Emily and I have done a fair amount of shopping now, and I think I’ve gotten a handle on what’s “hip” in the Norway fashion world: Baggy sweaters, cover-all dresses, silk jackets, graphic half-sweaters, and awkward layering. In clothing stores, I usually lose track of time and space, falling into a kind of trance as I pull dress after dress, sweater after sweater, bargaining with myself about how many things I can buy. In Norway…not so much.
First of all–let’s be honest–I have a very particular body type. And that body type is pear…big, wide-ass pear. I’ve always struggled to find flattering clothes, particularly pants that fit over my hips and dresses small enough on top to not look like a circus tent hanging over my unforgivably flat chest, yet big enough on bottom to accommodate my ample derriere. Given my shopping experiences so far, I don’t think my body type is common in Norway.
BUT I AM PERSISTENT. And I have found a few nice tops and dresses flattering enough to buy. Most of them ended up more form-fitted on me than I think the designer intended, but that’s okay. My style is more Norwegian adjacent. I definitely struck gold with this shawl thing, but how can you go wrong with a shawl? Although, most that I’ve seen worn by Norwegians have been bigger and more like blankets…maybe they’re just walking around in blankets?
Today, however, I decided to try on pants. PANTS. Already the bane of my existence, but there were some really cute ones on a clearance rack. I grabbed several because I don’t really understand European sizing. Am I a 40? 44? Certainly not a 36 or a 38. But you can only eye-ball so much. Well, these adorable nautical capris were a very sad ALMOST.
Maybe I could get them and just walk side ways everywhere? Or wear a baggy shirt and hope nobody notices that there’s no hope they’ll ever zip. I also found a DREAMY blue velvet dress that was 70% off and only $18. It fit PERFECTLY, except…the lining for some reason was ridiculously snug. Like, I couldn’t even get it all the way down my hips. WHY DOES A DRESS WITH THIS FLOWY OF A SKIRT NEED A SKIN-TIGHT LINING? WELL, this might have been no big, but the zipper was sewn to the lining and it caused a really comical bunching just above my butt. Looked like I had a tail.
Part of me wants to rationalize that I can have it altered and it’ll still be worth it. But the other part of me knows better than to buy clothes that don’t fit. Anyway, my love of this dress will haunt me until the day I die. Even then, I’ll wish I were buried in it.
As for other observations, I’ve noticed that every young person in Norway has the exact same coat. This is a slight exaggeration, but not by much. I swear to you, they all wear those Canadian down coats, in black, with the brown fur-lined hood. It’s unnerving to see a whole gaggle of them all dressed exactly the same. I wear a hounds tooth winter coat and I feel very loud in it. I did not get the Canadian coat memo.
I’ve also been wearing this scarf I found in my apartment. It strikes me as “very Norwegian” but now I would add in a stereotypical way. Because I don’t think any Norwegian would wear something like this. All I ever see are solid colored scarves, usually in earth tones, and those damn black jackets with the fur hoods.
Shopping has been hit and miss, but it’s all been an adventure. It’s probably a good thing that I’m not very taken with Norwegian style and/or that this corn-fed mid-western American can’t fit into most of the young people clothes. I’d go broke shopping. Then again…there are always accessories. 🙂