When it comes to Scandinavian style, some of the component parts might be tangible, but the formula remains indefinable. This new blog series is a quest to find the hallmarks of Scandi chic. Four Scandinavian women talk about their style and influences.
Before we begin, what images do the words Scandi chic evoke in you?
Perhaps it’s clean sweeping lines, or forms and materials inspired by nature. Or you might say joyful textiles paired with tranquil whites. ‘Functional’ might even come to mind, an aesthetic stripped away of anything extraneous. However you define it, Scandi chic has a calm, uncluttered quality. It’s sublime simplicity. Never over-worked.
Like anything pared down to its essentials, what remains needs to work with precision, both functionally and aesthetically. Simple might be good, but it’s notoriously difficult to master.
It’s easy to mistake a look so simple and seemingly effortless with being, well, simplistic. Show me a stylish Scandi woman, and you’ll probably find someone well versed in design, (though not necessarily designer). She’ll have a handle on functional pieces and how these wardrobe heroes can go from bicycle to cocktails. Above all, she won’t be eclipsed by her clothes because they sit so comfortably with her shape and her personality.
Anne Sofie Danekilde, Marketing and Events Manager, UK-Danish Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m sorry for my appearance today,” Danekilde says as we meet for our interview. “I’m flying to Denmark today, and have a million things to do.”
There’s no reason to apologize. She’s simply-dressed and makeup-free, but still exudes that certain Scandi something that I’ve come to capture.
“For me, style is about having fun,” she says. “My wardrobe is full of cool, comfortable, relaxed clothes. I buy things that make me happy. My basics are simple, usually black and functional, and then I add something interesting and colourful to bring a look to life.”
Danekilde is a huge fan of Danish designers. “I’m so proud of Danish design – I love it! I’m inspired by it. Having grown up in an environment so full of design, we’re always thinking about it.” This translates nicely into her shopping habits: “My clothes are all adaptable – I don’t buy things that I can only wear one way.” She adores By Malene Birger, who makes “elegant, wearable clothes.”
So far, we ‘ve got good basics and functional, adaptable pieces. But there’s something more to Danekilde’s palpable Scandi cool.
“My generation is embracing more individuality. In the past, Danish people all dressed pretty much alike. People didn’t really stand out.” She talks about the old, unwritten Law of Jante, which discouraged individualism and personal success in favour of the collective.
“We’re so equal in Denmark, and that’s a great thing. But I think people are more aware of expressing their own style and individuality now.”
She mentions Pandora jewellery (“Danish design!” she adds), as an example of how women are cherry-picking and weaving their own personal stories into their accessories. “Today’s women want to be more individual.”
As I wrap up the interview, I realize there’s no logic in trying to break up Danekilde’s style into its component parts. Today she’s not wearing anything lavish or designer, no artfully applied makeup or one-off vintage marvels. But the sum of the parts is something simple, yet powerful.
Maybe that’s the secret. Her clothes are infused with her temperament, ease and enthusiasm. “Clothes can make your day,” she says. And because they can create your attitude, I only buy clothes that make me happy.”
Next week, Anne-Marie Skau on looking practical, yet cool.