10 surprising trends straight from Copenhagen

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Words by Ella Bazzani Hockley

It shouldn’t work, but it does?

As with its iconic architecture, seafaring traditions, urban design and one-of-a-kind bicycle culture, Denmark’s fashion and street style are among the tiny Scandinavian nation’s most important exports.

The paradoxical, fun but minimal, pastel-heavy but still elegant, classic but not boring Danish ways have inspired much sartorial study, delivering the result that comfort and confidence are key. Everyone seems to just wear what makes them happy.

Having lived here for a few months, I really don’t think there are any hard and fast rules – possibly because the weather already provides such an imposition to personal expression. There are definitely trends – mini bags, clashing prints and sneakers, for example – but these are more like bullet points beneath the unspoken subheading of ‘Have fun!’.

Nevertheless, I have come across a few inspirational new style motifs that seem distinctively Danish. Let’s explore them together:

Is it handmade or is it high-end? Does it actually matter?

Danish fashionistas seem to be leaning pretty hard into the ‘Does it spark joy?’ philosophy. If it makes you smile, go for it. What sparks more joy than an ancient friendship bracelet made at a grade four sleepover? Charm bracelets are on-trend, as are personalised beads and anything that potentially feels handmade. Sentimental value is important, since everyone wearing the same thing is neither fun nor stylish. Colourful, playful jewellery is all about decorating you, and your outfit. It’s the idea that it’s more important to enjoy what you wear than to wear something you think other people will enjoy.

Next-level layering


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Århus ❤️ #boiistudios

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Life in a cold climate can be tough, especially because you’re often deprived of sundress weather and the dopamine boost that comes from being bare-legged. A solution to this Danish dilemma is the Dress Over Jeans: observed often and in quite unorthodox, objectively wacky ways. In a post-skinny jean world, people regularly don the vintage 501’s, or better yet, a flare under their skirts. Copenhagen-based brand, Boii, sells especially print-heavy, silky summer midis and minis all year round. Its Instagram is a great place to gather some inspo for the dress/denim look.

Print sandwiches

Because anything that sparks joy should be worn with whatever else in your wardrobe also sparks joy. That means print on print. I’m not saying more is necessarily more, since these prints are definitely tasteful but there are still no rules. Navy can be worn with black, spots and stripes are a go, neon and leopard is apparently hot right now. The idea is to brighten your otherwise-very-dark-and-grey day with not just one bit of colour, but maybe three or four. Danish designers play with patterns, colours and oversizing, so the fashion here is always fun – look at brands like Stine Goya, Ganni, Boii and Cecile Copenhagen.

Dad sneakers, but make it fashion


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What’s Sub

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What a pair of Stan Smiths is to a private school boy, the New Balance 990 is to a woke Dane; more than just a shoe, but a way of life. The classic grey suede pair were probably owned by your Dad in the late ’90s, which means they’re perfect for a postmodern fashion moment. Like their accessorial counterpart, the bumbag, being objectively daggy makes them very cool, especially when worn with dresses or skirts. But also, dad runners are probably the footwear equivalent of the supremely comfortable summer dress. They’re so ‘in’, even Pernille Teisbaek wore them to Copenhagen Fashion Week.

Finally, an excuse to wear bucket hats all year long


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Explore ARKET’s Upcycled Down™ layering essentials and accessories for the winter season. – #ARKET

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A warm head is important, and a fashionably warm head is a bonus. In these cold climates, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that bucket hats are actually peak fashion and suit loads of people. There is something that really screams ‘I don’t give a fuck!’ about that fresh-from-the-sandpit, three-year-old kinder vibes. The bucket hat is increasingly popular everywhere – and when it gets too cold for canvas/cotton, Copenhageners still wear the style in all varieties of nylon, tweed, rain jacket-material, and even down (to match your jacket, obv). 

The new winter hat du jour: Balaclavas


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Getting in shape for balaclava season

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Despite my previous statement that there were ‘no rules’ to Danish dressing, a bright red nose is something I’m yet to see Danes rock. In 2018, Man Repeller dared to ask the question: Is This Chic or Ridiculous? Leandra Medine’s personal Instagram has given the balaclava a new sartorial lease on life and given us all the gift of an allover knitted headcover. More accurately credited to Copenhagen’s toddler scene, like literally every other baby fashion trend (‘loungewear’, pastels, leggings, overalls), ‘grownups’ everywhere have started to take this and run with it.

Teething baby chic

Again, babies did bibs first. Except this time the objective isn’t cleanliness or dribble-mopping. I’m not sure what the objective is here, but it’s here – even T. Chalamet rocked a Louis Vuitton embroidered bib, courtesy of Virgil Abloh himself, at the Golden Globes this year. The Bib renaissance is somehow also advancing a resurgent jumper vest cause and, I have to say, I’m here for it. The Danes are nothing if not practical and the Bib/Vest trend is perhaps their best design feat to date: never overheat again, save money on (pointless) waist and sleeve fabric, and convince everyone you’ve shelled out for a sick new jumper which is in fact just the front/neck of a jumper. It’s the ultimate fashion catfish.

Bumbags for breakfast 


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Stay indoor there’s a flasher in town

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If the bumbag was an asteroid, it would’ve been the biggest in asteroid history. It didn’t just implode on the earth’s surface, kill the dinosaurs and shift the planet’s axis, but it skewed the gravitational pull and the orbits of the entire trend galaxy were reoriented to revolve around the bumbag. Bumbag is God. We worship bumbag, we live and breathe bumbag, even in Denmark. I’ve seen eight-year-olds and eighty-year-olds rocking the bumbag. I’ve seen people with handbags, backpacks, briefcase, also with a bumbag on their chest. People clothed in beautiful designer dresses, expensive suits, luxury coats, still with a bumbag. It’s a way of life – extremely practical, perfectly sized, eradicating the need for the humble pant pocket, doing everything a pant pocket once did, but better.

Elevated hair-wear


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PEARLS FOR GIRLS 💭 @altfordamerne

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Hairclips aren’t particularly unconventional, but in the Danish interpretation ‘hairclip’ is synonymous with pastels, pattern, jewels, pearls, and maybe even glitter. This is a fantastic development in hair-wear that I fully support. No longer will basic black hair ties be the norm, when pastel scrunchies, hairbands and clips can shine instead in chic twists and half-up/half-downs. Basically, life is too short to be lived in a three-brown-hair-tie prison of your own design, when bedazzled, glitter or pearl-studded hair accessories exist. Check out Copenhagen brand Sui Ava – a jewellery and accessories store, mostly dedicated to the art of hair accessories. They come in every possible colour and size variation, but my personal favourite is the diamante-edged pink scrunchie.

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