A Nordic Guide to Surviving the Autumn
Text: Matthew White
Photo: Ted Olsson
This means, however, that we have become experts at surviving the autumn, both physically and mentally – from practical outerwear and comfortable style to a cosier atmosphere at home, we enter the season fully prepared. In this article, we share some of our best tips for making the most of autumn in true Nordic style.
We Scandinavians are a practical lot, but also famous for our minimalist design tradition in everything from furniture and home décor to cuisine. Our design heritage is, of course, even reflected in our clothing and accessories. This combination of practicality and style is a particularly useful trait in a season when unexpected heatwaves can quickly give way to unforgiving winds, and a light covering of snow can be almost washed away by rain before freezing and turning the city centre into a natural ice rink. In other words, our autumn wardrobe needs to be ready for anything.
A versatile, waterproof jacket is perhaps the most essential part of any Scandinavian’s autumn wardrobe. The Regulator Coat from Norway’s UBR is a particularly stylish choice, with light synthetic quilting and an exceptional level of water repellence. It is also lightweight and compact, meaning you can squeeze it into your backpack or shoulder bag should the sun make a sudden appearance. For milder weather, the Stockholm Raincoat from Stutterheim is a thinner, unlined alternative that is just as good at keeping you dry. The gilet, or ‘body-warmer’, is rapidly gaining popularity here in the North, and even makes for an ideal mid-layer if temperatures suddenly plummet. The large pockets of each of these models are also ideal for storing a pair of warm gloves from Hestra, just in case.
The city of Borås, where Care of Carl has its HQ, is actually Sweden’s rainiest, which may be why we are so enamoured with the attractive and hard-wearing umbrellas from Carl Dagg, made just to the north of us in Malung.
Less Colour, More Comfort
Whether our preference for more understated and natural shades is due to our love of nature or rather the ‘law of Jante’, it remains true that bold, vibrant colours are rarely seen during the Scandinavian autumn. This is also the time of year where we are, unsurprisingly, drawn to comfortable and snug clothing, often including styles which feel almost reassuringly traditional.
This combination of comfort and elegance is something of a speciality of Sweden’s Stenströms, and their half-zip jumper in merino wool is one of our favourites. For more formal occasions, Oscar Jacobson offer their warm Fogerty tweed blazer in distinctly autumnal shades of navy, brown and olive-green. A thick flannel shirt, such as these models from Eton and Filippa K, is not only comfortable and warm, but also highly versatile, suited to both casual and somewhat more formal situations. A pair of wool trousers from Danish design collective Sunflower makes sure the feeling of elegant comfort even extends to the lower half of your body, while corduroy models such as those offered by NN07 are an excellent autumnal alternative to jeans.
The Right Atmosphere
Having discussed the more practical aspects of surviving a Nordic autumn, our final tip offers a way to beat the autumn blues. Concepts such as Danish ‘hygge’ and Norwegian ‘koselig’ have become rather tired clichés in many ways, but it remains true that we do love making our homes calm and cosy oases when the winds begin to howl.
One of the things many visitors comment on is that Scandinavian homes seem to become almost infested with candles as soon as the days begin to shorten. But this love of candles is not without reason, as they add a much-needed touch of light and warmth. Skultuna, founded by Sweden’s King Karl XI, creates beautiful candlesticks and candle holders in brass that further enhance the candle’s comforting glow. Choosing a scented candle further adds to the calm atmosphere of your home, and the Woods candle from Byredo evokes the feeling of a walk through the forest – one of every Scandinavian’s favourite activities. To keep all these candles at their best, a wick trimmer is almost a necessity – thankfully, Byredo are once again here to help. For an extra sense of calm and comfortable style, try wrapping yourself in a luxurious robe from CDLP.