How to Dress for Winter like a Norwegian- 2021 Update!

We have updated our most popular Chronicle from last year with this years favorites!!!

“There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” This is as close as Norway gets to a national motto and it was a saying we heard countless times while living in Oslo. It is also very true. Clothing choices can make all the difference whether you are slogging across the open plains or darting in and out of buildings. What follows is a very Norwegian guide to bundling up this winter!

Base Layers- The most critical element.

The material against your skin can make your day hot, cold or even itchy. Merino wool, the wonder fiber, solves all of these problems. For those that know merino, this is hardly news… but for those that may lump all wool together into one scratchy classification, give merino a chance, it is amazing. Merino carries the classic wool properties of continuing to warm you even when it is wet while also being anti-microbial (pushing away germs) and anti-fungal (pushing away smells), so unless you spill your gravy on it, you shouldn’t have to wash it very often. This saves water and also wear and tear on the garment. The clincher is that since the merino material has a small diameter it bends easier than other wool particles and thus doesn’t itch you.

Since merino has all of these wonderful properties it has taken over the base layer world. You can find it blended with other fibers like silk as found in Northern Playground’s Longsleeve Henley and T-shirt, or modal in Kari Traa’s gorgeous patterned pieces, like the Floke with matching pants. Odlo's Natural +Kinship line is amazing for both men and women, with poly woven into the wool that serves like a thermal. These are our warmest base layers. You can find matching pants in the Natural + Kinship for women and men too.

Many look for 100% merino when it comes to base layers and we have some of the best. For women, Kari Traa is the answer with crew style with buttons (Else top and bottom), a half zip (Silja top and bottom) and a hood (Rose top and high waisted bottom) For men, the Odlo Merino is simply fantastic, upstairs and downstairs. If wool isn't your thing we have some fantastic synthetics from Kari Traa for her (up and down). For men, our current favorites include the Eco warm bottoms and the CN Longsleeve from Craft. Check out all of our base layers here.

Mid Layers- adding warmth.

Building out from the base we turn to mid layers, and add diversity in material and style. The Mid Layer is meant to be the insulation so they tend to have a lot more substance than the base layer. Norwegians tend to back their base layer up with another layer of wool, whether it is more merino or boiled or lamb’s wool. Our very favorite item in the whole store is Amundsen's hooded laced sweaters for men  and women. Felted merino at the front give it protection from wind, while it's old school hockey jersey feel sets it apart from all other sweaters.

Not to be outdone, Dahlie has fantastic wind protection in their half-zip options with the Comfy sweaters for women and men. Ivanhoe also brings the warmth with cozy options in many permutations including the Flisan and Helny for women and the Assar and Pentland Hood for men.

If wool is not for you, fleece (made from polyester) is used in many different ways.  FW has some amazing selections in this arena like the Root Classic Fleece for men and the Manifest Crew for women.  Zippers, it is worth mentioning, are vital to temperature control as the area between your chest and neck has a lot more say into your body temperature than other places. Moving your zipper up or down a few inches can make all the difference between boiling and freezing! Haglof's Pile Hood for men is just about the softest thing around...and very warm, while Craft's Subz sweater is amazing for cold weather runs.  We have a vast selection of midlayers from hoodies to sweaters. Stay Cozy!!!


Outer Layers- the goal is blocking the wind and wet!

When it comes to outer layers, there is great variation but you rarely see the super-bulky heavy winter coat that is favored throughout the upper Midwest of the United States. One reason might be that vast parts of Norway don’t experience the brutal cold seen in portions of the US. Thanks to the gulf stream, Norwegian winters tend to hover around freezing, as explained by the Research Council of Norway.  As further proof, when we lived in Oslo during the winter, I would peer at the temps in Denver (where we live) and Grand Forks (where I grew up) and compare with Oslo usually coming out as the warmer location. 

Due to this fact, Norwegians wear a lot of shells that are windproof and waterproof. The Free Tour Shell by Elevenate is a current favorite of ours for men. If you like a little insulation, the Catalyst Insulated Shirt is amazing--built to snowboard but stylish enough for everywhere. Need more insulation? Check out the Eco Parka from Varg, warm and waterproof!

For women, we have the Sarek which is unlike anything you have ever seen. Ultra long, this sleek down pull-over was designed for horseback riding but perfect for time spent on sidelines, in a rink or just out and about. Speaking of down, one of our favorites is the Essens jacket by Haglofs for women and men which incorporates another Scandinavian principle-- packability. The Essens is incredibly light and packs into its own pocket so if you are traveling to a colder environment or if the weather gets cold quickly, you can always have the Essens in your backpack. 

Outdoor pants are critical to Winter preparedness. Our favorites right now are the Gere 2.0 for men and the Gefjon for women, both by Klattermusen. For running tights, Craft has created leggings that protect against the wind while allowing for all the speed you can bring, check out the Subz Warm Tights for Women and the SubZ Wind Pants for Men. Pair them with running jackets like the Brensholmen for men by Odlo and the SubZ Running Jacket by Craft for women.

Since Norway is the size of California and clothing philosophies can vary greatly from Tromsø to Kristiansand and all points in between this will not be a complete representation of Nordic trends, but it definitely hits the high points we experienced throughout the country during our time there.





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