A Lesson in Scandi Minimalism

Scandinavians' international reputation – laidback, stress-free and oh-so chic – precedes them, but why? We've examined Scandinavia's most discerning trend-setters from Copenhagen to Stockholm and beyond.

On top of thrilling television series and pastries, the Scandis seem to have also nailed a wardrobe that is simple and functional yet beautiful

The public has come to believe that a lot of Scandinavians, on the other hand, do not suffer from stress or being rushed or bad hair because they lead such balanced and healthy lives. Each and every one of them receive great health care and decades of maternity leave and they are on the most part tall, thin and blonde. Whether Scandinavians are really like this as a whole is beside the point, because we've believed them into being this way. The Scandis and their effortless approach to life have become role models for so much of the Western world.

On top of thrilling television series and pastries, the Scandis seem to have also nailed a wardrobe that is simple, functional and still beautiful. Cool coffee shops and trendy wood burners can be considered accessories to the look.

Take a page from the three Great Danes: Acne, By Malene Birger and Ganni. Their clothes are designed for people who could walk miles into work as easily as the meter stretch from the car floor to hotel lobby. They are dynamic, sophisticated and unpretentious, reflecting the Scandi functional outlook on life.

With the international fashion scene obsessed with Scandi cool, new labels have made a b-line for the table, creeping into city guides and indie magazines. Wood Wood springs to mind, with their boyish coats and structured jackets, and then there's Munthe and Rutzou for silky offices dresses and blouses. You buy an outfit, a piece, not 'another random top.'

Another thing that we can commend the Scandis for is that functionality is not a threatening concept for their fashion. Averse weather conditions are no green light for trekking fleeces or wellies; their style is universal and caters with sleek consistency to their active, varied lifestyles. Friday-night-riches-to-sad-Saturday-morning rags is a wholly foreign concept (again, this is what we believe). For the Scandis, Baltic weather is tamed by beautiful clothing. Take Leutton Postle.

Copenhagen boat house

The luxury knitwear label, owned by Stockport native Sam Leutton and her long-term friend, Jenny Postle, is a hybrid of Central Saint Martins' fun and Danish simplicity. The fun is reigned in by the simplicity to make the clothes wearable, while the offbeat appeal spares them from dull. These are 'through-ons' - the designers did the thinking so you don't have to. They guarantee a compliment, cheer up sad-Saturday-mornings and won't drown a pretty dress in functionality - (they may defeat it though).

No one can turn Scandi over night, sadly. But we can certainly try our best to absorb their 'best is the enemy of good' mantra, because often, in the long run, 'good' is so much healthier, and even better than 'best.' (Because that's what the Scandis believe.)

As members of the flitting generation, we tend to jump from one thing to another, often achieving neither one thing…nor the other.

That feverish Western worker psyche is gospel: if you're not busy, you're sleeping. Eight hours is a childhood memory and the work iPhone has replaced the traditional drinking partner. Our culture is hinged on the quest for everything, often at the expense of something. We lack focus because it is demanded of us in so many areas of life, and our clothes reflect this.

Look across London and you tend to see a 'busy' look. It is an eclectic mix of different ideas, all meshed into one outfit. Occasionally this works and is celebrated as London's experimental pulse, but often, it doesn't. We are harried, overworked and rushed.

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