Scandinavians are some of the most well-dressed (and best looking) people in the world; making an outfit look like ‘all this’ just happened, without effort.
From Norway to Finland, Denmark to Iceland, Scandinavia has some of the coldest, darkest winter days, but also the longest, summer ones too; meaning the men have really had to the master the art of dressing functionally, without shunning what it means to look good.
You may not be six foot tall, blond and chiselled, but let’s take a look at what it takes to feel quintessentially Scandinavian. Then, click through the slideshow for key fashion brands that are native to this Nordic land – of beautiful people.
Breaking It Down
The Scandinavian is effortless; accentuated by his taste for simple, elegance – without sacrificing his luxury style. Winter is when the northern European gent shines, having learned the art of layering early on, as well as the importance of quality fabrics; be it mohair, wool, cashmere and fur, to keep warm.
Denim is everything to this gent. Purveyors of the raw, the jean is seen as an investment piece, underpinning both casual and smarter outfits with an air of cool always thrown in. Luxury sneakers help Scandinavians retain such street chic, as well as their mastery of minimalism – this region’s biggest contribution to fashion yet.
Making sleek work of Scandinavia’s infamous minimalist style, ‘sports chic’ is perfect for day-to-night occasions and looking killer on an off-duty day. Start with the palette – monochrome and dark.
Mixing navy, black and midnight blues adds definition to the otherwise streamline, wintry outfit. As does, the changing up of fabrics: leather, wool and neoprene (think wetsuit material) enhancing this melange of activewear and luxury – creating sports chic.
Symmetry is the third element. Jackets should be square, with clear, clean lines and the absence of utility details such as zips, pockets and cords. An absolute no-no is print and patterns, but for a touch of personality, play around with accessories – beanies, gloves or leather bags – or the silhouette of pants, venturing into the depths of the drop-crotch trouser, if you’re confident enough to go that low.
Tailoring turns rather playful, in the physical and aesthetic sense. While the slim-fit, sharpness remains, the locals look to relaxed, cotton suiting for suits that move. Again, paring back the details is key; with men snubbing socks, belt and tie – letting the monochrome tones and cut of the suit be the feature.
Other times, mid-blue is a key suit fabric, laying down a palette for quirky accessories to pop; be it striped socks, polka dot ties, and camo pocket squares – in one outfit.
The common nuance is the updated leather shoe. From formal monks to Derby brogues, the play-it-up sartorialist is not complete without sneaker-hybrid lace-ups with comfortable, white soles for an active finish to tailoring.
Rail, hail, sleet, snow or shine, a Scandinavian is never without his bike. And such transportation requires clothing that permits motion without looking like gym gear.
The foundation of this look is footwear, ranging from tennis shoes or chucks to more retro-inspired sneakers such as New Balance in vibrant reds, greens and blues. In winter, outerwear tends to be functional, like a hooded parka, with pockets to spare, carrying those essentials – phone, wallet and keys.
The lightness of a cardigan or an open shirt on a tee serves the summer biker well, but the essential cycling piece is the pant; ranging from relaxed denim (rolled cuffs taper the wider leg) to neutral-coloured cotton chinos – allowing much needed movement for pedalling. Ride on.
The close, wintry blows of the North Pole make Scandinavians masters of layering. And you won’t find shapeless puffer jackets or hideous thermal ski-pants on these streets. Instead, the men know how to mix formal and casual pieces, layering lustrous woollen topcoats over casual gear.
Texture is reinforced with a fleck-ish tweed mac in neutral grey, worn refreshingly with a graphic print sweater, and a regular fit tee – the bottom poking through to break on the busyness. Pants are relaxed sitting bunched over luxury kicks, for extra easiness.
Elsewhere, a shawl cardigan with rib detail redefines the navy blazer as an almost-waistcoat when layered under the knit. A plain tee could be replaced with a button-up for a night-time look, while the dark denim jeans – belted, and leather folio holder are chic additions for a day-to-soiree look.
“Scandinavians find the elusive middle ground between looking refined and polished, and sporty and comfortable. Their tailored, more serious looks are always injected with a bit of character, whether its via the flash of a witty sock or stylish neckwear.” – Laura Wassermann, Trend Consultant.
Click through the slide show for key Scandinavian brands to know.