how to dress for scandinavia (when you hate nature)

So as I mentioned, I’m going to Scandinavia!

A bit of a backstory.

Visiting Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki has been on my bucket list for many years (and on my mighty life list for the last four). Two years ago I decided to start with Oslo and plan a trip for the five of us. And then Noah landed in the hospital – followed by Conor landing in the hospital. So, no Norway.

So then LAST year I decided to try again. One trip, one city, 5 people.

Yeah – 5 people. Of wildly different ages, needs, interests. And I became completely overwhelmed at the prospect of planning such a big trip and trying to satisfy everyone. Oslo is far from inexpensive, and the whole thing felt like a potential recipe for disaster. I reasoned that I’d get there when I’m old, so once again, no Norway.

But then – around that same time – we were celebrating Chelsea’s 24th birthday and I asked her if she’d thought about what she wanted to do for her big birthday the following year.

And she looked at me and said, “I want the two of us to go to Norway”. I was surprised, and then learned that over the past year – starting when I first mentioned the idea – she’d been poring over pictures of Norway on-line, becoming as smitten with the place as I was.

So Mike and I chatted and agreed that the two of us would go.

So we’re going!

I was still overwhelmed with the planning, so I enlisted the help of a stellar travel agent. Cindy did a HUGE intake at the beginning of the planning process, and quickly learned that Chelsea and I had little to no interest in experiencing nature – which, it turns out, is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what 99% of people who visit Norway do.

When I explained to her that there would be no trail hiking, fjord sailing or mountain climbing, she suggested that we could “probably” see much of the city in just a few days – leaving us plenty of time to fit in Copenhagen and Stockholm.

WINNING!

I can’t wait to share our adventures with you in the coming weeks (you KNOW there will be great things to eat!), but this post is all about the clothes.

how to pack for scandinavia

I was determined to apply my capsule wardrobe philosophy to this trip – and had a mini-experience doing so last year on our quick visit to Savannah. And I wasn’t too worried about packing light – as I’ll be in three of the most fashionable cities in the world, “emergency” shopping was not going to be a problem (plus I’ll be packing my secret weapon!).

And then – as I do – I took to Pinterest, to get some outfit ideas for a week in Scandinavia in early summer.

And what I found was a lot of this. And this.

Clearly people like to EXPLORE NATURE in Scandinavia. IN WINTER. And do OUTDOORSY KINDS OF THINGS.

Like this:

winter in scandinavia

photo credit: a dangerous business

And this:

winter in scandinavia

photo credit: local adventurer

But what about two ladies who just want to roam the city, eat pastries and people watch?

I clearly had to take matters into my own hands.

Typically I start wardrobe planning by standing in front of my clothes and waiting for inspiration. This time I sat at the kitchen table with a pad and pen (do you ever just feel the need for a pad and pen instead of using your computer?) and wrote a list of my favorite pieces – the ones that are in heaviest rotation. And my packing list basically created itself.

As you can see there is a 2:1 ratio of tops to bottoms, with a larger-than-usual amount of outwear (especially if you count the sweater as a possible jacket). Scandinavia can have temps that range from cool to warm this time of year, and the chance of rain is pretty decent in all three cities. So I wanted pieces that could layer, as well as those that would withstand getting wet.

outfit ideas

My outfits are very much “me”, simple, classic and comfortable – with pieces I’m happy to repeat as needed.

I’ll let you know how it works out – is there anything you think I’m missing???

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