The Scandinavian minimalist look has made its mark in fashion. It’s often labeled as “the minimalist chic,” and a lot of people all over the world love to copy this look as much as everyone seems to dig the Nordic house interior.
To be honest, I find it a bit boring at times whenever I find myself in a Scandinavian airport (Stockholm, Copenhagen, or Helsinki) and realize that everyone is just wearing neutral-colored outfits. As time goes on, I’ve learned to love the beauty of minimalist dressing. It doesn’t always have to be boring as long as you know how to style and carry your outfit. In fact, when I became a mom, I believed that minimalist dressing was the best way to go. It’s quick, simple, and easy to put together but still looks classy and sassy.
These are 10 simple ways you can dress like a Scandinavian woman:
Opt for neutral colors
Scandinavian women (and men) are known for wearing a lot of black, white, gray, and beige. There’s a joke that you are not in your uniform if you are not wearing a neutral-colored outfit. Personally, I would say to invest in a lot of black. Try to have every clothing piece in black, such as turtlenecks, pants, blazers, and coats, because in Scandinavia, you can never go wrong with black! Other neutral colors are also common, but in Scandinavia, it’s perfectly normal to see that at least 60-70% of the people are dressed in an all-black outfit, especially during the winter.
Invest in quality basics
Rather than buying a lot of trendy pieces, Scandinavians prefer to invest in high-quality basics that will last for years. This includes items like a classic trench coat, a well-fitting pair of jeans, and a timeless leather bag. I could say, though, that more people, especially the younger ones, follow fashion trends that are popular on social media, but the majority of women still invest in a lot of basics. Consider curating your own capsule wardrobe!
If you don’t want to freeze when you are out, then you better master the art of layering. Layering is key to staying warm in Scandinavian countries, but it also creates a chic and effortless look. I like to layer a turtleneck under a dress or pair a blazer over a sweater. Note: Blazers are a must! Oversized ones are more popular but I also think it doesn’t fit everyone’s frame so go for the blazer that fits your body frame.
Add a pop of color
While neutral colors are popular, some Scandinavians also like to add a pop of color to their outfit. A bright red scarf or a statement bag can add some interest to an otherwise neutral look. I personally do this because I feel like a little pop of color gives a brighter feeling, especially during the gray winter days.
Keep it simple
The key to Scandinavian style is simplicity. Avoid over-accessorizing or wearing too many patterns. Instead, focus on clean lines and minimalist pieces. I love to accessorize, especially when I wear a black or plain outfit, but I choose accessories that make a statement but not too much. For example, I like wearing statement earrings in gold or silver that still look classic.
Choose practical (but stylish) footwear
Comfortable, practical footwear is a must in Scandinavian countries because you have to do a lot of walking or chasing trams and trains. Opt for stylish yet practical shoes like ankle boots, sneakers, or loafers. Since I am flat-footed, I need to wear footwear with a little heel. It took me a while to find one that I was really comfortable with, but surprisingly, I bought a pair of boots from Uniqlo that were unbelievably comfortable and super affordable too! It was way more comfortable than my designer boots from Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Another pair of boots I love is from Nicholas Kirkwood, which is also comfortable and a great statement piece. As for sneakers, Veja is popular among young women and I own a pair but personally don’t find it comfortable.
To add interest to an outfit without adding too much color or pattern, try mixing different textures. For example, pair a chunky knit sweater with a leather skirt.
Dress for the weather
Scandinavians really know how to dress for the cold weather. Invest in a warm coat, hats, gloves, and scarves, but during spring, most women start to wear colored outfits then you have summer when people has completely let go of the need to wear black. I see a lot of women in blue and white dresses in the summer so you can assume that these are the summer outfit colors. Scandinavia really comes to life in the summer, so everything and everyone is more colorful!
Embrace oversized silhouettes
Oversized silhouettes are popular in Scandinavian fashion. Try pairing an oversized sweater with skinny jeans or a loose-fitting dress with ankle boots.
Recycle and be sustainable
Sustainable fashion is a big trend in Scandinavia, and many women embrace recycling or upcycling old pieces. Don’t be afraid to repurpose old clothing items or buy second-hand pieces to incorporate into your wardrobe. Second hand shops are popular in Scandinavia. In Sweden, I like to go to Arkivet. They have great second hand pieces and you can also bring some of your own clothes there either for selling or donating.
Everyone can dress like a Scandinavian. After all, minimalist dressing is not limited to a particular region. For me, the most important thing is to dress according to your own preferences as long as it’s appropriate for the occasion and the weather. I always tell my friends that the way you dress is a reflection of your personality or mood, so I try to remember that whenever I pick my outfits. Always take pride in your own style but you can always take inspiration from different styles all over the world.
These are some of my outfits in Sweden that I know fit Scandinavian fashion.
I’ve also listed some of the Scandinavian brands that have great pieces to help you curate your own Scandinavian wardrobe.
These are all personal recommendations. I am no style expert in any way, although I am a fashion enthusiast. The tips I have listed are based on the style lessons I’ve learned while living in Scandinavia and going through a style evolution myself.
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