These Scandinavian Instagram Style Icons Are Really Onto Something

Forget about Paris and Milan.

Photo is of Nora Fazel, taken from her personal blog

Here's a poll I'd like to impose on you all:

Do you think style is meant to be completely personal, void of social and cultural influence? Or is style truly a product of the culture you're from?

Or maybe both?

As I don't have time to conduct actual research, we'll just go off of what I think: the latter, obviously. I spent years on this blog discussing personal style and how it is essential to our beings, but after some thought, isn't our style always a result of the culture we're raised in? This explains why the styles of certain regions are so vastly different: classic chic in Paris, bold and flashy trends in Seoul, dark and structured in Berlin. This can't be an isolated event; regional styles are, in fact, a product of that region. Common sense, no?

Then I think of where I'm from, a suburb north of Atlanta that holds zero personal style except for white teenagers wearing Vineyard Vines like it's defining of Southern culture even though it originates from Massachusetts. Obviously, I don't fit this culture—I wore things that would be seen in NYC or Paris when I lived in the South for 18 years. So is style a product of our culture? The answer is unknown, especially when you're not a fan of your original culture and would gladly like to disassociate from it, which I have attempted in doing by both physically leaving the area for good and dressing unlike my fellow Georgians. This distaste in my hometown's style forced me to find another home to pull style inspiration from, resulting in, as I said earlier, NYC and Parisian styles. Were these cultures ones I simply wished to belong to, making the argument that style is a cultural product even more true? Possibly. All that can be said for now is that style and culture are not isolated, and some cultures really know what they're doing.

My younger self would immediately flock to Paris or London to find style inspiration, as I assumed these were deemed the most fashionable cities in the world. Similar to how when people are looking for places to study abroad in their undergrad years, they immediately go to London, Paris, or Florence, as they seem to be the most appealing cities to people who would hate to be culturally challenged. These cities are like a grain of sand on a stretch of beach; so much more is out there. Even just in Europe. Anywhere in Germany sounds fun, maybe Amsterdam? Spain—not including Barcelona—would be exciting, at least I hope; I'll be there for Spring Break this year. Maybe that entire region of Scandinavia that people always seem to forget about is enticing.

Maybe more than enticing, maybe enticing enough for me to actually go. Which I am planning on doing! Next fall. Stockholm, Sweden. I never imagined myself deciding to study somewhere like that, just as I never imagined the region to hold a really cool style that seems to be a product of how the region is doing as a whole. More than good, actually. Apparently Norway is the happiest country in the world, which is evident in many ways, including how everyone looks damn good. My interest in this area sprouted with my addiction to the Norwegian show SKAM, which I just recently finished rewatching, one year later. People tell me I'd fit right into any city of these three countries, mostly because I look just like every white blonde who resides in them. But I think it transcends looks—something far deeper about Scandinavia was calling my name. This led me to decide to apply to study abroad in Stockholm, but also led me into an Instagram hole of Scandinavian style icons. It was never-ending. I'm pretty sure I followed about 20 new accounts, realized that Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm Fashion Week do exist, and that Pernille Teisbaek is Danish. Now that's why I was so encapsulated by her style—she's from Copenhagen! Scandinavians are immensely proud of their culture, and not in that gross American way; they actually have something to be proud of. And it really shows in their style.

Maren Schia from Oslo, Norway; photo from her Instagram

Exhibit A is Norwegian Maren Schia, a name who appears often on Who What Wear and also has the art of dressing down. She should be titled an expert, a world champ. Her 'fits are out of this world, ranging from belted Canadian tuxedoes to corduroy pantsuits to ones exploding in color and interesting layers, like the one above. She brings everything we like to see from the main four fashion weeks and heightens it to her personal taste, making everything she posts on her IG well-crafted and oh-so-intentional. She puts the personal in personal style, yet still has a style that's so similar to every fashion kween from Oslo. Remember that poll I asked you guys to answer in the beginning? She's the one that proves both answers to be true.

Nora Fazel from Stockholm, Sweden; photo from her Instagram

Swedish Nora Fazel's caption for the above photo is Always looking like a 12 y old boy who stole a cigarette from his mom and I don't really mind, do you?, and this statement describes Fazel's aesthetic entirely: one who simply does not mind how other people think of her. Yet she definitely cares to an extent, at least for herself, when she brings an effortlessly cool style to her Instagram, making Stockholm look like a place only fit for girls who know how to take cool outfit selfies while carelessly holding an almost-burnt out cigarette, while also posting things like memes and artful nudes because why not. Also, she doesn't doesn't groom her body hair like every other American seems to because she obviously transcends typical heteropatriarchal standards. Makes me way too excited to hopefully live in her town for four months later this year.

Fanny Ekstrand from Stockholm, Sweden; photo from her Instagram

Swedish Fanny Ekstrand resides from the same place as Nora but brings a completely different look to the table. While still following that same "I don't give a fuck" attitude, she goes for a more is more approach, but in a sense that doesn't copy aesthetics like Gucci and instead comes from a very personal place. She obviously likes color, so she makes sure to bring that to her 'fits. She tends to stray away from fashion norms, so instead she wears red tights with cowboy boots and calls it fashion. Most importantly, she's weird as hell and brings this essence to her sartorial choices, making her style more interesting than any Manhattan blogger. Plus, she's the founder of that company who makes those straw bags that were seen on every NYC cool girl this summer, making her one to both follow trends and stray away from them.

Rebecca Vera Stahnke from Copenhagen, Denmark; photo from her Instagram

Danish Rebecca Vera Stahnke seems to follow the lyrics of "girls just wanna have fun" very closely with her style, making sure to put a dash of her own personal touch and a load of fun to every outfit she puts on. She's a big fan of making her looks obviously match a certain color scheme, and she usually makes it clear that style isn't a job for her; it's more like a hobby that comes way too easily to her. Her candid photos make her look like she's having a blast 24/7, and maybe she really is; do Danes really have more fun? She owns a thrift shop, making her eccentric style make all the sense, and it definitely makes me want to be her even more. Dream job? To own a Danish thrift shop and to be a top blogger and stylist, just like Rebecca.

It's far too obvious that these style kweens transcend every style icon we're typically used to hearing about, making it necessary to travel a bit further North to Scandinavia to look for style inspo. And these girls really know what they're doing, but in the most personal way possible, creating outfits that are honestly too good to be true. They all seem to go with that Scandinavian culture, where their perfect lives match their perfectly crafted styles. Because we're already so obsessed with hygge, we should continue with this Scandinavian obsession and follow what they're doing with style. After we nail their styles down, maybe we can start with other parts of their culture. I'm very interested in making fika a tradition in the states.

All photos pulled from Instagram or personal blogs.

Which Scandinavian countries/cultures are you most interested in? Let me know in the comments below!

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