“How to Look Like a French Girl”; “French Girl Wardrobe Essentials”; “Here’s What French Girls are Wearing This Fall”; “Five French-Girl Approved Pairs of Jeans You Need Now”, and so on and so forth. There must be at least a million articles as well as countless videos and photos on the internet documenting the French girl “look” – to the point where it is now widely acknowledged to be a slightly-overdone and outdated trope.
That being said, I am here to make a case for Danish Girls.
Much like their fellow Scandi neighbours, Danes have long been champions of the coveted monochrome and neutrals look; however, recent Copenhagen Fashion Week styling has been hinting at a departure from these minimalist go-tos, to a more vibrant, bold, and fresh take on the notion of effortless dressing. In fact, Danish style is quickly emerging as one to be reckoned with, which explains why fashion insiders have recently dubbed Copenhagen “one of the most stylish cities in the world”. What I particularly admire about this style is the way it departs so effortlessly and casually from the all-black or neutral-toned outfits we are told so frequently constitute an elegant and sleek look. And yet, Danish style still manages to be both those things. Classic, creative, and fun are some words that come to mind when describing the style.
In an interview with Vogue’s Zoe Ruffner, Danish model Rose Hermansen further explained that the ultimate hallmarks of a stylish Dane’s wardrobe are “long-lasting styles, vintage pieces, and quirky items”. Reflecting on this wisdom, the first, and arguably most important, cornerstone of Danish fashion is a deep commitment to sustainability that has cultured Danes to invest in timeless, trendless, quality basics that constitute the majority of their wardrobes. Copenhagen is often thought of as the greenest city in the world, which undoubtedly has an impact on its inhabitants and the way they think about fashion. This impact is best seen in the practice of investing in great vintage basics that are trendless and stay in your wardrobe for years and years and years.
Not only does this practice encourage the circularity of fashion, it also emboldens the longevity of fashion. For example, a great vintage blazer, a perfect pair of vintage denim jeans, and a simple white tee. In an interview with fashion journalists Camille Charriere and Monica Ainley, Pernille Teisbaek, Danish influencer and stylist, discusses the joy of finding uniqueness in clothing through circular fashion. Pernille explains in the podcast, Fashion No Filter, that her favourite clothing item in her wardrobe is her 15 year-old pair of vintage jeans that she loves because not only are they completely unique to her, they also fit her body to perfection. Similarly, she explained her one-in-one-out policy that she uses for each new thing she purchases. In this way, Pernille keeps her wardrobe from exploding, makes sure she wears everything she owns, and becomes so familiar with each item in her closet that she knows how to wear each and every piece. As you can imagine, this makes the act of dressing effortless in and of itself. This investment in long-lasting styles and vintage pieces that are going to stand the test of time, and look good on every occasion, is deeply Danish; highlighting the country’s awareness of the need for conscious consumption and sustainable shopping habits.
And yet, it is more than the Scandinavian country’s awareness of investment in classic pieces, vintage, and sustainability that gives it the clout it is starting to amass. It is, in fact, the way that Copenhagen locals style these classic elements with bolder, brighter, more unique pieces that earns them a seat at the best-dressed table. A more recent trend that is quickly becoming tradition is the ability of the Danes to incorporate colour into their looks and not shy away from it, and it marks a huge departure from typical “effortless style” manuals we have been reading for so long. There is something about the Danish affinity for bold, bright colours to combat the darkness of winter so far north that is captivating. Using colour to combat the cold was not invented by the Danes, but I would argue that they have done wonders for popularizing the stylistic choice. However, it is far more the seemingly effortless way in which these outfits are married together that makes the style iconic. A quick scroll through Copenhagen Fashion Week street style photos best communicates this aesthetic, as do the Instagrams of Copenhagen street style icons like Emili Sindlev @emilisindlev, Thora Valdimars @thora_valdimars, Jeanette Madsen, Nnenna, and Hanna Stefansson.
Lastly, Copenhagen locals wear sneakers EVERYWHERE. Danes are always reaching for sneakers to finish off an outfit, and the effect is two-fold. Not only does it immediately tone down an outfit and give it an understated feel, it also pays homage to the Scandi tradition of practicality and function before fashion. The stylistic choice to wear sneakers with every kind of outfit produces an understated, effortless, and yet deeply unique style that can be worn in every occasion.
So, in lieu of a conclusion I must once again ask myself: how do the Danes nail the effortlessly cool look they do so well? In my assessment, within each Copenhagen girl’s outfit is a timeless, long-lasting classic piece, a pop of something bright and unexpected, and, inevitably, a pair of trainers. It is this overdressed-underdressed parallel that governs Danish girl style, and quite frankly, its entrancing. Coupling an eccentric, brightly coloured midi dress with dad sneakers and a cashmere jumper thrown over the shoulders is a perfect example of this. Equally, a great pair of vintage jeans paired with sneakers and a white tee, with an eccentric sweater vest layered over the top practically yells Copenhagen style. Similar items that you will often see looking a million bucks on the streets of Copenhagen are statement tights, suits, long dresses, the aforementioned pair of dad sneakers, and sweater vests. The Danes just do it better. It’s eccentric. It’s fun. The formula is simple, comfortable, practical, yet simultaneously bold and fresh.
And with that, I rest my case that Danish girls deserve the same street cred as French girls when it comes to personal style and fashion. Some major takeaways from the wonders of Danish style include an emphasis on sustainability, first and foremost, a dedication to timeless and trendless basics that fit your body perfectly, devotion to eccentricity in the form of a colourful, quirky, or unique accent, and of course, their undying allegiance to sneakers.