Why Do Scandinavians Wear Black? 

Scandinavians are very stylish people. The national identity comprises Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Greenland.

While each of these countries has its own approach to fashion, they all have one thing in common; they love black. 

Scandinavians wear black because the color is simple and timeless, allowing them to dress sustainably.

The trendy Europeans prefer a few simple wardrobe pieces they can mix and match. Black allows limitless outfit possibilities.

This article will take a deeper look at the enduring allure of black to Scandinavian people. It will also explore the defining characteristics of Scandinavian fashion. 

Also, see Why Are Scandinavians So Big? to learn more.

8 Reasons Scandinavians Like Black Clothes

Despite being one of the most fashionable colors in the world, many still associate black with sadness or horror.

Westerners tend to assume people wearing head-to-toe black are going through something and are unapproachable.

Scandinavians don’t wear black as external mirrors of their inner ennui.

They mostly choose the color because they are very practical people, and black is stylish, simple, and goes with everything.

Building their outfits around one color also allows Scandinavians to dress sustainably, which is very important to them. 

1. Black Is Chic

Scandinavians often wear black simply because dark colors are stylish. Scandinavians don’t limit their dark colors to black, either.

The fashion-savvy citizens also wear dark gray and navy blue. 

However, they do generally stick to solid, monochromatic shades. Scandinavians believe patterns and logos ruin clean lines and silhouettes.

Black has long been considered highly fashionable and flattering.

The shade’s stylish global reputation dates back to the 19th century but may trace its roots even further back. 

Monarchs began wearing black in the mid-1500s. Author John Harvey postulates that international fashion is dictated by whatever world power is the most dominant at a given time. [1]

The citizenry dressed to emulate royalty.

Therefore, if monarchs wore black, so did the people, and in turn, they influenced other nations. 

Also, see What Do Scandinavians Think of the British? to learn more.

2. Black Is Versatile

Swedes are stylish but practical people, and they appreciate the utilitarian nature of black. A black base goes well with anything and allows for simple elegance. 

Dark colors are quick and easy choices that don’t sacrifice fashion. Using dark colors allows Scandinavians to throw together an outfit without too much consideration and still look chic. 

Additionally, dark clothes go with many things. Having a few essential pieces allows them to mix and match or layer up for unique looks.

This prevents the need for more extensive wardrobes. Scandinavians buy a few ensemble pieces that will last a long time and modify how they pair them, creating new looks. 

A Scandinavian wardrobe typically includes a few utilitarian pieces, including:

  • A coat
  • A white t-shirt
  • Basic sweaters and shirts
  • Boots
  • Sneakers/flats
  • Black tights
  • Blazers/suit ensembles

3. Black Is Simple

Simplicity is the absolute defining characteristic of Scandinavian fashion. To capitalize on this philosophy, citizens often wear basic colors.

While black is the most popular, Scandinavians also wear white, beige, gray, and navy blue.

They generally stick to monochromatic ensembles accentuated with distinctive accessories. 

Vogue Scandinavia provides some insight into the Scandinavian mindset towards color. [2]

The fashion mogul suggests gradually adding small pops of color to a wardrobe instead of diving head-first into rainbows.

The Scandinavian edition of the world’s top fashion magazine approaches color with caution.

Scandinavians are globally viewed as stylish, owing mainly to their minimalism.

Also, see What Do Scandinavians Think of Germany? to learn more.

4. Scandinavians Are Humble

Scandinavians value uniformity. The humble people don’t like to stand out or be flashy, preferring to keep their style subtle instead of ostentatious.

This dates back to a principle called The Law of Jante. The Law of Jante is a basic philosophy of equality, taken from the 1933 novel En Flykting Korsar Sitt Spar by Aksel Sandemose. [3]

The policy states that no one is better than anyone else. Scandinavians took the law to heart and still avoid flaunting personal wealth and privilege.

Wearing black allows Scandinavians to keep the playing field level, avoiding any garish displays to indicate superiority. 

5. Dressing in All Black Helps Scandinavians Dress Sustainably

Scandinavian countries are very invested in being green. Part of being ecologically friendly is making and purchasing clothes they will wear for a long time.

Dark colors fit this bill perfectly. 

Scandinavian fashion emphasizes simplicity and quality precisely because it allows buying fewer pieces that will last longer and have a lower environmental impact. 

This makes black an ideal color because it goes well with everything. It can pair with itself or other colors, allowing for many outfit variations from only a few pieces. 

Black also never goes out of style. Scandinavians can buy a few black pieces, knowing that the color will still be cool seven or 70 seasons from now.

This allows fashionistas to remain on trend without constantly buying new clothes. [4]

Also, see Do Scandinavians Eat Fish? to learn more.

6. Black Is a Reaction to the Weather

Black captures heat, and Scandinavia is cold. Citizens choose black coats to gather and maintain heat in brutally low temperatures.

Because Scandinavians like to match, they coordinate their outfits to their dark-colored coats. 

Wearing dark colors may also reflect a psychological reaction to cool, gray Scandinavian weather. Citizens may choose to match their ensembles to the overcast and stark outdoors.

7. Black Pops Against Most Scandinavian Skin Tones

Black also makes most Scandinavians pop. The citizens are primarily very pale, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Peter Frost’s study, European hair and eye color, found that 60% of Scandinavians have fair hair, and 50% have light eye colors. [5]

Wearing black creates a contrast between the clothes and many Scandinavian skin tones, creating a striking tableau and drawing attention to their faces. 

8. Black Is Androgynous 

Scandinavian countries lean into androgynous fashions. While colors aren’t inherently gendered, many form associations with certain shades.

Black is adaptable and equally popular with men and women. The color lends itself to androgyny, not suggesting any gender. [6]

Swedish Denim

Sweden makes some of the most celebrated denim in the world. The country doesn’t abandon its loyalty to black and specializes in dark denim.

Popular Swedish denim brands include: 

  • Nudie Jeans
  • Neuw
  • Dr. Denim

Dark denim allows Scandinavians to further their commitment to simplicity and sustainability; a good pair of black jeans makes every outfit. 

Also, see Is Finland Part of Scandinavia? to learn more.

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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