Swedish Fashion 2010: The Horror Continues

It wasn’t enough that I had to spend 2008 and 2009 in a fashion black hole when it came to Swedes’ sensibility on the catwalk.

Now that it’s summer again, I am faced with the fashion horror everywhere I walk. The 80s fashion look is back in full force but in a different way. The extra large garbage bag shirts with twisty ties are replaced with smaller garbage bag shirts with neon colors.

Stockholm Party Dresses

And girls still wear black short leggings no matter what color dress they wear. Pink skirt? Black leggings. White flower dress? Black leggings. C’mon people!!! GET OFF THE BLACK OBSESSION! We don’t want to see knee length black leggings when you are wearing an adorable printed skirt.
swedish fashion
Splendid Willow remarked that Odd Molly’s pretty summer Swedish fashion was full of flowers and romantic yet modern style. I rarely see these beautiful dresses on the streets of Stockholm.

And what’s with the men and the myriad of red pants? Did the Red Pants Shop have a sale of buy 1 get 10 free? While I do love that Swedish men have style (there’s no baggy ass jeans with dirty t-shirts), in typical Swedish style, everyone looks the same. Some women even match by wearing the neon blue pants (see photo 9). And by the way, this look originated in the 1970s according to the exhibition at Nordiska Museet.

70s Guy with Red Pants

Red Pants Man!

My friends and I tried some H&M sale clothes last week. Not only was the selection disastrous in colors, prints, and styles, we figured the best way of showing off our Swedish fashion was to try them on.

Black Jean dress with frills. NOTE: A brightly yellow sticker was attached to let you know that color leaks onto furniture. Brilliant, just what I wanted to buy…

Black Jean Frill Dress - 80s style

Next look: Pull up jean leggings with neon t-shirt. If you grew up in the 1980s and your parents did not torture you enough with stupid leggings and crazy graffiti neon pink tops, well, here’s your chance to do it again!

Classic Stretch Jean Leggings & T-shirt Top

Long sleeve Grey T-shirt with Fuchsia belt and lingerie top. This horrible look says it all.
Grey t-shirt with Fuchsia Top and Belt

I maybe too old or unhip but I am lost in Swedish fashion. It is unflattering on women and disfigures their feminine bodies. No one should wear black leggings with pretty dresses. That’s not just wrong but sacrilegious to the airy, summer love feeling.

68 thoughts on “Swedish Fashion 2010: The Horror Continues”

  1. i love black leggings! i wear them all the time, even before coming to Sweden. and especially paired with a dress or big t-shirt, its just so comfy. maybe this is due to the lbs i’ve put on in the past year, but it just seems to hide the ‘wobbly-bits’ as bridget jones would say.

    i just can’t give them up :)

  2. Oh lordy!

    What is up with that poor mannequin with a fencing type mask on her face? Plus that grey get up looks like some pjS!

    Why does the woman in the pretty red dress have about 6 dresses on AND some hideous lime cropped trousers??!

    Having said that (is it you or yor friend?) still manages to look slim + lovely. I thought Sweden was design central, though have to admit was spread on ACNE in Sunday paper and I thought their clothes were pretty hideous, so perhaps this is style/design thing is a misnomer.

  3. @swedishyogi – i do admin, black leggings are comfortable. and they do hide the wobbly-bits. =) but man, i haven’t understood that SO many girls wear the black leggings. give it up at least one day in the week. it’s all good.

    @Princess – HAHAHAHA. The one in the neon shirt and jean leggings is my friend. And yes, she looked totally adorable. But I think she pulls it off because she’s a tall, modelesque American. The rest of us will look like idiots.

    Ask Lindex about their mannequins. I pulled it from their blog. Oh Swedish apparel companies, you make me laugh.

  4. I had the same neon t-shirt and legging outfit in 3rd grade. Clearly, some things are better left in the 80’s and not revived.

    Being a Floridian, I say why wear leggings if you don’t have to?

  5. I like the red pants. They’re hilarious! They remind me of something that a James Bond villain would make his henchmen wear. Did you and your friend pick the worst of the worst? Or were all the rest of the outfits pretty much the same?

  6. Exactly Kay! I can understand wearing leggings during the spring/fall since it’s quite chilly; but at 30C no way!

    @Sara – we certainly tried to pick the worst but there were even more horrid outfits on the racks. I heard it is common to sell last year clothes as well.

  7. Did you walk around with closed eyes when you lived in the US? Cus the fashion there is hideos. It was the americans who really introduced the combination of bad and fashion in this world. Mullet – check, the baggy jeans trend – check, the horrible 90’s fashion – check, short sleeved shirt over long sleeved shirt – check. I mean, people in general just dress in flip-flops and ill-fitting over-sized (or under-sized wich is even worse) like tube tops and shorts for whatever occasion. Like going to the beach, going out to a party, going to a funeral or just meeting the president. So I don’t know what part of the US you come from, but I’d say 95% of the US population suffers from fashion famine. It’s not surprising that for instance Scott Schuman (http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/) has been to Sweden more times than he has been outside NY in the US taking pictures.

    And saying every guy owns a pair of red pants is just silly, I don’t own any and I don’t know anyone that owns it. And I got like 10 pants, should all be in the same colour, isn’t it better to have different colors, or do you want me to wair a pair of Abercrombe and Fitch jeans with jeans patterns in a different colour sewn into them? Or maybe a Juicy Cotoure dress with a tramp-stamp print on the ass? (Yes, I know they are for girls, but it’s an american brand). And really, I don’t know what HM you went to but that looks like the Divided section, and we all know that is the worst part of HM’s clothes. And these pictures doesn’t really do swedish fashion justice, it’s like saying evey american dresses like this: http://poorlydressed.com/

    Even after all this hatin’ at the US fashion you can still find brightspots of course, like NY or LA where people dress pritty good, even though you have to be like 100kg to make the clothes fit on you as a guy, but w/e.

    And having all this said you do make out some points, for instance, every swedish woman should burn their legging now, they are horrible and you look like a fool wearing them. And yes, there is alot of black which is kinda boring, but I think that is just cus you live at söder. Whilst people at söder are pretty good of coming up with shapes and sizes they are really bad with colours, and östermalmare are pretty boring when it comes to shapes and sizes but they know how to match colours.

  8. @Erik – I know 5 guys who own bright red, pink, green or blue pants.

    I never said America had great fashion. Most men do lack any style and girls wear A&F or AE all the damn time. However, that Swedish brands H&M and Lindex copies crap from the American 1980s is amusing.

    I visited the H&M store in Fridhemsplan in the sale section which was half the store. Perhaps you can tell them they’re selling garbage too.

    And I see plenty of people in Söder wearing equally horrid stuff either itself from America from the 80s or marketed newly by Acne and other companies trying to look retro. But I lived in Östermalm too and thought those garbage bag tops were disfiguring on beautiful women. And Östermalm is the capital of red pants men, guess you never had your eyes open at Stureplan. But I do agree they can match colors.

  9. @Erik – I live in the U.S and am about to be a Stockholmer next Monday (Yay!). I have been very impressed by the style and fashion there during my visits. I think no matter where you live some people wear things that are not flattering just because they are “of the moment”. The leggings and big tops trend is everywhere here as well and it gets old after a while. Just as large people shouldn’t wear clothes that are too tight, I think slender people should not hide their shape with baggy clothes no matter who says it is fashionable!

    Neon should go back to the 80’s where it came from.

  10. Yea, some of the shit I’ve seen here is a little too 80s for me (floral leggings and tops aren’t something we need to bring back… ever again), but there is a lot of great modern styles going on as well. And the street style is great to look at and even get some inspiration for yourself. I’m from the United States, and lived in Chicago for the past four years where people still thought jean-on-jean was acceptable, so I’ve come to appreciate a place like Stockholm where people are very aware of contemporary style trends. Yes, its not good to be too trendy and the 80s obsession is a bit overwhelming, but if you get past that, it has some great designers and other fashion, especially if you are into minimalist styles.

    Plus, I’m very happy not to see sweatpants as attire on people, which was a common theme in Chicago.

  11. O – Yes! Sweatpants are cute…when you’re going to the gym. It is not cute to wear sweatpants and carry a Louis Vuitton bag. That is just weird.

    I can say one thing, San Franciscans have no sense of style. Zero. 1/4th hippe, 1/4th college student sweatpantsy, 1/4th counterculture, and 1/4th east coast prep. FAIL!

    If I offended any Bay Area people, speak up now!

  12. @Sapphire: First of all, clothes that are on sale are on sale for a reason, no one wants to buy them. So saying “this is the trendy/ugly swedish fashion” and going in to the HM Divided section (HM at Fridhems = Divided) where almost every garment is for sale cus no one wanted those, that is kinda weird.(And yes, I kinda forgot about the Stureplan part, they sure do got a a lot of red pants there).

    And if you are saying Swedish fashion is ugly you gotta compare it to something, and since you are from the US i though you were comparing it with the US fashion. If you’re comparing Swedish fashion to the runways of Paris and Milan, then I can see your point. And by the way, Lindex are for pregnant women and people over 40+ or below 10 years of age, so that’s not fashion.

    Of course people might look the same here in Sweden, we are a country of 9 million, Stockholm a city of 2 million, it doesn’t take that long for trends to spread all over the country.

  13. What’s Divided? Is it a sub-brand of HM? Probably seen it but not coming to my brain now.

    I have to say though, H&M throughout Sweden (and most of the world) sells crap. It’s cheap, it breaks down, it’s ugly but yes it is H&M. I only buy socks and undies there. Occasionally a tank top.

    There are pockets of great American fashion. Banana Republic, J. Crew, 7 for all Mankind, Guess, Bebe set some great trends. American Eagle and Abercrombie is not fashion; just dulled down East Coast prep for Southern people.

    People looking the same has more to do with lagom than being 9 million people. I have never seen so much need and desire to want to look like the next Björn or Malin. Being individualistic is not one of Sweden’s strong points.

  14. Divided is like H&M’s more like, uhm, I don’t know how to explain it but it’s kinda their cheaper line aiming for teenagers mostly (or just weird people).

    And yes, I love Banana Republic, they make great clothes, but I think H&M can do a lot of great clothes as well, but then again, the quality sucks but you kinda get what you’re paying for.

    And no, I didn’t say that everyone looks the same cus we are 9 million people, I say that trends spreads faster. And a trend isn’t a trend if just 2 people are wearing it, a trend is a trend when a lot of people are wearing it. But you are right about the lagom, no one wants to stick out too much, just enough to make you feel “a little more than lagom”. And I brought up A&F since you brought up Lindex, neither of them can really take credit for making great fashion.

    And of course H&M is cheap and makes “lagom” clothes, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be one of the largest clothing companies in the world. But on an occasion they are working with designers like Jimmy Choo or Karl Lagerfeldt, and I think that is a big fashion statement for that type of brand. (It kinda sounds like I’m a patriotic H&M fanatic which is really not the case, got like 3 things from H&M, but I still think it’s obvious that they succeed in what they are doing).

    I’d like to know where you think people dress nice though? And not any obvious places like Paris, Milan or London, they are given, people look fin fab there all the time, you kinda feel like a caveman when visiting those places. :D

  15. @Sapphire Interesting point out you made about lagom and why everyone dresses the same. I didn’t know so many ppl in Sweden dress to be like one another. If I’m misinterpreting what you are saying, my apologies.

    @Erik I think your question was directed at Sapphire, but I just wanted to add to the conversation if thats cool. I think Belgium (Anterwp to be specific) has the best sense of style and is totally underrated when compared to the other fashion capitals. I think it’s because I favor the designers that have been coming out of that city. Tokyo is supposed to be amazing too and I hope to go there one day. What are are some cities you believe to be fashionable?

  16. @Erik & O – What kinds of clothes would you recommend for a girl to wear on their first trip to Sweden in the Summer?

    @Sapphire – So since lagom has such a strong influence on fashion, would you say that it strongly affects all other aspects of Swedish life? If so, what examples come to mind?

  17. @ How would you define your sense of style? Until then, I would check out the following website for some ideas:


    The website used to be cool when it actually followed interesting streetstyle in Stockholm, but now it does more Paris and Milan, but the people who post it are from Sweden so its a good place to start to get some ideas (btw, the first girl on the website from Stockholm does not do the city justice. Plus, I really fucking hate the obsession of tight, booty shorts that is taking over the Western World. It needed to stop months ago).

    Good luck!

  18. @Sapphire “American Eagle and Abercrombie is not fashion; just dulled down East Coast prep for Southern people” hahaha so true it hurts. I died when I read that. I strongly believe that Uggs were to added with clothes from both of these stores to make West Coasters included in this dumb style trend. That look needs to dieeeee.

  19. @Sara – Lagom is in many parts of Swedish, though it’s subtle. In the office, people don’t want conflict/confrontation and maintain the status quo as best as possible. Not only is there a passive behavior but also no one wants to “stand out” by breeching a potential conflict.

    When Swedes are at a party, most don’t mingle. There’s no ‘socialite’ because because a socialite means you’re different.

    On a side note Swedes use “special” in a derogatory manner. It took me a long time to pick up on the subtly of it. Calling someone “special” means he not obeying the status quo, his behavior is counter to most Swedes, or he’s truly a weirdo.

    Swedes also say they’re lagom when they stuffed themselves perfectly well. Know that feeling when your stomach is happy and full and you don’t overstuff it since it could make the tummy unhappy? That’s lagom.

    I should put together a post on being lagom.

  20. We don’t wear pretty Odd Molly dresses because we can’t bloody afford them!!! And the red pants – keep up the good work, men of Sweden! I’m so glad they’ve all finally stepped out of the grey zone and added a splash of colour to their wardrobe. We’re soon heading back to autumn’s dreary grey, and the black’s of winter so I say enjoy it while it lasts!

  21. @O – That’s a very fascinating blog, thank you! I wonder how representative of every day people their selections are, or if they find people that they feel are particularly stylish. In either case, it is much better than what I see walking around in my hometown! haha!

    @Sapphire – Lagom is such an interesting concept because I don’t think there is something like it here in the US. It’s funny because here in the states everybody aspires to be ‘special’. I know many people that would prefer to be ‘special’ instead of capable or independent. I also am interested by how it’s all subtle and not so blatant. I think a post on Lagom would be very insightful! I was also wondering whether or not you received my email? Shall I try resending?

  22. @Sara – If you look at posts way back in the day, I think its pretty representative of Stockholm style, but now its shows people with more posh, high end style, which is sad, but I guess they have decided to go in that direction à la thesartorialist.blogspot.com. Anyway, its nice to check it out general if you are into what people are wearing on the streets of european cities. When do you head here?

    I would also recommend checking out facehunter.blogspot.com. He does more of a variety of people which is cool. Enjoy again!

  23. I must be having my eyes completely glued shut because I haven’t had the joy of spluttering with giggles at those red trousers! The only thing I’ve really noticed is how as soon as the sun comes out the hemlines do go up quite a few inches (what WOULD mother say, indeed!) and everyone gets so darn brown within a few days (How the hell do they do that?!)

  24. I don’t mind the fashion so much but the massive tanning and too much make-up I think makes pretty, young girls look much too old and over done.
    They actually look ‘cooked’, yuck.

  25. Thought of this blog while looking at the Sodermalm Street Fashion in the Local. EVERY SINGLE GIRL – black leggings from HM or tight black jeans or jeans. The majority were in leggings and black boots. One woman had black AND white leggings – she was a standout for ‘daring’ to be different!

  26. Oh Sapphire, this is a very inspiring post, with all the comments, I was also thinking about writing a couple words on it.

    Not speaking about the Östermalm ladies now, but all the rest: L-A-G-O-M, absolutely boring, no individuality expressed, with cheap materials, absolutely no sense of colors of shapes, basically the same in every year since I am here with only a very few small changes (from end of 2005, and whenever I come back from a Hungary trip and see the many different styles there with a lot of colors and so on, which is a much poorer country, but with the same population: 10 million and 2 million in the capital, I wonder if the much more rich Swedish people don’t have money to dress or they are forced to wear uniforms, or they don’t have access to fashion info as to what goes in the world, or they simply don’t care…), many women look masculine and men look feminine…

    Almost everyone looks the same (from teenager to middle aged women they wear the same cheap tunica-black leggings-cheap sandals combo) – with very few exceptions seen in Swedish people.

    VERY FEW women are able to walk nicely and when they put on heels, it’s mostly a TOTAL catastrophy…

    Immigrants of all kinds dress with much more variety and style.

    And it is so refreshing to look at the tourists, because there you see better materials, more sense of colors, forms and styles, and INDIVIDUALITY – despite of that they all look “touristy”.

    Looking forward to your post about Lagom (I just posted a few of my views on it in my blog)

  27. I just happened upon this blog and HAD to read it! It was so funny, and so right on. I have had a very difficult time accepting the sensibilities here in regards to all this surface. What I mean by this is that you can go to ten different chain stores and you’re basically walking into the same shop over and over. And I say ten because there really arent that many big brands here. Which is another thing. You can travel the length and widtch of Sweden and you will find the exact same stores in every town you encounter. Its odd. You generally have to walk the back streets and know the areas to find any kind of originality or small boutiques. And even then, you are lucky to come across something outside of super trendy.
    I saw a fashion show on SVT2 and at the end the Swedish fashion reporter noted that Swedes all too often make the mistake of wearing every single trend at once instead of choosing something they really love and pairing it with classics. I found that to be a very accurate statement.
    The thing with lagom is not only in fashion. Walk around neighborhoods. All of the houses in a certain neighborhood will look pretty much the same. It depends on when they were built, but there is very little variation within a generation on anything built after 1940. You find it in home goods. You find it even in food. There is very little uniqueness.
    THAT is very difficult for Americans to accept. Especially ones like me who get scoffed at by in-laws for wanting to be unique. Or special. Which has always been considered a good trait. If we don’t ever go against the grain, what have we experienced in our lives? I personally don’t like living a life of lagom proportions.
    And if people are offended that some don’t care for the styles that are here, it shouldn’t be taken personally. Its an observation and nothing against your person.

  28. @Andrea Gerak: I’ve been to Hungary (and this pretty much includes everything east of Germany) and you will find that sense of style on people at Malmskillnadsgatan here in Stockholm selling different services to creepy old men, juss sayenn. And saying Sweden doesn’t know what’s going on in the world is just ignorant since fashion is one of our biggest exports (so obviously alot people like it). For instance when ACNE opened their store in London recently it was a huge hype and H&M didn’t become one of the biggest fashion companies in the world (yes, I belive they make fashion nowadays and not clothes, otherwise people like Karl Lagerfeldt, Jimmy Choo and Stelly McCartney wouldn’t have cooperated with them. It’s not like they design for GAP). And where is the Hungarian contribution to fashion..? Did I miss it or does it just not exist? I do however agree that the leggings trend should die a quick and painful death, I got no idea why anyone would wear those hideous garments.

    And one other thing I find very interesting is the “guys looks feminine” statement. When I travel abroad I think men in general look like cavemen because they think being a man is enough so you don’t have to care how you look. Is caring how you look being feminine? Then I feel sorry for the rest of the world!

    And the black thing, yes, black have been, is and will continue to be the main color in the Swedes wardrobe. It’s dark here 9 months of the year, it’s not like you feel like sporting neon colors in the middle of the winter. And the fact that I have to defend our choice of fashion just contribute to the fact that our fashion is different from yours, we are unique. We are a country of 9 million that looks the same, you are a world of 6 billion that looks/wants to look the same.

    And what is “looking different” exactly? Is it “I read in Vogue that this spring you are supposed to wear dresses with flowers on and high heals. And it MUST be a Chanel dress, otherwise you can go back home and hide under your bed” or is it “I found this fab old dress in my moms wardrobe/at a vintage store and I can combine this with these fab new shoes I just bought”? I’d choose the second but obviously the majority here would choose the first alternative, and that makes me sad.

    And by the way, lagom is good, it has taken us pretty far in world!

    @O.: I think Berlin can be intresting, you can find a lot of different styles there. And I think people in Manchester are cool aswell, everyone is super indie there.

    @Sara: Wear whatever you feel is comfortable, people are wearing short jeans shorts here with tops and converse shoes or just a nice pair of sandals. Or maybe a long airy dress if it’s warm. Do not however wear like flip-flops if you’re not going to the beach.
    Maybe like this:
    or this: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_qjpwnPW4c1o/RsBasjH_C8I/AAAAAAAAB1k/kKxe43HotLo/s1600-h/NatPolo.jpg

    Wall of text, I win!

  29. @Eric:

    Yes you won :-))

    Well, if you have been to Hungary and in the former Eastern block and you didn’t see the very varying shapes, forms, colors, materials and styles, you missed the whole thing… Yes you are right, there are people of the lower classes with some horrible sense (and possibilities) of how to dress – just as you have differences here too, between an Östermalmstant and a bonde…

    Just one example: my Swedish ex said that EVERY Swedish man needs to have one dark blue suit, because that’s the way it is, period. (I don’t know if that’s true) In Hungary we don’t have such a thing, a man can have any color they want which fits to their taste, social status, job etc.

    Yeah I know about Swedish fashion in the world and H&M, Lagerfeld and all that – what I am saying is that when I go to other countries (oh, how I loved the styles in Spain or in Florida!) and come back to Sweden, I have to see quite the same things here year after year, and with a much less VARIETY on people than in other corners of the world.

    Most probably H&M is indeed making FASHION – but just as one example: the harem pants are one of their big news for this spring-summer season – LAST summer LOTS of girls in Hungary were wearing them, and NOT from H&M… Because there we have not only much more different chains than here in Sweden, but also incredibly much more small shops, boutiques with unique selections. This is what I mean: when I was there last summer and saw not only the harem pants but several other “unconventional” designs being popular and providing a very wide variety, influenced by Hungarian traditions, Italian, Spanish, Balkan, Caribbean, Indian, Arabic and what not, above the more “normal” European and Scandinavian styles – and then I came back to Stockholm: tunica-black leggings, tunica-black leggings, tunica-black leggings, just like 3 years ago…

    Here you have Scandinavian and some English fashion and Indiska – tell me what else I missed. Second hand shops are really cool though!!!

    And no, it’s not “caring how you look being feminine”! It’s the cut and color of your shirt and pants, the way you walk and generally move your body, your radiation, attitude and such. Grooming is appreciated!!! Indeed, as far as I know, men from the Orient care a big deal about pampering themselves etc, but many of them are simply more masculine. Sorry, for me personally at least, it’s not easy to find really masculine and attractive guys amongst Swedes (maybe except for some really sporty ones) – I don’t know, maybe it has something to do with their general LAGOM mentality (which means in this context: lack of passion, fire and so on), or with the very fashionable Swedish thing of Sacred Equality, where the society is trying to make men out of women and women out of men… – but let’s don’t go into that here, that would be another, bigger topic to discuss.

    The black thing. After more than 4 years spent here, I still have to be able to grasp this idea: how making something ugly, dark and depressive even more black by putting on LOTS OF black, will make anyone feel better… Sweden (at least Stockholm, what I can see of it mostly) looks (AND FEELS) like one big funeral, for about 3/4 of the year, except for the Christmas lights…

    “looking different” means just like that: looking different than your fellows. That out of ten girls, not eight will wear the tunica-black leggings stuff, and the two left will put on a pair of jeans shorts with her boyfriends oversized underwear top (I don’t know the name for it), what he would normally wear under the shirt and which just hangs on the girl rather disgustingly (or it can be sexy when she wears it at his place as a pyjama) – but maybe 3 will have mini dresses (showing their nice BARE legs), 2 will have some cool pants that shows their shapes the best, 1 will have a long dress, etc, etc. But that’s apparently NOT for Sweden…

    As for LAGOM, I would love to hear what good can you tell about it (I still yet to see), may I invite you to my blog http://www.thelocal.se/blogs/stuckinstockholm/2010/07/16/lagom-part-1-probably and let’s also see what Sapphire will tell us about it.

  30. @Erik – what a rant, which is mostly approp but why on earth can’t you be wearing flip flops unless you’re on the beach?? God I’d be stuffed if I listened to you as I’m practically stuck to me fit flops and Birkenstocks.

    @everyone – I my humble op – I thought that far from looking feminine the Swedish male I spied (and there was a lot of staring going on on my part) were v well groomed. They obviously take care of their appearance and care what they look like. This is quite a foreign concept to some British males!

  31. @ Andrea Gerak: Yes, I totally agree with you that we need more boutiques then we do now, but that is probably because you visit all the big shopping malls, then it feels like H&M, MQ and Gina Tricot got sole right on the space there. And for the harem pants, everyone had them here like 5 years ago, I guess it comes back again this year. If you visit Söder you should find alot more boutiques though, although they are pretty far apart. And about the blue suit, yes you should always have one. You cannot show up in a pink suit at a wedding or at a formal dinner party with the boss, you would look like a pimp or a nightmare from 1975.

    But saying that “everyone dresses in black leggings and a tunica” isn’t really the truth. I mean, I thought of what you wrote and I saw one person today in that outfit so that’s a bit of an exaggeration. And you would never see the fashionistas walk around in leggings with a tunica, it’s the, well mostly it’s the lower class that dresses that way. I got like 20 female friends and I know that only one of them owns a pair of black leggings. I really don’t recognize the picture you are painting, it’s like you are seeing black leggings and nothing else everywhere. I’d say 4/10 are wearing black leggings and they usually live out in the burbs or are bönder from wherever.

    But saying “Swedish men are unattractive because they are lagom” is, well, I don’t know what it is. Then you have probably never met/or met the most boring Swedish guy and you obviously don’t know what lagom means. If you want a man that can fight off a lion with his teeth and got hair on his back and got hairy toes, and then force you to do all the cooking and cleaning then no, you wont find that guy here. If you find that form of cavemen super attractive, we probably got an exhibition of those at some museum. We evolved from that when the vikings came, which is more than 1000 years ago. I will comment on you blogpost at the local.

  32. @Erik – Thanks for the heads up. It is actually quite similar to what many of us girls wear here in Southern California. I find the whole wearing black debate to be quite interesting. I tend to wear quite a bit of black and also get a hard time for it. (Lovingly, of course.) Last year when I was in New York City I noticed many more people wearing black than out here in California. I wonder why that is.

    Given your big walls of text on this topic, I’m curious, what do you tend to wear on a daily basis?

    @Princess – I agree! Being well groomed is also a concept that many here lack as well. How long ago were you in Sweden? Perhaps after my trip I can offer a second opinion as well :)

  33. @Erik:

    If you read just a tad more carefully what I said about the blue suits, you’ll see that I didn’t mean pink for a formal dinner etc. But why goddamn boring dark blue for everyone? Maybe it reminds me too much of the communist times when we indeed have lots of uniforms in the Eastern Block… Why can’t you have various shades of brown, gray, or dark green or black?

    Black leggings: you are most probably right and I don’t see too many fashionistas – well, I don’t spend time around Stureplan and such, but I do spend LOTS of time elsewhere in the streets of Stockholm, hours a day, because I love to walk around and shoot photos. And that’s what I see all along Drottninggatan, for example: black leggings. It is not only my observation by the way, did you read what Sapphire wrote in this post, just below the first picture?

    About men: maybe indeed I met the most boring Swede who after work basically wouldn’t do anything else but sit on his computer and play Tetris, or check out what car would he love to have once, sometime, when he’ll win the lottery or something… And the decent Wifey had to sit at home with Hubby, and do all the cooking etc (which was not the setup we were talking about originally, otherwise NO WAY I’d had married him)
    And please don’t turn out my words: being PASSIONATE and WITH FIRE doesn’t mean the caveman thing you depict, but let’s really don’t go into another subject.

    @Sara on the black thing:
    People associate colors with different moods and occasions. Black has a very long tradition in the Western cultures to be worn only by the very old, by newly widowed women and at funerals – and DEATH, in general, if you just think of seeing a black flag on a public building. No matter how the fashion makers are trying to push it, saying that “black goes with everywhere”, “black is the universal color” and such, and many people tend to believe that: black will still have a psychological effect on those wearing it and on those who see others wearing it. And the effect is PUTTING ONE IN A LOWER MOOD. That maybe explains why in more easygoing places people prefer brighter colors.
    On the other hand, wearing black does suggest being elegant – but that depends on the occasion and the type of attire. And WHO wears it and HOW: if you just read some very basics of one’s own personal styling, you will find out that out of 4 types of people as for the combination of natural skin, hair and eye color, it is only 1 type that will look good in black, the rest should never wear it close to the face (means no black shirt, blouse, top, jacket, coat, hat, scarf, vest, dress). Otherwise one will look older, tired, pale, some even a bit sick… And even you are the 1 type that can wear black, you must still know to apply the specific make-up rules for it, too. And if we speak about Swedish fashion: VERY FEW Swedes fall into that 1 type which can afford black… (Well, being in that 1 type myself, I speak easy :-)

  34. @Sara – not spent loads of time. Went to South for wedding for week and then to Stockholm for week. Yep be good to hear what you think :-) When are you off?

  35. @ Andrea Gerak: Oh lord, of course you wont see any fashionistas walking around at Drottninggatan, it’s just like a billion tourists there and big department stores, an environment fashionistas don’t really thrive in. You have to walk around Östermalm (not just Stureplan), Söder (like Nytorget for instance), Kungsholmen, Vasastan or maby take a trip out to Konstfack at Telefonplan. Going out to Stockholm University is also great if you want to trend spot! That’s where you’ll find the people, not eating an ice-cream at Drottninggatan or in the line at the 4 floor H&M. And about the blue suit thing? What did you even mean with the blue suit then? He simply meant that ONE of your suits should be dark blue, not all 10 of them of course.

    @Sara: It kinda depends on the weather but I usually wear like skinny jeans (no, not super skinny jeans like cheap monday since I got an BMI of like 20 and cannot fit in those) and a shirt (love the ones they got at American Apparel and sometimes H&M, and I think you can make great finds at second hand stores). And then a pair of Converse. But that being said, if it’s autumn I wear a shirt, tie and trench, and winter I usually wear boots and a nice coat and so on. And if it’s a party I usually wear a bow-tie in fun colors like pink or purple. I got like a fetish for bow-ties and ties so I own like 10-15 of each.

    @Princess: Of course you can wear flip-flops or Birkenstock’s wherever you want to. You can walk around in a bikini or turn your clothes inside out if you want to as well. But that doesn’t mean it looks good. (No offense. If you love flip-flops then by all means use them, it’s what you think that should matter to you.)

  36. @Andrea – I appreciate your thoughts, but I will definitely have to disagree with you. Many of my friends and I tend to wear black and we have yet to experience any sort of negative psychological effects. In fact you’ll often find me smiling and laughing, even while wearing black :)

    Oh and regarding the pink suits, I think the point Erik may have been trying to make was that blue is an elegant color that is versatile and should also be a staple in your wardrobes, not that any other color besides blue is forbidden.

    @Princess – I’ll be there for a few weeks in August. I am quite excited and can’t wait! If you have any words of wisdom, let me know ;)

    @Erik – What started your bow-tie fetish? Do you mind me asking if you work in an office? If so, what are the dress codes like there? I was just curious because of your shirt & tie remark. Also, where in Stockholm would you recommend visiting? Of course I will check out some of the touristy things, but I’d prefer to get the most authentic experience I can.

  37. @Sara: Nope, I don’t work at any office, I study economics at the Stockhoholm Uni, aand work extra at the local supermarket! :D
    I don’t know what started off the bow-tie fetish, I guess I just saw a cool bow-tie somewhere and I was caught!

    http://bit.ly/bd6YHD (to google maps)

    There are some of the places I like to be at, there are like a million more and I find new places all the time. But at least it’s a start!

  38. @Erik – Wow, thank you for that! It was exactly what I was looking for. Your descriptions are very helpful. How do you like Stockholm Uni? I’d also like to take a look around the campus as well! Do you happen to have an msn or facebook? If it’s okay with you, I’d love to ask you some questions regarding my trip but I don’t feel comfortable posting specifics :)

  39. @Erik I checked out Stureplan last Friday and the only place I enjoyed was East´s. They crowd seemed diverse in every great way and very relaxed.

    My question to everyone is what are some good places to listen to anything that doesn´t consist of house or trance? And where people actually dance? I am looking for places that play hip hop, reggae, live music, etc. Tack!

  40. @Ms. O

    I don’t know about hip-hop, but a few good places with live music are Stampen and Wirströms in Gamla stan (Stora Nygatan) and sometimes Santa Clara on Lilla Nygatan. Music almost every night, at Stampen jam session on Sat afternoons, and most of them are free to attend, you only pay for what you drink. Blues, jazz, rock, soul, reggae and stuff like that. Not big spaces though, sometimes it’s not enough for dancing, but sometimes is, and you can ask the musicians about where else they play.

    The best gang in town I have found so far.

  41. @Ms. O

    Well, I think Berns is pretty good. They got a hiphop club every Wednesday night until 3am down in the basement where they only play hiphop, or the bottom floor at Sturecompagniet. And Södra Teatern/Mosebacke play a lot of reggae and R&B. And the ThaiBoat got a raggea/r&b/jazz club every Friday. And everyone that loves jazz SHOULD visit Fasching atleast once, it’s an awesome jazz club that also got a club named Etage at Fridays (or at least I think so) where they play hiphop/reggae/r&b.

    However, that is really not my kind of music so I’m not an expert, I think you can look at this list and check out different clubs (if you know some Swedish that is.)


  42. Okay, since I have been living in Stockholm for a whole 2 1/2 weeks now these are my INITIAL fashion thoughts:

    1. I used to shop at H&M quite a bit in the U.S. but don’t think I will so much anymore. I feel that I will end up wearing the same outfit as 15 other girls on any given day.

    2. A LOT of people wear the EXACT SAME THING. Literally.

    3. BUT, many, many people have the most interesting individual style and it makes people watching even better than it usually is! That and the Nordic beauty of course :)

    4. I don’t know if I will ever get used to “man capris” or short pants. Ask me again next year.

    5. Male skinny jeans are growing on me. On the right man anyway….

    6. Just say no to red pants. Nej, nej, nej!

    7. I do agree with some earlier posts that a lot of the stores are the same and on every corner, but I think if you look hard enough the shopping here is pretty great for such a small country. And, I will say again, the beautiful people watching makes it better.

    Having said all that, I love it here, find much inspiration in the local style and fashion and will continue to enjoy the view ;)

  43. Goddamn, those pants are horrible. I wear my flannel shirts and levi’s jeans with pride. Why do people have to be self-obsessed?

    Too much H&M crap floating around these days.

  44. I have to say, I was definitely horrified at the amount of 80s “fashion” that I saw during my past two-week visit to Sweden. Tapered, high-waisted jeans should be banned! Along with big 80s glasses; gross. I’m glad it’s not as prevalent here in the U.S.

  45. Here in the south west the men go for that “American” look!
    Jeans 8 sizes too large,belted underneath their arse cheeks and Bjorn Borg multicoloured boxers!!!
    Throw in a hoodie and a backwards facing gold lame baseball cap and there you have it..”the greater spotted Swedish twat”!
    A lot of the girls sport the typical national costume of black leggings,though in their defence,in summer i wear 3 quarter length board shorts,so i probably look as bad as them!
    Mind you,a hot girl in black leggings works for me..just wish a lot more who wear them were hotter!! lol.

    What’s with this crazy arssed fashion now of wearing a pretty dress with wellies/Gumboots/rubber boots??? Ridiculous!

  46. @Markus..HAHA H&M is boring. I concur. People need flair.

    @Dano..Oi!! I will have to agree that that particular “American” style just sucks ass! It is normally worn by upper middle class kids, who watch all rap music videos, which also suck ass! Sometimes I wish I could wear a disguise in a mall, run around and pull these losers pants down, and laugh. I know..evil ^^ :D Thank goodness I am older, and have style. Well, that is at least what I tell myself.

  47. I dont like the damn red pants on men, as far as Im concerned you either wear blue jeans, black jeans or cargo pants in black/olive green/ marine blue as a guy!. Anything else is reserved for the punk or metal scene. And only because without enough studded leather, you cant make the rest of the stuff work!

    Cant comment on the womens style of clothing, Im not the right person to ask for that, but Ive always liked fishnet stockings, but you only seem to see that on the underground rave clubs and rock/metal clubs these days.

  48. haha! I have just moved to Stockholm and have noticed the red jeans! where do they get em from though…i can’t see them anywhere!

  49. I completely disagree, I think Swedish people, especially those in Stockholm, are fantastically well dressed in comparison to many other European capitals and America. There is a culture of fashion here where people take an interest in what they wear and how the look.

    I think you just get enjoyment out of complaining about Sweden because you will never adapt to your surroundings here and never feel truly Swedish. Who really cares if a guy wears red pants; it’s just your stubborn mindset that limits you.

  50. The part about Swedish fashion that bothers me the most has less to do with what the clothes look like and more about what slaves the Swedes are to the current trends.

    Swedes have to have a new jacket every season. You need a fall jacket, a winter jacket, a spring jacket a summer jacket.

    Why can’t they wear last year’s spring jacket this spring? Because what they liked last year is not what they liked last year. How can that be?

    I’ll tell you. Swedes cant think for themselves. They do what they are told and they buy what the stores/fashion folks tells them to buy. You don’t see to many people in Stockholm really sticking out, really doing their own thing. Everyone is just wearing the same thing – until the next season when they HAVE to buy new stuff. God forbid you were not in style. They dont really care WHAT the style is, they just wear what everyone else is wearing, what they have read in magazines is “in”.

    I find it embarrasing and disturbing.

    I wish swedes had more back-bone and could make their own decisions more.

    One aside – Swedish men – at least in stockholm have been dressing SO GAY for so long. Sick of it.

  51. Hey, it depends on the leggings! I have a pair bought in Milan (I am Italian) but I wear them with a black long dress-pullover and a pair of cool boots. Leggings + t-shirt is absolutely awful, I agree. I do not comment the rest…

  52. it’s like staten island in swedish! ;P and wtf is up with the low-rise skinny jeans??? even the thinnest of people are plagued by “muffin tops”. which makes everyone look like their clothes are too small…
    do you remember when abercrombie & fitch sold fishing & hunting gear??? :D

  53. You call swedish ”fashion” tasteless and old or weird of whatever, what is this then http://www.google.se/imgres?q=Lady+gaga+meat&um=1&hl=sv&rlz=1C1SKPL_enSE407SE408&biw=1920&bih=979&tbm=isch&tbnid=a48zt01sKew9uM:&imgrefurl=http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2010/09/lady-gaga-meat-dress-made-of-real-meat.html&docid=xt0uuu812G3ePM&w=400&h=292&ei=JdxpTsK1M8bNswaW1eG8BA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=1494&vpy=149&dur=1397&hovh=192&hovw=263&tx=96&ty=81&page=1&tbnh=120&tbnw=164&start=0&ndsp=83&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0 ? The red pants used to be punk fashion in earlier years if im correct. then it came in chinos. I bought a pair cuz it was unusual but then it bcame fjortis fashion, and then the brown chinos began to appear everywhere in fjortisar and brats.. I don’t wear them no more, you can’t diss the whole country cuz of stockholm. I believe that stockholm is alot more extreme then for example Uppsala And
    Valborg is supose to be celebrated in Uppsala, not stockholm or anywhere else. Im swedish and I don’t approve of the leggins and the other crappy shit that came like 4 years ago. altho it’s dying praise the lord..

  54. Although I think it might be more extreme in Sthlm, I have to agree that Swedish fashion sucks.

    Valborg is supose to be celebrated in Uppsala
    Valborg is a pagan tradition that originates from Germany, so don’t think you can hog all the glory ;)
    And also if you use the href tag you won’t get such messy links
    like so; what is this then
    I hope I didn’t just make a mistake, or I will look like the dumbest person alive haha :P

  55. Hmm I sorta agree, at first I was gonna disagree for the last picture. But once I stopped looking at the hips and legs and focused only on the dress I noticed what you are saying. But at the same time, is not that the point of fashion?. I mean not to just look good but to show the figure of the actual person and to get the whole picture along with the clothing?. To make it all work together sorta?. I dunno Im not the guy to ask about fashion anyways, since my sisters neighbours are reluctant to let me in to the apartment building she lives in I assume that the way I dress is not in the top ten when it comes to corporate people.

  56. :))) I kind of think that the general fashion these days is to dress in a way that screams out loud to everyone around you – “I dont give a **** how do I look like!!!” I see Stockholm is not excluded. :D

  57. Björn – you are such a hoot! Perhaps you should dress as a hobo and try to enter your sister’s building.

    I think fashion is about the clothing, the body, and the looks. I don’t mean you need to be a model, I mean you should look and feel good in the clothes you wear. The biggest problem with the fashion trends in 2008-2010 was the focus on taller people. Short people cannot wear hip high wide belts, it will “cut” their body and make them look like a stump. Short people can wear leggings but not long tops, again it makes the legs look like stumps and torso look giant.

    This past year, I feel women are look much better and more comfortable with their styles, and prettier. But with prices the way they are in Sweden, I don’t buy any clothes.

    Moonlight – Yup the “i don’t give a fuck about what you think about my clothes but i’ll still spend $200 on a pair of jeans from CheapMonday” attitude is alive and kicking here.

  58. Great post about Stockholm. I couldn’t stop laughing. Even in SF and NYC, swedish men wear red pants. It so funny, because initially it seemed odd and cool. But once you realize it is a uniform, it is bewildering.

    But one thing I did notice is that most sweedish guys have no sense of humor at all. In fact they can’t take anything lightly when it comes to themselves. Look at commentator Eric, whose instinct is to treat Hungary with disdain (‘poor people have no fashion sense’ ) and point to the USA and ‘look at all those black people’ type of comment. But hey, we are talking about Stockholm. And, I am sorry, but Jay-Z is way cooler than anyone you find in Sweeden.

  59. Oh this is so not true. Everyone i know that have been in the US says that there sense of fashion is just awful. At least i new york. I think swedes are more into fashion. A lot of Americans looks like there stuck in early 2000.

    all the sparkly little t shirts with the text on and the wide and low jeans are just horrible.

    I love America (there so friendly) and i am moving there soon but if theres something i don’t like, it’s the clothes people were.

    I’m sorry for my bad english but i’m swedish so yeah this just made me angry because its quite the opposite.

  60. I am an american and lived in defferent parts of the US and living in Europe now. Had been doing global wor for sometime, so I have been exposed to a good number of nationalities. I use to think Euripeans were top in fashion, and that is a myth, WHile, Americans in general dress classic/conservative, and some lack fashion due to being over weight, the do lack one major thing, BO which seems to be the in thing in most EU. I work in an internaotiona organizationl, and I man international, Asia, EU, middle east, america (few), etc. As for women, I think Generall (not always) spanish womn, italian, some middleasterners ( lebanese, jordanians) and british are the best dressed at work, and certainly dont wear the same outfit two days in a row with th underarmps stain………… one just wants to faint.

    There are different tasts in fashion and from one city in a country to another varies.
    @ Erik: which part of the US did you go to or live in? I have been to paris many times, and was nto impressed with the fashion, because it is all leggings and blue jeans. Check out the women in New York, chicago, LA, and even smaller places, you would be surprised. the us is a large place with a large scale from fashion to food. You can eat greesey oversized meal or a samll portion, everything made fresh witht he name of the fart it came from. same for fashion. I dress mainly classic with something contemporary, but I try not to wear what;s in fashion if I dont think it fits my figure and age. To many european women in their 60s dress like teenagers, and at times look like a cheap slut.

    When it’s cold and as cold as it gets in Stockholm, I think warmth will rule over flimsy fashion, there is a happy medium. A descent pair of fashionable dark wash jeans or cord, or such with nice boots will do the trick, and it need not be LV or CC.

    As an American, I think EU hate americans and only have negative thoughts, we are all fat, we have no food, etc… let me tell you, I lived in Switzeland, I never ate fast food in the US, but in switerland it was one of the better choices. I gained 15 kilos, not from MC, but eating at the canteen at work and with friends. Barcelona, Milan, London is a completely different experience, in fashion, cuisine, culture etc… so it all varies, and variety is the spice of life.
    and by the way, I met a swedish man at a congress and he was a key speaker and had red leather pants and leather black jacket on……………he was 60+, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    I much rather put up with a guy in baggy jeans, but showered and has been introduced to deoderant than a fashionable smelly guy!!!

  61. i am so lucky that my bf (he swedish) aint dress the way that it is mostly common for this country.. at least i can take him to my motherland without any shame ahahahah

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