Keeping your winter fashion options cool
Let’s start with some quintessential British small talk about the weather. It’s boll*cking cold out there. No, seriously help, I genuinely googled the symptoms of frost bite the other day (turned out to be a bruise don’t worry). But the point is, we’re never really, quite prepared. Sometimes it’s a choice between style and utility (that ‘new me’ Northy Puffer from first year that’s seen better days, also R.I.P Antwerp while we’re reminiscing about the good old times).
But then I think: hang on, how do people cope North of the wall? Hadrian’s, that is. I’m talking about Scandinavia. Even the word sounds like a magical ice kingdom, passing “the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops” just to get too as Buddy the Elf once said. A mystical realm of Nordic countries in which style and utility are one and the same.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all black and Fjällräven back packs, although yes, it is true that it’s mandatory (according to Instagram) for every citizen to own a merino wool turtle neck. Nords favour high quality materials that create a sense of much needed Hygge (a Danish word meaning cosy), while at the same time delivering great style. Here are five suggestions based on current trends in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, to get you through the winter months.
Five years ago in the height of skinny jean mania we would have scorned at anything other than a sausage skin tight fit. However, after the mom jeans then culottes craze, we have slowly adjusted to the idea of a baggier fit trouser. Most recently, in Scandinavia the 00’s style kick flare and boot cut jean (I didn’t think I’d say it either) has made a major comeback.
Think Lizzie McGuire x the French kids in your old language text books (the one’s you would point at and say, ‘that’s you’ to your mate). The sort of trouser that hugs the thighs but rejects the ankle and merges with your trainers. No ankle swingers here, I mean, you don’t want to end up like a Bratz doll in this cold weather after all. Next time you’re in Topshop steer well away from Leigh super Skinny or high-waisted Jonies, instead avert your gaze to the ribbed, velvet or even leather kick flares.
Fair Isle Jumper
Now, I’m not talking about your garish Bridget Jones Turkey-curry buffet Christmas jumper. You know the sort that your Uncle Tom turns up in on boxing day, Rudolph’s nose lit up as it sings a warbled rendition of ‘Rocking around the Christmas Tree’ (there’s a reason he’s still single).
I’m talking about a hand knitted, woollen jumper, itchy as sin and straight from the loom of a housewife named Agnetha or Agnes or Agatha. The sort of thing you would crack a crime in, in a Nordic noir. To buy brand new is £££, mainly because of shipping expenses but look to Asos Marketplace, Depop or Etsy for a great vintage alternative. Cardigans are making it big this season and with an 80’s revival, the chunkier the better (Top Tip: look out for the ones with the embellished silver fasteners for an authentic Scandi flourish).
One rule. The uglier the better. Nords keep them super sporty and orthopedically chunky. Somewhere along the lines of your old P.E trainers that you wouldn’t be caught dead in outside of school. This trend is hitting the big time internationally but it’s the Scandinavians who have pioneered its way. Look to Asics Gel Lyte, Nike Air Max 97, Fila Disrupter and Zara do a really good knock off Triple S by Balenciaga now too.
Athleisure is still going strong. If it hasn’t got a cocky label telling the world I’M REALLY INTO SPORTS (in a fashion way though) is it worth it? It’s exciting, it’s ambiguous. Are you a professional sportsman? Are you legging it from the feds? Are you a student who’s raided Urban Outfitters? Are you a dad gardening? Of course, with sportswear’s comfort and now apparent style status, our Nordic neighbours have lapped this trend up. Danish blogger Freja Wewer does it best, pulling off a host of track pants and joggers, whilst always maintaining that easy Scandinavian elegance. I particularly recommend looking to the Danish version of Dover Street Market, Wood Wood, for sporting collaborations.
Picture the scene, a twenty-something Swede sits outside a trendy coffee shop, the sort that serves your flat white in a shot glass on a piece of slate. They nibble on a smörgås, concealing schnapps induced hangover eyes with black cat eye sunglasses (Wood Wood, Aries sunglasses, Sale GBP 45). A packet of cigs lie on the table — straights, never rollies, preferably Marlboro Red (Smoking kills, kids). A tote bag is cast carelessly on the floor, of course lying just the right way up so passers-by can read its ironic statement.
Budget: H & M and Monki
Mid range: & other stories and Weekday
High end: Acne Studios, Ganni, and Wood Wood