How to Dress Like a Dane

Head to toe black

As it’s coming up to my blog’s first birthday, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to explain the name behind my blog: Dressing Danishly.

So the question is: how do you dress like a Dane?

Despite not being Danish myself (sadly, although with the amount of time I’ve spent in Copenhagen, I would consider myself an honorary Dane); I feel like I am qualified to be able to answer that question.

Whilst I may not be able to speak for the whole of Denmark, I can confidently say I know how a Copenhagener would dress, as most of the clothes in my own wardrobe come from shopping trips on Strøget.

For the purpose of this article, when I refer to how to dress like a Dane, I’m talking about the stylish female Copenhageners (sorry gents).

Crop top and vinyl skirt

The First Rule to Dressing Like a Dane

Broadly speaking, there is one fundamental answer to this. If you follow this one rule, you can’t really go wrong.

To truly dress like a Dane, you must wear black. Only black.

Danes love black, and I love to wear black too. In order to dress Danishly, you need to be prepared for permanently looking like you’re attending a funeral. The only way to fit in with a crowd of Copenhageners is to wear black head to toe.

You may think I’m being over-the-top, but seriously, I’m not. Head over to Copenhagen for the day and you’ll see (in which case, you’ll want to find out how to spend twelve hours in the Danish capital!).

Black crop top

How to Dress Like a Dane: the Winning Outfit

So we’ve established that the number one way to dress like a Dane is to wear black. Any black items go, but there is a specific “look” that you’ll often find in Copenhagen.

If your aim is for people to stop you in the street and ask for directions, assuming you’re a local, then this is the look that you are aiming to achieve:

  • Oversized black jumper: either a jumper or sweater will work, just make sure it’s black. A small logo is fine too – but think Danish brands like Wood Wood or Samsøe & Samsøe.

 

  • Black skinny jeans: these jeans will need to offset the oversized black jumper, and are so skinny, I’m talking skin tight. My personal favourite brand is Dr Denim (so what if they’re Swedish?).

 

  • Black ankle boots: the style of the boots doesn’t matter so much – they could be anything from Chelsea boots to biker boots. However, the Danes are tall, so if you’re on the shorter side (I’m talking anything under five foot eight), you’ll probably want to wear heeled boots, otherwise you’ll be walking round Copenhagen feeling like a midget. I can say this, because at my height (five foot nine, or six foot in heeled boots), I spend most of my time walking round the UK feeling like an ogre.

How to dress like a Dane

 

  • Black jacket: in the summer, a black bomber jacket or leather jacket will do just fine. In the autumn, switch this up for a black (faux) fur jacket. You can even choose a puffa jacket, provided it’s done right. The weather gets much colder in the winter, so you’ll want to get your hands on the thickest wool coat you can find – trust me.

 

  • Black scarf: Seriously, there’s no way you can dress like a Dane – especially in the colder months – without styling out a scarf. The key to this is the bigger the better – preferably black wool – expertly strewn around your shoulders. This is an art.

 

  • Black bag: there is no specific style you need to have, just make sure it’s black. Got it? It could be a black handbag, a black cross-body bag, or even a black backpack. The only way you can possibly break the rule and introduce a bit of colour into your wardrobe is with a Fjällräven backpack.

Ullr Skade

How to Dress Like a Dane: the Finishing Touches

 To complete your Danish look, it’s time to move onto hair and makeup. The Danes are very naturally styled – they don’t pile on the makeup like many Brits do. A light foundation, eye makeup and blush is fine.

Next up is hair: again, take a natural approach with this. Hair can be left down in a messily-straight style, or you can tie it up, as long as it doesn’t require too much effort – think ponytails, plaits or buns. And if you think you have to be blonde, then think again – not all Scandis are blonde (although lots do fake it!).

If in doubt, stick with minimal styling. The overall key dressing to like a Dane is to look effortless. Even though you may have spent hours picking out a Dane-worthy outfit, you don’t want to look like you’ve actually tried.

Blue faux fur and black outfit

OK, so I broke the rules… but who can blame me when my jacket looks this good?

Dressing Like a Dane: Fashion Brands

There are lots of cool fashion brands that have emerged from Denmark – both male and female.

From Wood Wood and Samsøe & Samsøe to Birgitte Herskind and Won Hundred; you can also span your horizons to Swedish brands like Acne, Ann Sofie Back and the H&M group including Monki and Cheap Monday.

Elle Pollicott

Congratulations, You Look Like a Dane!

The Danes are the first to admit that at the forefront of their mind when they style themselves, is practicality. It’s cold, it snows in winter and they often take part in outdoor activities (and I’m not talking about shopping) – so it makes sense to wear warm clothing in dark colours that won’t show any marks.

But what has come out of this is an understated yet effortless style that I haven’t seen in any other country; and it has influenced the clothes that I buy and the way that I dress.

And if you’ve followed these rules then congratulations, you’re dressing like a Dane too! The best way to celebrate your new-found style? Sip some cocktails in Copenhagen of course – I’ll be there at 1105, with a No.4 in hand.

Massive thanks to Nick Radjabi for taking all these photos of me!

High ponytail

Elle Pollicott

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