As I'm writing this, it's been less than 24 hours since my boyfriend Jonah and I returned from our whirlwind, four-day trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. The unofficial purpose of the trip—aside from celebrating our anniversary—was to eat and drink as much as possible, and revisit the city we called "home" for a semester abroad six years ago. Shopping was initially pretty low on my list of priorities, but I found myself drawn into more stores and asking "Where'd you get that?" as an ice-breaker more often than any other question, as I fell in love with the city's style.
Our second day there, Jonah and I ducked under the awning at the restaurant Geist to get out of the rain. We ordered two glasses of wine to wait out the storm and spent the next hour people-watching (ahh, vacation). Though we were just a few blocks away from the tourist-packed Nyhavn harbor, most of the people walking past the restaurant were Danish, streaming out of the nearby Kongens Nytorv metro stop after work or toting babies in prams. I hadn't even taken a sip before I turned to Jonah and said, "It is just me, or is every single woman wearing leopard print?" As if on cue, seven of the next ten women walking by had on at least one leopard print piece on.
At dinner that night, I asked a Danish friend what the deal was with all the incredibly chic cat women—by then I'd lost count of the number I'd seen walking, biking, and drinking around town. He told me that despite the fact that Danes are world leaders in clean energy (he himself works in sustainability), they also produce a disproportionately high amount of fashion waste, churning through clothes at an alarming rate compared to other countries. While I couldn't find evidence online to support this, his statement lined up with what I saw—this characteristic, while terrible for the earth, makes Copenhagen an uniquely suited city for trend-spotting. If something is cool, Danish women are the first to pick it up and style it. Here are some of the coolest trends I spotted during my long weekend in Copenhagen:
Here's a fun difference between Los Angeles and Copenhagen: In the former, you can see me biking to work (dodging cars), with my hair tucked into a matted, sweaty mess under my helmet. In Denmark, where bike lanes are basically as wide as streets (with their own bike-specific traffic lights), the Danes cruise with blonde hair flowing effortlessly, secured either with a hair coil or scrunchie, but often with a glittery hair clip. The hair clip of the moment is a very Little Mermaid-inspired glittery wave clip from Pico (appropriate for the city where the fairytale originated). They either wear it clipped on the side (for a Danish Margot Tenenbaum vibe), or to pull hair away from their face, clipped in the back in an effortless "Jeg woke up like this" vibe.
Something I noticed time and time again is that, while Danish women are pretty much all super-models, they very rarely flaunt their sexiness, instead opting for oversized top layers—anytime I saw a woman wearing a clinging top, they were rarely Danish. I saw a lot of plaid oversized blazers, huge chunky knit sweaters, and over-sized coats. When I tried on a coat in DAY Birger et Mikkellsen, I immediately fell in love with it, but assumed the woman helping me had given me the wrong size when it completely enveloped me. When I asked about it, she said, "If anything, it's a little small!" which tells you everything you need to know.
Brands to look out for: DAY Birger et Mikkellsen (I've only seen their bags available in the States, at Anthropologie, but am hoping more becomes available here soon—this was one of my favorite stores I came across!)
Again, Danes love their leopard print—just look at the homepage of two of my favorite Danish brands, Ganni and Munthe, right now. At a certain point, Jonah and I developed the game, "Punch buggy leopard print."
While Danes wear primarily neutrals, they often opt for over-the-top bright, structured sneakers as their touch of color or bright splash of white. They're also the queens of the 'high/low' trend, wearing sneakers with everything from wide-legged pants, to silk skirts and dresses (like the gorgeous floral dresses from Danish brand Lovechild 1979) for nearly any occasion. After all, they're biking everywhere! Sneakers were so common that I felt completely natural wearing my own pair with a Doen dress to a fancy meal, followed by an evening out. It also wasn't uncommon to see a woman, dressed entirely in black, at a café cross her legs to reveal an unexpected, playful shimmery sock under her otherwise neutral outfit. Every design store we walked into (I loved Stilleben) had a stack of glittery socks, in every color. There were also plenty of beautiful sheer, glittery shirts in stores, but most of those were hidden under sweaters during my trip.
When Danes aren't wearing neutrals, they're opting for a shade of pink somewhere between brick and rose—and wearing it with red. The result is vibrant, dramatic bursts of color that stood out from greys and browns on rainy days. I interpreted the trend in red and pink pens I picked up from the design store, Hay.
Brands to look out for: Stine Goya
While not quite as common as the other trends I saw—after all, matching sets are a bold look—I definitely saw more women donning matchy-matchy looks than I do in L.A, from suit sets to cotton outfits that would have looked like pajamas, if not for cool accessories paired with them.
Women to follow for Danish and Scandinavian Fashion Inspiration:
P.S., Here's what I packed for my trip to Copenhagen, and how to adopt Pernille Teisbaek's effortless Danish style. Stay tuned for Emily's favorite leopard print skirt later this week as well as a full recap of my trip!