Norwegian Fashion - From Bunad to Wool

When you hear the words "Norwegian fashion", do you think of reindeer sweaters and Christmas? Well, no one blames you! Norwegians are indeed known for their rather casual clothing but that doesn't mean that Norwegian fashion is boring. Quite the contrary!

For this part of the series Typisk Norsk-Typically Norwegian, I therefore want to focus on Norwegian clothing - from traditional costumes to street style!


Bunad - The national costume

If there's one day of the year when Norwegians all around the country like to dress up, it's on 17th of May. While people usually dress very casual outside of Oslo's Michelin restaurants, the National Day of Norway is the one day of the year where you can hardly find anyone wearing sneakers and yoga pants.

It's common in Norway to wear the traditional costume, called Bunad, on that day. And it's actually not just one costume - there's between 200 and 400 different types of this costume, all depending on the region one is from. 

So if you're in Norway on 17th of May you can play the happy game of guessing where that woman's bunad might be from...

Men and women alike wear their bunad with proud and that's mostly due to one reason: bunads are incredibly expensive, costing between $2000 and $10000! Most people get their first bunad at their confirmation and it's common to wear it at family celebrations like baptisms and weddings as well. 

What makes them so special and expensive is that they're hand-made and include a lot of silver jewellery and sometimes even silver thread!


It's all about wool

I find it quite understandable that Norwegians like to dress down the rest of the year. I mean, when they do dress up, they really go all in!

Plus, considering that Norway is one of the colder(est) countries of Europe, the prevalence of wool in Norwegian clothing stores makes total sense. But Norwegians don't just wear any wool sweater, they have their own national sweater: the mariusgenser! 



Mariusgenser, typically made in the colours of the Norwegian flag, are incredibly warm and of course, pretty expensive. It's one of the things you either are lucky enough to have a grandparent knitting for you or you just don't have one at all. No I'm kidding, you could always buy one but that kinda feels wrong... and hurts your bank account...

Anyway, there are probably few things that are more Norwegian than this and few things that are warmer too! It's not uncommon to see people in the midst of winter wearing no winter jacket at all, just a mariusgenser, so that gives you an idea of how warm wool can be!



With the cold weather we get in Tromso, I wear gloves from October to March and not just any - Finnmarksvotter is the way to go if you want to stay warm and look totally Norwegian. Or rather Sami I guess. 

This kind of glove with the special triangular shape and the star, has its origin in Finnmark, the northernmost county of Norway. You can buy them on the Sami market on Sami National Day in Tromso and maybe in one of the souvenir shops in town too, if youre lucky!

By the way, Finnmarksvotter look a lot like Selbuvotter, named after Selbu near Trondheim. There's not a lot of information about the origin of these kinds of gloves online but I do know that it's a very old Norwegian tradition to knit (and wear) these. 


What the cool kids wear

A post about fashion isn't complete without a mention of what all the hipsters wear, right?!

Norwegians, thanks to janteloven and a general unspoken rule in society for everyone to be like everyone else, don't dress very flamboyantly. There are a few very Scandinavian trends though that you can easily spot on the streets.

One thing is for teenagers to wear yoga leggings (the ladies) and trainers either without socks or with mini socks so that their ankles are bare. And while this look certainly goes for any fitness blogger working out in LA, it's kinda odd that this trend is so popular in the Norwegian Arctic as well. Hello blue legs!

Apropos blue legs, don't be surprised if you see girls wearing very short dresses without or with only very thin tights on a Saturday night - preferably with a thick winter jacket cause that totally helps in keeping your legs warm...

I feel really old writing this as I'm pretty sure I never dressed weather-appropriately 10 years ago either...

Anyway, moving on. Other very Scandinavian trends that are also pretty hip in Norway right now would be Fjällräven backpacks and manbuns. The backpacks are pretty but no comment on the latter...


So what do you think of Norwegian fashion? And are there Any particular trends to know about in the place you live?

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