Scandinavian fashion for women: how the Scandi style works

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Scandinavian fashion is on trend: dresses, jumpers, shoes and accessories in the“Scandi style” are not only worn by bloggers and celebrities. Many brands from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland have also found their way into shops and online shops over the seas. There is a large selection of fashion for women in particular – from designer labels for statement jewellery to outdoor outfitters and internationally renowned textile retailers. But what characterises the actual Scandi style, where does it come from and how is it worn? In addition to a few basic style rules and elements, key pieces and fashion influences also play a major role.

Style rules

1. Minimalism: less is more

The most important style rule of Scandinavian fashion in general is restrained, relaxed minimalism. Scandinavian clothing never looks overloaded or provocative. Instead, the pieces are simple and timeless , allowing for numerous possible combinations. That’s why they never get boring despite their purism. The final touch is provided by the accessories.

2. Layers, layers, layers

Scandinavian Layer Look

Another feature of the Scandi style is the layered look. This is not only practical when it gets colder, but also looks very stylish. However, it is important that everything is well coordinated. That’s why basics are so popular.

The perfect Scandi style can be created particularly well by layering boxy and oversized cuts. They have a strong influence on Scandinavian fashion and are comfortable and modern. Instead of skin-tight clothing, Scandinavians opt for O-shaped coats and oversized jumpers as well as chunky shoes. To maintain a slim silhouette, a coat or dress can be combined with a belt or the top can be tucked casually into the trousers.

3. The environment as inspiration

Even if there are a few basic style rules and style elements, the Scandinavian fashion style is by no means overly intellectual. Instead, tradition and the environment flow into the look, so that it moves between modern design and relaxed naturalness.

On the one hand, the influence comes from nature, which determines the colours, materials and patterns. The proximity to nature is also reflected in the functional outdoor clothing that is often designed and worn in Scandinavia.

On the other hand, architecture and industrial design are trend-setting for the clothing. This can be seen in the boxy, often androgynous cuts of the garments. At the same time, Scandinavian fashion always combines form and function and plays with structures and textures.


Scandinavian fashion is predominantly made of materials that are obtained from nature and not artificially produced. This includes various types of wool, such as mohair, cashmere or angora, as well as cotton, linen and leather. This is why many Scandinavian pieces have a knitted look or are made of denim. Modern Scandinavian design has an architectural influence and uses innovative and robust materials.

Colours & patterns

The fact that nature influences fashion is clear from the colours and patterns. Earth tones such as cognac and camel as well as khaki and olive are combined with the basic shades of white, cream, blue, grey and black. In addition, delicate pastel colours such as lilac, salmon and mint lend the outfit a feminine nuance.

The patterns are inspired by plants, leaves and flowers, but can also be geometric and graphic in the spirit of architecture. Nevertheless, they never appear harsh or dominant.

Essentials & Key Pieces

A skillful layered look naturally needs individual items of clothing that can be easily combined with each other. From coats and accessories to shoes – the Scandi style for women consists of various key pieces that work perfectly on their own, but are simple enough to harmonise with each other in different layering variations. At the same time, of course, they fulfill the Scandinavian criteria of functionality and comfort.

Wool coat & rain coat

The outermost layer in the layered look for women is a typical Scandinavian key piece: the coat. It should withstand the Scandinavian weather and is therefore best made from a warming wool blend or even wind and waterproof material. Scandinavian countries are home to various brands of modern and practical rain coats.

Ideally, you should simply have both models in your wardrobe and can decide which one to choose depending on the situation and simply combine the rest to suit. However, a high-quality coat usually doesn’t need much more to look good.

Knitted jumper & cardigan

As you can see from the materials, knitwear plays a major role in Scandinavian fashion. Scandinavians love various boxy and loose jumper styles as well as knitted coats or cardigans made from high-quality natural fibres and wool blends.

These serve as a second layer in the layering look and are particularly cosy and warm. They are best plain-coloured or in a Norwegian style.

Knitted dress & shirt dress

Instead of a jumper or cardigan, Scandinavian women also like to choose a knitted dress. This is combined with warm tights or leggings and matching boots.

If you prefer something a little more elegant and above all suitable for the office, you can also opt for a loose shirt dress. These are particularly suitable for a layered look under a short or open knitted piece. If you combine it with a blazer, it looks particularly chic and masters the transition from work to leisure perfectly.

Culottes & jeans

When it comes to legwear, loose and comfortable trousers are at the forefront of the Scandi style. Culottes are wide-cut styles or culottes that end at the length of the calves. Whether made from flowing fabric or firmer denim, this style always looks particularly stylish and is also perfect for the office with pumps or ankle boots, a blazer and blouse. In your free time, on the other hand, it goes perfectly with trainers and a jumper.

For a more relaxed and sporty look, Scandinavian women choose boyfriend or mom jeans, which are also particularly comfortable. They are also very suitable for cycling.

Accessories: bags, jewellery & co.

Scandinavian style emphasises attention to detail. That’s why accessories play a major role, and women in particular have a wide range to choose from. Starting with jewellery, these round off the simple outfit of minimalist basics and give it an individual touch. Denmark and Sweden are home to a particularly large number of small jewellery labels that produce purist jewellery in various styles. But well-known brands for delicate pieces of jewellery also come from Scandinavia.

Wristwatches with a typically Scandinavian minimalist look and flat shape are a must. The watches are often worn with a leather or mesh strap.

Bags and rucksacks are also in demand among fashionable Scandinavians. That’s why there are many labels on site. The models not only have a particularly clean and modern design, but are also functional and high-quality. This is why many Scandinavian-style bags are made of leather and are somewhat larger and more eye-catching.

For the colder seasons, accessories such as caps, hats, scarves and gloves are of course a must. Together with the bag, these also round off the layering look by being worn over the coat and adding colour and structure to the outfit. Because, of course, knitwear plays a major role here too.

Boots & trainers

Last but not least, footwear is also a decisive factor in Scandi-style women’s fashion. Colours, shapes and materials also determine the style here. While unusual statement trainers – but preferably in plain white – are chosen in spring and summer, warm leather boots are the order of the day in autumn and winter. There are different shapes – pointed or round, Chelsea boot, lace-up boot or classic ankle boot.

Do’s & Don’ts

Combine simple and high-quality basicsMix many colours and patterns together
Round off the look with various accessoriesDo without accessories
Choose loose to boxy or oversized cutsOnly choose tight and form-fitting pieces
Choose comfortable materials, preferably natural fibres
(but: combine with leather, mesh/mesh or functional materials)
Mix shiny and stiff materials

You should know these 5 fashion role models

1. Pernille Teisbæk (Denmark): The Danish blogger and influencer is considered the role model of Scandinavian fashion style. She has published the book “Dress Scandi: Scandinavian, relaxed, confident” with tips on how to implement the Scandi style.

2. Hanneli Mustaparta (Norway): The successful Norwegian writes for Vogue and became known as a model, photographer and later as a fashion blogger. She now lives in New York, but has remained true to her Scandinavian style.

3. Elin Kling (Sweden): The Swede is a fashion blogger, fashion journalist as well as co-founder of the design label for women’s fashion “Totême”. She has also designed a collection for H&M and runs her own fashion magazine.

4. Jeanette Madsen (Denmark): She is co-founder and creative director of the Danish design label “ROTATE Birger Christensen” and is considered one of the role models in Danish streetwear.

5. Trine Kjær (Denmark): The blogger writes about fashion, beauty, food and interior design in Scandi style. She has also founded a label for hair care products and collaborates with various well-known brands.

The style of the Scandinavian royals also determines the fashion there. The members of the Danish nobility, the Swedish royal family and the Norwegian royal family have an influence on the trends in their countries.

Pernille Teisbæk has even more tips for an all-round successful Scandi style: the Danish blogger has mastered the tricks of Scandinavian style and shows you how to implement them in no time at all in her book “Dress Scandi”. The detailed style guide with lots of inspiring pictures reveals everything about minimalist Scandi outfits, but also provides insights into the areas of beauty and interior design.

Scandinavian brands: Influencers love these labels & designers

  • Acne Studios
  • Arket
  • Tree & Horse Garden
  • Cos
  • By Malene Birger
  • Ganni
  • Gestuz
  • Munthe
  • NA-KD
  • & Other Stories
  • Pandora
  • Pilgrim
  • Samsoe & Samsoe
  • Vagabond
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