Does your nationality or cultural background influence your style?
We all buy the same brands and see the same ads. Or do we? Maybe, to some extent. And yet, people in different parts of the world don’t look the same. And I’m not talking about differences in skin colour here. I’m talking about how we put outfits together, apply make-up or do our hair. Even with access to the same fashion brands, bloggers from different countries would come up with very different looks. That’s because our cultural background influences both how we see the world and what we consider beautiful, interesting and / or acceptable.
When I scroll down my Instagram feed, I can easily tell the German bloggers apart from the British ones. And in my opinion, Spanish bloggers have a very different style from, say, American bloggers. And there is definitely something that sets Nordic bloggers apart from everyone else.
And yes, I can always spot another Finn at an airport on the other side of the world long before they say anything. It’s just something about their demeanour: the way they carry themselves, and the way they dress.
We carry our cultural background with us in our attitudes and values, so why not also in our personal style? My personal style is definitely influenced by my cultural background.
Take this outfit, for instance. It’s pure Scandi Cool: minimalist and easy-going, at the same time very casual and put-together.
Functional, minimalist, understated… This is how Nordic style is usually described: the anti-dote to anything too polished or matchy-matchy. The clothes are casual and understated, the hair undone, and make-up so subtle you barely see it. The goal is to look fresh and natural. And while this description might be somewhat accurate, it also misses the point completely.
That’s because Scandi Cool, or Nordic style, is a certain relaxed attitude rather than a specific way of putting an outfit together. It’s about how your wear your clothes, not about what your wear.
So, what is Nordic style (or in this case, Finnish style) all about?
Well, this is of course just my opinion, but here goes:
It’s about standing out because you look so cool and blasé, while simultaneously blending in perfectly. It’s about not trying to impress anyone because you simply couldn’t care less about what other people think of you or your style. It’s about not trying to be anything or anyone other than yourself. And therefore it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing because your outfit doesn’t make you the person you are. But most importantly, it’s about understanding that life is never perfect. So, why should you be?
jacket: Makia / top: Esprit / trousers: Marks and Spencer (old) / shoes: Ecco (old) /
scarf: Shanghai Tang (old) / bag: Lancel (old) / sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana (old)
Can you spot cultural differences in style?
Linking up with:
Not Dead Yet Style, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, High Latitude Style, Style Elixir, A Labour of Life, Curly Crafty Mom, Fashion Should Be Fun, Color and Grace, The Wardrobe Stylist, Not Dressed As Lamb, Style Nudge, Living on Cloud Nine, A Well Styled Life, Elegance and Mommyhood. Posh Classy Mom, Nancy’s Fashion Style, Shelbee on the Edge, A Pocketful of Polka Dots Style Splash, The Fashionista Momma, Tina’s Pink Friday, Away from the Blue, Mummabstylish , Living on Cloud Nine, Mutton Years Style and I
I think the cultural differences are visible even in the fashion magazines. When I used to buy fashion mags more often, I usually turned towards French rather that Swedish magazines, as I was more inspired by the little bit softer touch the French have. And the Finnish did not and still don’t inspire me at all, fashion in them being either too bland (i.e. last century business standards) or too eccentric. I don’t travel that much, but I’ve everyday experiences from the same. At the time when I went to see my kid’s group practising and performing on the aesthetic group gymnastics, it was sometimes even very easy to spot the teams that were Russian-only speaking based on the style their parents had. And I find it interesting how there is a difference in scandi cool, when people who have moved here from other countries interpret it. I don’t know what makes that difference: maybe it is different colours chosen or the fact they do iron their clothes, but there is difference anyways. -q
I know what you mean about too bland or too eccentric: either total absence of colour, or nothing but fire engine red and other colours so bright they hurt your eyes, all mixed together. Personally, I think beige is not a colour but a crime against fashion. I mean, who looks good in beige?!? Well, my late mother did, but I still think it’s not a good look on most people. Neither is black, for that matter.
And ironing… Life is too short to waste time on something as trivial as that.
Cultural background has a notorious influence in our style. It always amaze me that red color is considered ‘too loud’ by many people around the world as it’s fairly common to wear red in Spain. A red coat is a total classic!. Lifestyle and decoration are also different, even if Ikea has standardized our houses!.
I really like your attitude and nordic style, particularly love the idea of “understanding that life is never perfect. So, why should you be?”. I believe that being ourselves in a relaxed way is the best attitude!
And I love your pictures, your casual&cool style and your scarf!
Yes, cultural background most definitely influences personal style. When I look around in Finland I see a lot of people wearing black (whatever the season), and that’s just about the worst colour for us Nordics (makes us look like ghosts). I try to take the best bits of Nordic style (emphasis on comfort, the relaxed attitude) and introduce some softer colours into the mix.
What I always love looking at Spanish bloggers is the mix of colours: very natural, earthy tones, never too bright but always very harmonious. Unfortunately, whenever I travel in Spain, I seldom buy clothes. As much as I love the colours in the shops, they’re clearly better suited for people with olive skin, not someone as pale as me.
fascinating – I was admiring your umbrellas and then started admiring your scarves and now I am admiring you 🙂 I am a Kiwi living in Scotland so when i go home to NZ I no longer fit their aesthetic (a LOOOOOOT of black – we have the All Blacks after all and people are either very edgy – muted and well cut clothing with maybe a beautiful bright mohair jumper or hmmm how do i say this, a bit chaotic and too desperately boho at times). In Scotland and in my office people are just muddling along in the middle – nothing too one way or the other apart from the younger women who look much more put together but still no one dares to stand out much. A really interesting read
Thank you so much, Juliet.
I guess black has become the universal neutral everywhere… A pity, as it suits very few people. But for sports it’s a different thing, of course…
That is very interesting! This summer I found the Spanish much more inspiring that the French fashion on our trip but I am wondering if it is because of where we were (much smaller towns/villages in France vs more beachy/larger towns in Spain).
Spanish fashion is often quite interesting. French fashion is a bit more conservative, in my opinion. Whenever I go to Spain I always wish they’d make some of the clothes in ‘my colours’, too (=something a bit more suited to my natural colouring, i.e. that flatters someone with a pinkish undertone to their skin).
That gorgeous scarf adds the perfect pop. So happy you linked up your gorgeousness with The STYLE SIX!!
I find it fascinating to observe how people dress in different parts of the world dress. I was chatting to a lady on the train recently, who’d just returned from Bologna. She was describing how the women were all dressed so stylishly, and it reminded me of my trips to the Naples area of Italy. The glamour really made an impression on me. I love to people watch in Paris too – much more understated, but still very chic. I love your casual look with the pretty silk scarf! Thanks for linking up!
Yes, it’s fascinating how different style is in different parts of the world, isn’t it? But the good thing is we can find influences in so many places these days, and adapt them to suit our own lifestyles.
It’s nice to people watch in places and second guess where they might be from. It’s true we all have different styles and it’s nice to see the varying fashion ideas. Thanks for sharing on #chicandstylish – love your scarf Tiina. xx
Thanks, Jacqui. Yes, people watching can be interesting, and very educational.
Tiina, this post made me think about things I never really considered, but you definitely hit on a great explanation of how cultural differences are reflected in the way we dress. Even in different locations in the US, you can see vast differences in style, for example people in the south dress a bit differently from people in the north or the far western states. Obviously climate differences impact clothing choices as well, but I have seen cultural differences in fashion just between two towns that may be very near each other geographically, yet vastly different culturally.
I love this blue gray scarf paired with your burgundy sweater. The color palette is very striking on you. Thanks so much for linking up with me this week.
Yes, cultural differences have a huge influence on the way we dress (or think, or the values we have, etc), even within one country. The way we look (the clothes we wear, amen-up etc) actually says a lot about us and our background, whether we like it or not.
Your scarf is beautiful and your bag is so fun too! 🙂
I definitely think culture plays a huge part in how people dress – and I think even in my country it’s different! We have offices in Sydney and you can always tell whenever the Sydney people are in town at a big work event – they are all in tailored suits and ties. My boss wore a tie to the office the other week and took it off halfway through the day as he was getting so many jokes about it, ha! Queensland is just a lot more laid back in general with fashion!
Hope that had a great weekend! I went out to a fashion show, it was a lot of fun and a bit different for me! 🙂
Thank you so much for joining the #weekdayWearLinkUp 🙂
It’s amazing, isn’t it, to find such huge cultural differences even within one country?