I spent a bit of time online today looking at what well-dressed Swedes are wearing these days. It’s not because I’m fashion conscious. I mean, you’ve seen how I dress. No, it’s because I’m wanting to get a sense of what I should pack for my forthcoming trip to Sweden. Last time I travelled it was the middle of summer, and so really, I didn’t need to take all that much with me. But this time around it will often be very cold. And I have the added complication of needing something “nice” to wear at the conference I’m attending. I’ve decided I can pack a suit, scrunch it up, and then have it dry-cleaned closer to the conference, so that’s sorted. And Damien has loaned me a warm jacket that he took with him to China a couple of years ago and protected him in sub-zero temperatures, so that’s sorted. But what about day to day? What combination do I need of easy to wear vs easy to wash and dry clothing vs clothing; clothing that will keep me warm; and clothing which will look good. Although I know I could look at clothing stores like H&M, but really… what I need is an understanding of how people clothe themselves in real life with layers, scarves, shoes and other accessories. So I went online to check out some of the out and about photo galleries from Swedish newspapers. First stop was The Local, the English language newspaper in Sweeden which features weekly photo galleries. The nightlife galleries on The Local, were all a bit lah-dee-dah for me. Everyone’s far too young and far too beautiful. And far too thin for me to be able to use for clothing inspiration. So I checked out QX, the Swedish gay newspaper which also has online galleries. As I’m no longer a “clubbing” kinda guy, I found the best inspiration in photographs from a book launch. Thankfully, the gallery also included a photograph of the walk in closet, where people disposed of their outdoor winter clothing. That was good, helping me to check out how thick/warm my jacket might be.
I noticed that, even indoors, people wear thin pullovers and scarves over shirts. I couldn’t see what kind of underwear they have on, unfortunately, but I’m guessing that it’s warmish. So yeah, I definitely need to take a scarf, though I noticed the ones they had on were significantly thicker than the two I have. I saw quite a few people wearing leather jackets in the photographs, so I’m guessing that’s a good way to get protection from the cold, the wind and rain. So yeah, I’m definitely taking that. I also noticed most people were wearing several thin layers of clothing, which I assume is so you can adjust how much you need according to where you are, either indoors with central heating, or outdoors in the cold. Swedes also, apparently, have a habit of taking their shoes off – covered in snow and mud – when they go into someone’s home. So I’m guessing I’ll need some thick, nice looking socks, if I’m to walk around barefoot sometimes. I’m slightly anxious about the clothing, and remain undecided if I should purchase some warmer clothing here now, or wait until I get to Sweden and do a quick shop on my first day. More research is needed.