If you search for "Scandi fashion" on Google images, you'll see streams of minimal, monochrome outfits. But that's what you expected, right? The truth is, Scandinavian style in 2017 is far more varied than a uniform of COS sack dresses, Cheap Monday skinny jeans and Acne Studios leather jackets. And we know this because we recently tapped a group of stylish girls from this part of Europe: They all confirmed that our original perception of this region's style codes no longer rings true.
While there is no shortage on the internet of fashion pieces examining the purist tropes of this cool set, in real life, you'll find that Scandi style is more playful and experimental than the black, white, grey and navy layered looks we've always referenced as theirs. It is, of course, impossible to generalise the style of one city, let alone a group of countries, but there are some interesting trends that do come up time and again. Keep reading to get the inside tips on how to dress like a Scandinavian now.
It's all about the mix
Jeanette Friis Madsen, the fashion editor of Copenhagen-based Costume Magazine, tells us: "It's all about mixing and showing 'all' of your personalities in one outfit. Personally, I've never been very into monochrome, as I'm too feminine, but there has been a trend of minimalism here in Scandinavia, but people are now much more relaxed. They are not afraid of experimenting, and social media makes people want to stand out of the crowd, and you just don't do that when you're only wearing black, white, grey and dark blue."
Copenhagen-based stylist Emili Sindlev agrees, telling us: "I personally think (as you may see reflected in my style) that Scandi style is not just defined by minimalistic pieces, but is more a question of personalising what you wear. You might wear the same blazer or jacket as ten other girls on the street, but you want to wear it differently and in your own way. I think that might be the most misunderstood thing about Scandinavian style — it is not just black and white, there is room for playfulness and experimentation too."
Scandis are smart with their spending
"We look at the big international brands, but it is not our priority to spend all of our money on clothes," Jeanette tells us. "We probably buy a few investment accessories, but then we have to create something similar with high street and vintage, and in that way, we are creating our own style, but without actually really knowing it."
Invest in your everyday staples
Sandra Hagelstam of 5 Inch and Up believes the key to dressing like a Scandi is investing in the pieces you wear every single day. "It's all about having great working basics—jeans and tees that are supported by tailored pieces, like blazers and trousers. Simplicity is key, but fun details like big earrings and colourful bags are what adds personality. The formula is simplicity, but it's the details and accessories that make the outfit. Everyone has these staples in their closet, and the effortless style is both easy and appealing. It's the play of contrast that makes a simple outfit interesting over and over again."
Play up to the seasons
"In Scandinavia, we live and breath for the seasons," Emili explains. "We appreciate spring, summer, autumn and winter equally, and I think that is reflected in our style. We love sweaters and jackets and big boots, but flowers and bright colours are just as beautiful in the spring. With every new season comes a new opportunity to dress and express yourself differently." Jeanette believes it's the climate that makes Scandis so playful with how they dress: "The good thing about the weather here is that we are forced to wear layers, which also gives you the opportunity to have a very personal and unique look."
The trick to Scandi tailoring
Sandra thinks most people assume that Scandis wear classic tailored or smart pieces; however, she explains: "These suited separates (like button-down shirts and cigarette pants) often come in a variety of updated, trendy twists. Add kick flares to a pair of cropped trousers and wide sleeves to the white shirt for a simple outfit to look fashion-forward. The outfits are usually built around at least one classic item that gets an update with a modern silhouette or styling."
Scandis are practical dressers
One thing that's clear? Comfort is a priority. Copenhagen-based blogger Sophia Roe of the Roe Diary says, "What I've noticed is women in Scandinavia, including myself, like to dress practically and comfortably in a fashionable way. On the street, you will never see a woman in high heels and a tight dress, at least not on a weekday, but she will always be aware of her appearance. The key is to be understated."
Play with statement accessories
Sophia says that people often don't realise that Scandis love their accessories: "I think that the perception of the Scandi style is that we only dress in greyscale and are very 'safe' in our choices. However, more and more women are getting more daring, with an eye on the detail. She'll wear a black outfit and spice it up with either a colourful nail polish, a playful printed T-shirt or an eye-catching accessory."
For more shopping edits, see the new-in pieces that are bound to sell out this week.