracelets: UNSHAKEABLE and KUEL LIFE to remind me who I am and how I want to live.
How I dress each day while on the road is 100% practical. My clothes hide dirt and stains. They quickly dry if I am caught in the rain. They go from rugged trekking to dining without washing. The only two pairs of shoes I brought, both All Birds, were chosen specifically for their utility. The fact that I can hike, jump rope, spend countless hours walking, and then maybe clean my shoes up a bit before heading to dinner makes them perfect for extensive travel. The only reason I even brought two pairs is because, at my age, my feet and legs don’t do well wearing the exact same pair day after day.
So if you look at the life I am living, I don’t need any of the newly purchased clothing items that currently sit in my apartment in Hanoi, taunting me with the question,“How on earth will you get us back to the States with you?”.
“all my clothing fit in one medium-sized compression travel bag”
In a moment of panic late Friday night I took out my one suitcase and began placing the entire new wardrobe carefully inside the carry-on hard shell. I should say the ex-carry-on, as I had to unzip the expansion option to get them all in. Yes, I had a few suit jackets made for my partner and they are somewhat bulky. However, my stuff — the french-cuff button downs, the silk slip dresses, the backless jersey dresses, suits et al. — fill a suitcase that just a few weeks earlier had housed everything I would need to live and survive five weeks on the road.
This is saying something. Items like toilet paper, travel towel, first aid kit, head lamp, water shoes, rain gear and the like traveled over, alongside the contact lenses, epi pen, and my must-have Clientele skin care regime. Seriously, all my clothing fit in one medium-sized compression travel bag.
All of those items, including the clothing, are currently homeless waiting for me to find and purchase another suitcase. What happened? How did I get sucked into a never-ending rotation of Pinterest scrolling, followed by a WhatsApp inquiry to Daisy (the Vietnamese tailor), to a quick calculation of dong to the dollar conversion, and the inevitable “Yes, let’s make that too”?
The Addiction To New Clothes Is Real:
“Not sure there are any formal treatment centers for a tailor addiction”
The addiction came on fast and hard. It is so bad that I even offered to have clothes made for a friend, requiring yet another trip to the fabric market. A market that I found overwhelming three weeks ago and now navigate like a veteran. Even though I was selecting textures and evaluating nuances of the color pink for someone else, my brain happily lapped up the dopamine. Going through the gyrations of creating clothing art from the bolts of cloth strewn about the gargantuan market seemed to equally provide satisfaction.
Like with many addictions, the only way out is to detox. Not sure there are any formal treatment centers for a tailor addiction, so I think I need to flee the country. Although fleeing seems unlikely – it will be more like lumbering out, slowly, with not one carry-on, but two checked bags.
P.S. If you are interested in having some tailor-made amazing clothing made, reach out to Daisy. She can help you through the process – even remotely. I don’t get anything from referring Daisy except knowing I am doing a public service to all you KUEL women. Let her know I sent you, I promise you’ll get extra love. Contact her at The Royal Silk Shop. Or, call her on WhatsApp: Daisy Nguyễn +84 167 555 5171
P.S.S. If this has piqued your interest in a remote work adventure, reach out! Remote Year is an incredible organization. If you use my affiliate link, we BOTH get $$$ discounts.
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