Scandinavia seems to have everything sorted. With their relaxed approach to working hours and an ability to whip up a damn good cinnamon bun, it’s no wonder that Scandinavian countries often top lists of the world’s happiest.
They’ve got a strong style reputation too – from Danish-born Astrid Andersen’s technicolour menswear to Acne Studios’ unconventional casting of an 11-year old boy as the face of its womenswear collection, Scandi brands are renowned for doing things differently.
And after a few seasons of bossing the front row, the trend’s now crossing over into the mainstream. Which means it’s time to stock up on lightweight knits, cropped trousers, classic white trainers… and denim kimonos.
But although the aesthetic is varied, there a few core principles to follow if you want to inject some Nordic influence into your wardrobe.
Try Out New Silhouettes
It’s time to broaden your horizons and think further than your slim-fit denim. Scandinavian style is all about boxy, oversized shapes, as opposed to narrow cuts.
But if you’re reluctant to go ultra-wide then think about details, like cropped hemlines and wide sleeves, which make wardrobe staples look new. Juxtaposition is the key – team wide-leg shorts with something slimmer on top to balance the overall look. And avoid looking like you’ve nicked an actual Viking’s clothes.
Keep It Minimal
If you’re going for a strong silhouette then stick to a palette of light neutrals, to nail the perfect summer look. Choose white over black wherever possible and then add in a few key tones: camel, khaki and grey marl are a good starting point, then upgrade to washed out pinks and blues, as championed by Danish brand Soulland.
Just keep pieces lightweight, so they can easily be layered up as the colder months draw in – good news for your cost-per-wear maths, at least.
AllSaints Spring 2016
Keep Accessories To A Minimum
The emphasis here is on simplicity, so ditch the bucket hat and chain necklace in favour of one key accessory.
Sunglasses are the obvious choice for the summer, but stick to slim frames and round lenses with a hint of metallic detail – these styles are classic and not trend-driven, meaning they’ll be an investment for years to come.
Baseball caps and beanies are the safest bets if you’re the kind of guy that can’t be without a hat, then finish with a watch from Scandinavia’s plethora of minimalist brands – Triwa if your bank balance is light, Georg Jensen if your bonus just landed.
Rethink Your Denim
We’re not just talking about your old skinnies or a vintage denim jacket – Scandi brands have been redefining denim for a while, crafting everything from sweatshirts to dungarees from America’s favourite fabric.
The classic textile is a key player in the aesthetic, so team a denim shirt in a light wash with a pair of tailored shorts, for a twist on smart-casual. Alternatively, try a denim sweatshirt, or even a longline denim coat, with a pair of tapered trousers, which lets you experiment with silhouette while keeping your look grounded in basics.
And don’t be afraid of double denim if you’re doing things unconventionally. Just be sure to mix dark and light to avoid a major fashion faux pas and, unless you can really pull it off, steer clear of denim waistcoats at all costs.
Get Experimental With Footwear
The recent ubiquity of adidas’ Stan Smith trainers is clearly visible on basically every online style blog, and it’s true that the three-striped classic works well with a cropped trouser and a denim shirt.
But when your outfit’s so neutral, there’s scope for experimentation: upgrade a lightweight summer look with suede Chelsea boots, or use a pair of Dr. Martens to inject an edge. The key is to keep it casual – if they’re shoes you’d wear to the office, say hej då to that Scandi nonchalance.