How To Dress For The Ultimate 'Scandinavian Summer' Aesthetic

Scandinavians have long been known as the trendsetters of the world. Way before Ikea opened its doors in Sweden and blew all of our minds with its affordable home decor options, Nordic folks were setting the standard for fashion. The good people of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (along with Nordic neighbors Finland and Iceland) had to learn long ago how to survive in incredibly cold temps, and so the Vikings of yore (not to mention the myriad other cultures) relied on wools, furs, and other thick garments to get them through the worst weather. However, they didn't sacrifice style, with affluent Vikings regularly donning bright colors, especially red when they were feeling especially celebratory. Tunics, dresses, and other garments were created mostly with warmth in mind but still managed to cultivate a functional but attractive aesthetic that people around the world emulate in a modern way today.

Although these early Scandinavians did their best with the fabrics of the day, fashion options have fortunately come a long way in terms of comfort and affordability. Not surprisingly, our neighbors to the north have continued to dominate as style influencers, especially among those who long to replicate the "Scandinavian summer" look.

Bold accessories

Although Scandinavian fashionistas likely didn't invent the bold accessory, they certainly embrace it. Scandinavian summer enthusiasts probably have at least one bag in a bright hue to mix up more muted outfits, not to mention heels, sneakers, flip-flops, or other footwear to really make an outfit pop. This is one of the easiest style tips to emulate around the world. Like, you can literally wear the same outfit, but change it up with some bright kicks, and it looks brand new.

Flirty patterns

It's bitterly cold during the winter months, so Scandinavian summers definitely call for whimsical patterns in lighter fabrics. However, Scandinavians still value comfort and classic style, so the dresses, tops, and other pieces are expressly designed with those points in mind. Scandi fashion is all about balance, however, so such a piece would be paired with others that are more muted in tone. No sense dragging the eye away from that gorgeous pattern, right?

Minimalist style

Scandinavians love to look sharp, but you're far more likely to see them looking low-key fashionable in comfortable but stylish pieces. The clean white tee or tank is a staple of summer Scandi wardrobes, with a cute cardigan thrown on top for the layered look. Like much of the rest of the world, Scandinavians also place serious value on denim as a wardrobe must-have.

Sustainable fashion

Scandinavian countries have long been world leaders in eco-friendly practices. That's why many Scandi companies produce fashion made with organic and/or recyclable materials, and many also choose sustainable packaging to reduce waste. We'd say we're surprised, but this is completely on-brand for a region that has multiple countries that really push sustainable fashion efforts.

Increasingly eclectic

Although the traditional Scandi style has employed more neutral colors and versatile pieces, recent years have seen a major shift in retro and eclectic patterns and pieces. Although these might not be everyday items, they're perfect for those occasions when a person really wants to make a bold statement.

Timeless pieces

For all the increasing influence of funky patterns and styles, every fashion-wise Scandinavian has a few timeless pieces in their wardrobe. From the ever-versatile trench coat (so handy during the area's warmer seasons) to tailored but comfortable pants in a few classic hues, there's something to be said for pieces that just never go out of style.

Simple swimwear

It only makes sense that Scandi swimwear fashion follows the rest of the industry and trends toward the minimalist end. Swimwear in natural colors like black, taupe, and tones inspired by nature are ultra-hot right now. Unlike a lot of American swimwear, these newer pieces eschew overt sexuality and "look at me" vibes, opting instead to help the wearer blend in with the world around them. That's not to say it isn't sexy; it's just an understated version.