Traveling to Denmark was something of a novelty for me. My first encounter with the Danes was at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport when we were waiting to board a plane to Copenhagen. At 5’5 I was the shortest person standing in line, minus anyone under the age of 12, and 6’1 Andrew who is usually one of the taller people in any group was considered average by Scandinavian definition.
The other observation I quickly made was how everyone was dressed. Europeans generally tend to dress well but in Copenhagen I could’ve sworn everyone was a fashion blogger. Their style was clean but not sterile, feminine but not frilly. It was an effortless, Nordic chic look that made me painfully aware of the “wear whatever’s clean” traveller look I was rocking and got me beelining to the nearest clothing store so I could make some serious self-improvements. The Danes are the most stylish group I’ve ever come across and definitely take the award for best dressed.
Their sense of fashion comes down to one thing – they understand what looks good and what doesn’t. Here are the fashion tips I’ve learned from the Danes.
1. It’s gotta fit
The way your clothes fit is more important than the designers you wear – a poor fitting item can ruin your entire outfit.
Too tight and you look uncomfortable (see point #3); too loose and you look sloppy. The key is to find a blend of both and to know when something should hug closer to the body and when it needs more slack. When clothes fit properly, it feels comfortable and compliments your body type. On that point you should always dress for the body that you currently have, not the one you aspire to have or previously had.
2. Best in black
I love wearing black and if there’s anyone who loves wearing black more than me, it’s the Danes. Yes, the happiest country in the world and everyone walks around like they’re en route to a funeral.
To better understand why, you have to understand their personality. Danes have a tendency to come off as cold and prickly. They give off a “holier-than-thou” vibe and appear unapproachable, which is far from the truth. They’re people who may need some time to open up to strangers but are incredibly friendly and warm once you get past the initial barrier. Wearing black says two things: (1) I don’t know you yet so I have a bit of a guard up and (2) I’m not giving you much to judge me on until you get to know me. Basically if you’re going for the dark, handsome, and mysterious look, black is the way to go.
There are also many practical reasons why black is their colour of choice: you never have to worry about being underdressed or overdressed, it’s universally slimming, matches with everything, and makes doing laundry a breeze!
3. Get comfortable
The Danish lifestyle revolves around the concept of ‘hygge’, which roughly means to be cozy. Their fashion is a direct result of living a life of comfort and Danes love their sneakers, messy hair buns, and big scarves.
Bike culture is huge in Denmark so outfits require a lot of multi-tasking (true to their stylish nature, you’d never see anyone wearing workout clothes on a bicycle). It’s not unusual to wear the same outfit cycling to work, at the office, then for drinks and dinner with friends in the eve. It’s so common that almost every woman dons the staple ‘bike chic’ look of tights or skinny jeans and a looser fitting top.
4. Quality > quantity
Minimalism is the backbone of Danish fashion so having closets and drawers full of ‘stuff’ doesn’t appeal to their nature. Their wardrobe consists of only a few items but what they lack in numbers is made up in the quality of these pieces. Rather than buying a bunch of cheaply made clothes, they invest in a few high quality pieces that can be worn for much longer. They don’t necessarily need to be designer items, rather look at the fabric and craftsmanship of an item to determine whether it’s a quality piece or not.
Do you agree with the Danes’ style?