Horned Viking hats not included. From Ikea, Swedish meatballs, to the discovery of insulin, we owe many things to the Scandinavians. Now it’s time to add style to the list, because Scandinavian fashion has crossed the pond, and fortunately so.
The Nordic nations’ egalitarian social views extend to their views on clothing, i.e. traditional gender roles are irrelevant. Scandinavian women love masculine pieces like trousers, oversized coats and brogue shoes, whereas Nordic men aren’t afraid to rock slimmer, tailored silhouettes. Both men and women favor simplicity and comfort over flashy and over-the-top designs. While many American women love wearing bold color and prints, the Nords prefer a color palette of neutrals like black, grey, navy and white, with the occasional and strategic pop of color. But don’t think that because the Nords aren’t adventurous with color, that their style is boring. Instead they focus on high quality pieces that are well tailored, flattering, and will get them through cold weather.
Their love of practical pieces is also evident in choice of accessories: Nike and New Balance sneakers instead of stilettos, and backpacks instead of fussing with carrying a purse or briefcase. Although these accessories may sound like something a tourist would wear, the key for Scandinavians is to pick up-to-date, sleeker versions. For example, instead of a basic Jansport backpack, they’ll opt for one by Swedish brand Fjällräven. The New Balances they pick are far from the ones you’d see a gym teacher wearing, but rather retro-inspired styles like the 420s or 574s. From navigating city centers via bicycle, or trekking across cobblestone streets, Scandinavians need accessories that will help get them from A to B as stylishly as possible.
Everyone probably owns at least one thing from Swedish giant H&M. But H&M sister companies like Cos (short for Collection of Style), & Other Stories, and Monki are all worth checking out, especially now that these brands are becoming more accessible for Americans. & Other Stories’ first American store opened in Soho in New York City on October 17th, while Cos’ first stateside shop opened in Los Angeles on October 30th. Monki as of now has no American stores, but you can find them on online retailer ASOS.
If you are looking to invest in a well-made coat, sweater or pair of boots, look no further than Sweden’s Acne Studios. A long time favorite of fashion editors and bloggers, Acne has gained a reputation for stylish, yet functional pieces. From mohair knits to shearling-lined coats to sturdy Chelsea boots, Acne doesn’t compromise practicality in the name of fashion, true to the Scandinavian style ethos.
If you can’t book a flight to a Scandinavian country any time soon, no worries, because you can easily get inspired by browsing through a number of fashion blogs. Some notables include Elin Kling, arguably the queen of Scandinavian fashion. Kling is a master at combining luxurious basics to create laidback, minimalistic outfits. There’s Caroline Blomst’s blog which along with sharing photos of her outfits, also profiles other stylish women in Stockholm. Like most Scandinavian women, Marie Hindkaer Wolthers is a pro at mixing style and function, as well as high end and low end pieces in her ensembles. Veronica Mike Solheim’s blog is primarily in her native Norwegian, but you don’t need to understand the text to appreciate her effortless style.