It seems that anything Nordic is having a moment now
We’ve all seen countless articles about Hygge, and Lagom, and now Sisu. And for the most part, the (usually non-Nordic) bloggers/journalists/writers extolling the virtues of what they call ‘Nordic lifestyle trends’ have no idea what they’re talking about. I admit, as a Finn, I’m definitely not an expert on hygge (Danish) or lagom (Swedish), but trust me, I know exactly what sisu is. And I suspect there’s more to hygge than just lighting candles and wearing grey socks, too…
But I don’t want to turn this post into a lecture on cultural appropriation…
I actually wanted to talk about Scandi style (call it ‘Scandi Cool’, ‘Nordic Minimalism’, ‘Scandinista Style’ or whatever). Or, more precisely, about what it is and what it isn’t. Because another thing I’m tired of is how often it is misrepresented as simply wearing basics in neutral colours.
Let’s make this clear once and for all: the shape of your garments, or colours (whether bright or neutral) have absolutely nothing to do with it. Scandi style is all about attitude.
It boils down to the idea that what you’re wearing is not important; you are. And because life is too short to think about what to wear, clothes should fit the body, not the other way round.
It’s quite simple, really, if you think about it: there’s a reason why you wear what you wear. Clothes have a purpose: to protect you from the elements. However, they should not hinder your natural movements. Or, to simplify: once you put your clothes on, you don’t want to think about them anymore. Because you have more important things to do, like living your life.
So, it goes without saying that clothes (and shoes) should be comfortable. But how do you measure comfort?
What’s the most comfortable piece of clothing you have? I’m guessing your pyjamas, or the old t-shirt you sleep in. Well, that’s how comfortable all of your clothes should be.
Of course, even though your clothes should both look and feel comfortable enough to sleep in, they should not look as if you actually did. You want to look cool, not sloppy, after all. Anyway, that’s why you should only ever wear high-end natural materials. It also helps that they tend to last longer.
Because that’s another characteristic of Nordic Style: longevity. Everything you buy should last several seasons. There are two reasons for this. First, we Nordics consider slavishly following trends sort of, well, pathetic. Or trivial, vain, and shallow. Besides, nobody takes a Fashion Victim seriously…
And the other reason? Well, look at any studies on standard of living, and I bet it’s the 5 Nordic countries topping the list. Well, guess what, high standard of living means high cost of living: high taxes (which we are happy to pay, considering what we get in return) and high prices. In other words, clothes are just too damn expensive to be disposable. We have to make the most of them, and make them last. Therefore, something classic is a better choice than the latest fad that ends up in the landfill after the second wash.
OK, so clothes in simple shapes and quality materials, is that it? Well, not quite. Remember, Nordic Style is all about attitude. It’s also about how you wear your clothes, and about how you present yourself.
First, you should wear all your clothes with the same nonchalance you wear that ratty old t-shirt you sleep in. Even if the garment in question is a delicate vintage dress.
And by presenting yourself I mean personal grooming. As in less makeup, and forget about blow drying. However, a natural look is not the same as ‘a natural makeup’ (you know, spending 90 minutes piling on a dozen or so different products in order to look as if you’re not wearing any makeup). Again, the mantra is: life’s too short to spend it putting on makeup and doing your hair. Besides, the weather will mess up your hair anyway (whatever the season), and too much makeup is just, well, tacky.
The Nordic beauty ideal is the shower (or sauna) fresh look: no makeup really means no (or hardly any) makeup. A personal confession: I usually spend about 10-15 minutes styling my hair (because I have naturally curly hair that refuses to negotiate on the style of the day) and about 5 minutes max doing my makeup (which means putting on some lipstick and a little bit of powder, maybe a dabble of eye shadow if I’m making a special effort). And yes, this is the amount of grooming you see in my blog photos, too.
So, there you have it. Nordic Style requires a certain attitude to life (focusing on what you do instead of what you look like) and style (don’t take it any more seriously than you take yourself, i.e. ‘who cares, just be yourself and stop trying so hard’), and going with the flow (i.e. dressing for the weather and the occasion, in that order).
And to illustrate the points I’m making, I decided to take the stereotypical elements of Nordic Style (neutral colours, basics, minimal accessories) and put together a bit more authentic version (for the record, only my shoes are a Nordic brand). Yet, I dare say this outfit looks nothing like the ‘Nordic Style’ photos you see in popular fashion mags…
t-shirt: PBO (old) / trousers: Grizas / bag: Chanel /
sunglasses: Dolce and Gabbana (old) / shoes: Marimekko
What’s your version of minimalism?
Linking up with:
Not Dead Yet Style, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, High Latitude Style, The Pleated Poppy, Style Elixir, A Labour of Life, Doused in Pink, Curly Crafty Mom, Fashion Should Be Fun, Rachel the Hat, Sincerely Jenna Marie, More Pieces of Me, Color and Grace, The Wardrobe Stylist, Not Dressed As Lamb, Style Nudge, Coco et La Vie en Rose, Living on Cloud Nine, A Well Styled Life, Elegance and Mommyhood. Posh Classy Mom, Nancy’s Fashion Style, Shelbee on the Edge Over 50 Feeling 40 A Pocketful of Polka Dots Style Splash, The Fashionista Momma, Tina’s Pink Friday, Fake Fabulous. Lazy daisy Jones, Vanity and Me, Sheela Writes, Jodie’s Touch of Style, Glass of Glam, Mummabstylish