Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Swedish Fashion Women's Edition: Hippie Tres Chic

I know I mostly whine about Swedish fashion here, and my inability to find nice staple pieces that aren't ubertrendy – but there is a style of Swedish fashion that I Love Love Love.

The problem is? Ouch on the price. And I really cannot excuse buying more than the occasional on sale item from these shops. (OK – truth be told? I'm a little stingy with money, esp. on clothing. I like to spend it on travel instead).

Back in the day I was a total crunchy granola hippie. These days, not so much. I'm in the corporate world and I don't completely identify with the 'crunchy mama' movement – if you don't know what that is, congratulate yourself and move on.

Back in the late 90's I mostly made my own clothes. Lots of patchwork. Lots of flowy dresses. Lots of colors. (Think Lena Ph  meets Grateful Dead)

I would like to find some clothing that embraced the essence of that look, without looking like I made it myself. And I'd rather not look like I just came off the road from Phish 1995 summer tour.

This is why I really love the store Noa Noa (I suspect Noa Noa is Danish – but 'skit samma')

If I had a little more money, or was less of a cheapskate I would shop there ALL the time. The clothing is pretty good quality and I love the look.

The average price of a pair of pants at Noa Noa will set you back almost 100$ and the dresses are usually around $200. Nice for a nice occasion, but not really what I want to spend on day-to-day wear.

Then there is Gudrun Sjoden – I drool over her catalog's fab photography and lovely clothing. Sjoden's prices are also above my usual price point – but I am not as sad about that as Noa Noa. I can not, for the life of me, find anything that has a flattering fit to it on me. I fall into the small side of Gudrun's range and they all end up looking like potato sacks. The items here usually start at 150$ per separate.

Then there is Odd Molly. This is the thing that upper middle-class mothers wear ALL the time. While I like the idea of Odd Molly, often times the clothing looks like the stuff I used to sew. And it comes with a 200$ price tag.

I used to make nicer shirts than this – these cost about 120$. Mine sold for 20$.

See, if I was going to spend 200$ on a dress, I would be buying a dress from Winter Kate, which is American, not Scandinavian. I admit, I loathe Nicole Ritchie, but I love these dresses. 

I think the moral of this post is that I, as an aging ex-hippie, find it difficult to pay designer prices to dress like a flower child. Also, now you know, I am cheap.

I also will point out that most of these companies have a great values system - fair labor practice and organic materials, which I really support. I also have no problem with the fact that quality clothes cost more. I get it. That's why I appreciate these labels, but I still cannot afford them. 

Thank goodness for H&M


  1. That is so funny that you write about your problems finding clothes that you like here in Sweden. For me it was the same but opposite when we first moved to the states. There I just could not find anything that I liked and used to buy all my clothes when I went to Sweden. Now I would say that I find both clothes that I like here in Sweden and in the US. Here I usually shop at MQ, H&M, Åhlens, and Sisters. I agree with you that Noa Noa has nice stuff but is kind of expensive. I guess you could compare Noa Noa to Antrophology in the US. Nice stuff but a little bit more expensive. In the US I still like to shop at GAP (you can order stuff from there here to Sweden now), J.Crew and Banana Republic. Mabye what you like and don´t like about faishon depends a lot on where one has grown up and what you are used to seeing others wear.

  2. I have alot of trouble finding clothing in sweden, I have
    a fairly large chest size and have issues finding flattering
    clothing that is not over 1400 SEK per item.
    Having been raised in Australia with pretty easy going parents
    and my sister who now lives in India im sure you can imagine
    the clothing we wore... I am pale skinned with freckles soI like alot of colour and sweden well...they sure do like white and beige and apricot, I really enjoy reading your blog

  3. @Desiree - That's interesting. I do find more and more now that I have a harder time finding things in the US - but I still do most of my shopping there. I do admit, my biggest problem is a profound disinterest in all things fashion. Yet, I don't want to look like a complete haggard, old Mom who's given up all hope. So I slave on. I do get a lot of stuff on sale at BR and GAP - and I also get most of my work stuff from the sales at Ann Taylor and Loft - I will keep trying here in Sweden... :) Will have to try Sisters again - sometimes I find good stuff there.

    @Stacey - Thanks! Ouch on the 1400 sek pricetag - I can imagine if you don't fit the sizing norms it is a real nightmare - I know I have a friend who is a size 44 and the selection of stuff she has to choose from is pretty much aimed at the granny set.

  4. Hah yeah its kinda that way, sometimes i can get something to fit in H&M or Lindex or KappAhl but more than not they just dont fit, my bust would be around an 46-48 my waist is a 42 though so its a bit of problem not looking like you are wearing a potato sack, and as i am 23 and close to 6 foot tall i dont want to look like an granny but im not really the ´hip or stylish´swede either... Also because we both live on my sambos wage i feel guilty if i buy anything expensive so i tend not to...

  5. Noa Noa has outlet stores in Stockholm Barkarby and Freeport Kungsbacka, outside Göteborg.

  6. @anon Thanks, I wil have to check it out

  7. I fell in love with Indiska when I lived in Sweden:
    Still hoping they'll set up an online store!