Contrary to my not-so-jet-set lifestyle, I hopped on a plane and flew to Denmark for a five day getaway in Copenhagen. Little did I know I would be blown away by Danish design and style. In fact, I was so blown away by the simplicity and efficiency of life in Denmark that I immediately adopted it as my own. Despite the short nature of my trip, the Danish way of life is so innate and human that returning to Atlanta with sixteen lanes of backed up traffic (both ways!) caused a minor panic attack on my way home from the airport.
That being said, I arrived at the quintessential time in Denmark. Early September marks the transition from what Danes refer to as summer to autumn and the weather was divinely perfect. Sunshine and hardly any clouds were in the forecast for five magical days of exploring via bike, foot and train all of Copenhagen’s finest historical landmarks, shopping districts, art museums and cafes.
Here in the US we look to Europe as our fashion role model, anticipating the latest colors and looks from their runway shows to hit our stores months later. The Danish aesthetic is classic with simple silhouettes and shapes that look perfect on their six foot tall frames. There were lots of tunics, flowing silhouettes, sheer paired with opaque textiles, platform shoes and of course, black. Pastel and neon accents were interjected into the otherwise monochromatic color palette. Whether it’s a brightly colored Fjall Raven backpack weaving through a bike lane or a pair of colored, Converse, low-top sneakers waiting for the train during the morning commute, flecks of color in the midst of a crowd are sure to draw your focus.
The essence of the Danish look is “effortless”. It’s a closely knotted, peroxide bun, opaque tights with a run up the side (likely a biking casualty) with a dash of “I just threw this together”. Everyone appears to have a strong sense of being purposeful and purposeless all at the same time. The nitpicky perfection we strive toward in our daily appearance is cast aside and a new paradigm is built where the elegantly disheveled look actually works.
It seemed as though the Danes treat their homes the way they do their fashion, simple and functional. Black lacquers sharply contrasted against unfinished pine create a modern “to the point” look. Color blocked throws, heavily patterned curtains, accent rugs and glassware—all bring excitement and intrigue to an otherwise plain backdrop. Simple lines creating unique shapes that always seem to have a dual function leave no space to waste in tiny apartment city living.
Leave it to the Danish for finding the key to life and happiness in good design. It’s the relaxed fit of an oversized tunic and sneakers, a cozy shaggy rug between your toes or a simple steamed latte on a chilly fall morning. And we wonder why Denmark is the happiest country in the world.