I travel a lot and the more countries I visit, the more I realise how diverse Australia is. We don’t really have a national cuisine (do meat pies count?), a particularly accurate fashion ideology (no one I know wears stubbies, thongs, Driza-bones or akubras) or traditions like Hygge or Chinese New Year. There isn’t even a particularly Australian way of celebrating Christmas. My family eats prawns and gets smashed but lots of my mates don’t even celebrate Christmas. Maybe that’s the Australian way – we’re just really chill and do our own thing without labelling it. I have a Maltese-Australian mate who’s family still do glory boxes for the young women in the family, an Egyptian- Australian mate who all but disappears over Easter to celebrate for days with her coptic orthodox family and heaps of mates who do Ramadan every year. It’s actually quite cool how different we all are. I like it.
All of this makes me hyper aware of the way things are done in other countries though and how they approach things so differently. I spent a week in Copenhagen last year and honestly I could have spent a month just sitting at a cafe watching people exist.
One of the things that fascinated me the most was how the Danish girls all had their own style. In Australia if you walk through a suburban shopping mall, most young girls will be in a group of other girls who are all dressed the same, in whatever fashion is dictating for them to wear for that particular season. At the moment it’s mom jeans and crop tops. They’ll wear this style whether it’s flattering or not. I always thought that’s just what being a teenager was but when you go to Europe, that’s just not a thing.
Young European women all look different to each other. They let their hair do what it does naturally (I don’t think I saw even one badly straightened do the whole time I was there) and they wear clothes that fit them properly. I also noticed that Danish girls don’t care about looking feminine. At my catholic girls high school no one had short hair so seeing young teenage girls with these stylish short hair cuts was so refreshing. Danish girls also have this way of wearing jeans, sneakers and t-shirts without looking like they’re going to be wrangling sheep all day. I don’t know how they do it. Is there some kind of training they go through?
So in light of my Danish (European) fashion obsession, I very recently bought my first pair of Birkenstocks and they’re pretty amazing. I mean, they straight up look like fancy slippers but I just don’t care. They make me feel like a wealthy retired artist.
Here are my tips for dressing like a Danish girl…
1. Design is everything
I’ve been quietly shopping for Birkenstocks for a few years now but I just couldn’t get over the line with them. I’d try on their traditional clogs and they just wouldn’t sit in the right spot or they’d make my lower legs looks chunky or they just didn’t feel good. I kept trying and trying until finally the Amsterdams came into my life. It’s all about the design. The lines are so clean, there’s no chunky buckles and aside from the iconic shape, you wouldn’t know they were Birkenstocks because they don’t have a giant logo on them. Mr Smaggle is an app developer but he’s really a designer. He notices everything. I’m not as fussy as him but he’s made me aware of the difference between good and bad design. You rarely notice good design but bad design will ruin your day. This is why I don’t use Snapchat because it’s designed so badly, it’s just too frustrating trying to get to whatever screen I’m trying to find. A well designed piece of clothing just exists without you having to try too hard to make it work. Badly designed clothing is that ill-fitting wrap dress you try on with 50 different pairs of shoes every time you have somewhere to go but it never sees the light of day. I’m getting better at picking these things before I make the mistake of buying them which is why it took me so long to pick a pair of Birkies I like.
2. Less is more
I used to literally pile accessories on as I left the house (nothing succeeds like excess!) but slowly over the years it’s just not my style any more. If you’re wearing a killer structural dress that’s cut to perfection, you don’t need anything else. My one accessory these days is hot pink lipstick and it’s really pulling it’s weight. I go from looking quite casual to a bit fancy in about 30 seconds. If you love accessories and jewellery, go for it and jangle around like the gypsy you are but if you’re not super into accessories and you’ve been forcing yourself to pop earrings on every day, I give you permission to not do that. Try it the Danish way for a while and see if that works for you.
3. Quality is key
Australia, unfortunately has been caught up that horrible Western cycle of buying lots of cheap, disposable fashion items because we’ve been taught to crave variety. This means the choices for shopping are pretty grim and Australian malls are full of badly designed, badly constructed and not even that affordable clothing. Danish women spend good money on well designed clothes that last for years but having said that, they have a much better buying culture and quality clothing availability that we don’t have in Australia. Some of my favourite places to shop in Europe are Muji, Cos and Marimekko. We have these stores in Australia too but they legit have better stuff in Europe.
This outfit was worn for a cheeky trip away this week. We accidentally left our house available on Airbnb and now we have to not be there. Silly monkeys. But at least it means I can catch my beautiful mate in her show that I nearly missed and kill two birds with one stone and take Mama Smaggle out for a birthday outing. Bonza. I just love it when a plan comes together.
Have you been to Denmark? Are you totally obsessed with Danish style?
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