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Scandinavian minimalist style transcends trends and always looks clean and crisp. It’s the best inspiration for a classic travel wardrobe. Find out why!
Written by: Sebrin Elms
What is Scandinavian Minimalism?
Scandinavian style transcends more than just the realm of fashion; it’s a way of life! Due to a combination of expensive real estate and a socialist government, Swedes are used to the phrase “less is more.”
Swedes manage to stretch their budget in every facet whether that’s dining, decorating, or dressing up. You’ll often see this concept inside Swedish homes where impeccable straight lines, a simple color scheme, and almost no clutter is considered standard practice. This can also be said for Swedish fashion: less is indeed more.
The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!
Start by reading these general tips when packing for Europe:
- The Ultimate Packing Guide for Europe
- Backpacking Packing List for Europe
- How to Choose the Best Shoes for Europe
- Best Suitcases for Traveling Europe
My original thought was that everything in Sweden is incredibly expensive, thus they’re simply rotating the same pieces every season. However this is far from true!
A new LBD or pair of black tights are constantly being purchased every season, because like most high-fashion women, the cut, color, and shape is always changing.
We have helpful tips to avoid looking like a backpacker in Europe – find out what they are!
What Should You Wear?
Swedes are all about the little black dress. When you look in a Swedish woman’s closet, you’ll see tons of them (and while they may appear the same, they’re so not!).
Invest in an LBD or two–one that’s a bit casual for daywear and one for evenings out.
Read these tips on how to avoid boring all-black outfits when you travel!
When the weather gets colder, and it inevitably will, you’re going to want to bundle up with some pants. You won’t see a lot of blue jeans except in the summer months.
When ladies stray from the color black, their pants are usually a neutral color with a flattering shape.
These are the best leggings for travel as voted by our readers!
This will be your everything. I’ve seen Swedes wear their precious black tights all year, even as a snow storm hits! Black tights are an essential piece to looking not only incredibly chic, but doing so affordably.
Use packing cubes to help you organize and even compress your belongings to maximize your space.
You’ll find that casual tees and blouses take over the summer, but more often than not, the wardrobe choice is meant to match with multiple outfits. Rather than a statement tee that only looks good once, Scandinavian style insists on practicality.
This means polka dot chiffons, low cut silk tops, and a very sophisticated look. This is the general style since it goes with everything. Of course you can break this with the occasional flirty top, but that should be a small component of your wardrobe.
You can use the Travel Essentials Packing List as a sample travel wardrobe, a stand alone minimalist packing list, or as the main core of your clothing!
Accent Scarf or Accessories
This is where you can stand out a little! Swedes aren’t dressed in all black, all of the time. There’s usually an accent accessory, preferably a scarf.
Go with a bold red or keep it neutral with browns. Either way, make sure to indulge in a couple different accent pieces for different nights out!
Find out why a circle scarf for travel is such a versatile item!
Coats and Parkas
Sweden is cold a majority of the year. While summer is spectacular, be prepared for temperatures to drop in October and become down-right freezing until the end of April.
Since you’ll need more than one jacket during the winter season, go with a black parka and an accent coat. The coat can be red, white, brown, or even black if you prefer! But try to choose a black parka since that’s the color you’ll be wearing a majority of the time.
Find out the most stylish and practical down jacket for your cold weather travels!
Boots and Sneakers
Since the Swedes are all about high fashion, naturally, street wear is in. This includes sneakers of all kinds! Invest in a pair of white sneakers to help break up your outfits.
You’re also going to want a pair of black booties to match, you know, all of the black. And while I’m a big fan of heels, make sure a higher heel is sturdy to keep up with the cobblestones, ice, and snow!
Here’s a guide on how to choose the best walking shoes for Europe (and save your feet from cobblestones)!
What are your tips on how to pull off Scandinavian minimalist style? Comment below!
For more ideas on what to pack for Northern Europe, please read:
- Ten-Step Packing Guide for Europe
- What to Wear in Scandinavia in Winter
- What to Wear in Norway in Winter
- What to Wear in Denmark
Suggested travel resources:
- Lonely Planet Europe on a Sshoestring
- Travel Shoes for Europe
- The Best Carry-on Suitcases for Europe
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Author Bio: Sebrin is a newlywed, flower child, and travel-obsessed blogger. When Sebrin isn’t traipsing the globe with her husband, you can find her curled up with a book, snuggling with her kitty babies, or binge-watching Netflix. Follow along her travels on Instagram @theclumsytraveler or her blog!