More Sense Making and Danish Fashion

 – author of How to Live in Denmark podcasts – does it again and explains something that I just wasn’t understanding.

Ever since coming to Denmark, I’ve been looking for rain gear. Because it rains an awful lot in this country that is bordered on three sides by ocean, and when you don’t have a car you have no choice but to walk and/or bike in the rain.

I was having no luck finding a rain jacket. I wanted something cute and fun, maybe a bright color or pattern. Cause, you know, it’s a rain jacket, you wear it when it’s gloomy outside so it’s nice if it’s a pop of color, and if I was in the US that’s what I would be looking for. Something like this:

Ooo how fun and cute!

Ooo how fun and cute!

The problem – and you can tell if you look closely – was that all the fun rain jackets seemed to only be available in children’s sizes. It seemed a little strange, but I thought that maybe I was just looking at the end of the season and everything was already picked over. Because, they couldn’t possibly offering me rain coats in nothing but variations of muted blues and browns and lots and lots of black:

The most exciting in this line up: the polka dot.

The most festive in this line up: the polka dot.

Could they? Can this be it? I look over at the kids section, and all I see are polka dots and stripes, zigzags and geometric designs. That means these colors exist. Why can’t I find any in my size?!

The answer came with Kay’s podcast:

“But what is true is that Danes dress to match the Danish landscape. That means grey. And brown, and green, and some blue. Maybe some beige for the adventurous types.

But if you find yourself wearing purple or orange, or hot pink, you will stand out in Denmark. Those colors are worn by children, or sometimes by middle-aged ladies trying to make a statement.”

Apparently, in Denmark I am either a child or a middle-aged lady. Because this is the jacket I ended up with:

My eyes! It's so bright!

My eyes! It’s so bright!

Yes, that’s right, I ended up finding and purchasing a fairly bright purple rain jacket. I look at it as a kind of compromise.

At least it’s not patterned.


11 thoughts on “More Sense Making and Danish Fashion

  1. Nice! Good for you for not giving in. This reminded me of when I lived in London for a year. It seems all the locals wore dark colors, mostly black. I, too, enjoy the pops of color in clothes, being from Mexico City where there is so much color around. Here in India, you must imagine, the amazing colors of saris and tops that women wear. I even feel a bit boring wearing a brightly colored but plain patternless t-shirt.


    • I can totally see that in rainy, foggy London. I’m glad that you’re getting to live in a culture that loves color as much as your home culture does! There’s a place in Aarhus called Bizarre West. It’s a huge bizarre where immigrants from India, Turkey, Africa have stalls and sell spices and clothes and things. I haven’t been yet, but I’m so excited to check it out. But I think I’ll probably be going there for my color fix this winter.


  2. Love the purple! I used to scurry between shelter on rainy days until I moved to Norway, and now I find walking in it is some of the most peaceful times of my day. I hope you enjoy your rainy walks and bike rides too!


    • I remember when I was younger I used to love playing in the rain. Maybe I should try to recapture some of that during my time here in rainy Denmark.


  3. Allison – I love your daring purple jacket! And, I see the grey/Danish PC sweaster underneath.
    Good for you! Perhaps you’ll start a fashion trend for women “who want to make a statement.”
    Love it! Mom Pierce


  4. I love all the comments and encouragements for me to wear colors 🙂 But the truth is that I really don’t feel judged or singled out when I wear bright colors around Aarhus. Perhaps this will change once fall and winter truly set in, but I do see some colors around me. And part of me feels like the penchant towards black is more a big city thing than a specifically Danish thing.

    I don’t want to give everyone the wrong opinion of my host country!


  5. Hey there!

    For the record (when your pretty purple rainjacket wears out), Danefæ have som real pretty, colorful raincoats. On the expensive side of the shelves that is, but amazingly pretty!


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