Why we should say ‘tak’ to our Nordic neighbours
Not that I like to admit to following the crowd but like most women I have spent much of my life wishing to be French and desperately trying to emulate that effortless French girl style. I enjoy the minimal effort and the need to not have to wash your hair very often which sits a lot better with my personal (read laziness) aesthetic then the American daily blow dry. I took my aspirations towards this very seriously, even decamping to live in Paris for a year after University so I could concentrate my efforts fully on stripy t-shirts, red lipstick and drinking an obscene amount of coffee.
However, times are changing and going forward it seems we are looking to our Nordic neighbours now for lifestyle tips. What stared with a slow embrace of the Acne boot, and a long weekend in Copenhagen seems to have developed into a much more monumental turn in trends. My mailbox is filling up with retailers offering me top tips on being ‘Stockholm’ styled and almost every magazine I have picked up recently has given me lengthy tips on living more Nordically. Given that the recent 2016 Happiness report found 4 out of the 5 countries at the top were Nordic, maybe it’s time I took some notice.
In terms of style, the key Scandi take outs are an emphasis on the unfussy and fresh look, easy to get on board with. As far as making an impact on our day to day wardrobes, the Swedes have long been influencing our high street with Swedish multi-national H&M group reigning supreme, owners of both COS and & Other Stories.
As expected, the Scandinavian lifestyle has a huge pull towards the outdoors and connecting with nature, not even being put off by the sometimes brutal weather conditions. The idea of being outside and building stamina through trekking and skiing is seen as key to both mental and physical wellbeing. Once an appetite has been worked up from all this fresh air, our Nordic friends are now considered to have one of the healthiest diets of fish, root vegetables and rye breads. As we all become a little more health conscious and aware of our general wellbeing these Nordic rituals are easily integrated into our lifestyles.
Nothing too radical in the above; however, all this Nordic research has led me to another key discovery in terms of what is known as ‘Hygge’ and seems to be at the heart of why our Danish friends are so happy. ‘Hygge’ is difficult to define as it relates more to a mental state and therefore proves difficult to provide a translation for, it is seen as the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures and is based around the idea of cosiness. These activities can range from lighting a candle at home, to time spent with friends or even snuggling down in front of a fire with a good book. As we all move towards a further search for happiness and contentment away from technology, the publishing industry have been quick to spot this Nordic trend and ‘Hygge’ is about to have a major moment on our British shores in the late Autumn with a number of lifestyle books on the topic being published just in time for Christmas gifting.
As summer fades I will definitely be looking to bring a little Hygge into my life but in my heart I think I still want to be French as I really don’t want to have to wash my hair too often.