The Rulebook for Being Cool

By Andrea Forssberg | Magazine | February 3, 2023

Cover Illustration: Five coats on a coat rack. Amanda Vick / Unsplash

Magazine writer Andrea Forssberg discusses the recent rise of the scandi-chic style on social media and how it can promote sustainability through a more mindful approach to fashion.

The rising success of the scandi-chic aesthetic has been discussed for a while now. High fashion Twitter seems to despise it, the TikTok girls are asking how and the influencers have adapted the concept. Whatever your opinions might be, there are reasons behind its success that speak for a generation of new consumers. 

But what is scandi-chic? Short for Scandinavian chic, this aesthetic (also known as scandi style) is associated with minimalism in fashion. Oftentimes emphasis is placed on tailored silhouettes or oversized fittings, knitwear, neutral colors and classic pieces.

While the criticism flows in — calling out this style for its basic approach to fashion — it offers heaps of personality, choices and freedom. The recipe for a ‘clean’ look is fairly simple, making it the first reason for its immense success. If you don’t know where to start, this aesthetic offers you an entry-level position within the fashion world. Dressing for your body type, choosing colors that suit you and tailoring outfits to your liking. These clothes are personal and bring mindful choices to the consumers’ table. 

It also contains the concept of a capsule wardrobe. People are allowed to work with what they have, look to sustainable brands for inspiration and build from there. You can buy pieces that are meant to be worn time and time again, outfits are being repeated and timelessness is promoted over micro trends. As many cannot afford to splurge on quality items, the aesthetic does not ask you to. The only requirement is that the clothes that are bought are being used. 

Another reason for the success of the scandi-chic aesthetic lies within its overall sustainable approach to fashion. Second-hand is heavily promoted and great pieces, once again, do not necessarily have to showcase status or wealth, they simply have to be great pieces.

The style offers guidelines in terms of what to wear; well-fitting dress pants, a colorful sweater, and lots of accessories. However, it is more important to break the rules and make them your own. Pushing a perspective where consumers’ ideas, thoughts, and creative expression are valuable. The idea behind it becomes more of an exploratory clothing adventure of finding your personal style than it is a rulebook for being cool. 

Sustainability, second-hand, personal style and capsule wardrobes do not offer much for the fast fashion companies to work with as they can no longer adhere to the demands of their consumers. Their only choice is to become more sustainable. 

The aesthetic grants some power to the consumers, where they are allowed to choose for themselves. While judgment has always been a form of currency in fashion, this style allows for an ‘as long as you enjoy it’ philosophy, freeing people at least to some extent of others’ thoughts and criticism. 

Another aspect that contributes to the success of the scandi-chic aesthetic is that the influencers that advocate for the style are often consistent in their personal style. They do not follow micro-trends, they genuinely attempt to be sustainable and campaign for more personality within the fashion world. 

Dressing for your body type, choosing colors that suit you and tailoring outfits to your liking.

Andrea Forssberg is a university student in Amsterdam. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Amsterdammer. 

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