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Packing for Stockholm is an exciting activity, especially if you’re a wardrobe minimalist. Finally, you’re going to the epicenter of Scandinavian style, where women are actually equal to men. That’s a lot of pressure to pack smartly –– after all, sometimes it feels like the Swedes invented the capsule wardrobe. (I have no idea if that is true –– it’s just a strong gut feeling the sight of a typical Swedish outfit evokes in me.)
When considering what to wear in Stockholm, keep in mind that here, women truly dress for themselves, and dress comfortably. Styles that would be uncomfortable to wear on a bike, or that are designed to appeal to the male gaze, will make you stand out, and not in a good way. Uncomfortable purses will weigh you down. High heels don’t play well on cobblestone streets. So embrace this style, wallow in the freedom of dressing for (a Scandinavian version of) yourself. And it’s a Nordic country, so think warm layers, and neutral, neutral, neutral, simple, simple, simple.
I’ve put together a failsafe packing list of sustainable and ethical fashion items that can be mixed, matched, and layered for a different Scandinavian-chic look every day for a week or more in Sweden.
(And when you arrive, here’s where to eat, stay, and shop in Stockholm.)
For the plane:
T-shirt – I really like the drape of Alternative Apparel’s organic cotton and recycled polyester t-shirt, and it comes in 6 neutral colors
Athleisure pants – Again, Alternative Apparel has a large selection of flattering sweatpants to choose from, and prAna sells sweats and comfy leggings, or you could go for cashmere bottoms which can double as fancy pajamas.
Stylish sweatshirt or hoodie – I like this one from Icebreaker, a cashmere hoodie is so comfy and chic –– try this one from Base Range or these from Naadam, or a very basic sweatshirt in your fave color from Everlane, or choose from a wide selection of affordable sweatshirts from a small Swedish (Denmark’s neighbor) brand that you might have heard of.
Wool ankle socks – I like lightweight wool socks for long plane rides, because they wick away sweat and odor.
Sneakers – You’ll be able to wear these with everything, even with a skirt or a dress. It’s a thing. Vejas are a popular option.
City backpack – There’s the Danish brand grünBAG (which I partnered with to come up with a great traveling backpack called the Alden), a simple one, a hyper-organized and practical backpack, or one of these uber-Scandinavian backpacks.
Bum bag – Nordic people love their bum bags. They’ll sling them across their chest, or even strap a nice one around their ruffled dress. Believe me, there’s no inappropriate occasion for a hip bag in Copenhagen. I also like them for traveling because it’s handy to have my wallet and passport and phone strapped right to my chest, rather than in my backpack! Check out my roundup of hip bags.
In Your Suitcase
Cozy, warm sweater – You can’t arrive to Scandinavia without one! You might not wear it during the day, but you’ll find yourself reaching for it in the morning and evening. This sustainable store has so many beautiful ones, and the Swedish brand Maska does sweaters really well.
Knee-length dress with sleeves – check out my selection of sustainable dresses.
Light wash loose-fit jeans – Here’s my round-up of eco-friendly denim brands.
Ankle boots – Here’s a list of sustainable and ethical boots.
OR pointed toe flats if you don’t want to wear any heels at all.
Tights – for under your skirt and dress.
Warm scarf – you could go neutral or grey, or use it for your pop of color: Filippa K has a great selection, VOZ is also gorgeous, Give Back Goods has some, Naadam does cashmere, and Miss Pom Pom does colorful ones.
Underwear and bras – Here’s my guide to packing just enough eco undies and bras.
Bathing suit – for the baths if you decide to go, which you should!
Un-makeup makeup – don’t go heavy with product, let your natural beauty shine, like the Swedish girls do. Here are my favorite places to shop for non-toxic makeup.
And of course, if the above brands and stores don’t satisfy your fashion desires, you can always go secondhand!