asked and answered: icelandic adventure

Oh, how I adore reader mail….

Dear Shopping’s My Cardio:
I have a fabulous trip to Iceland planned for February (yes, February) and I will be spending a few days in Reykjavik.  I have heard that Icelanders are very fashion-forward and I don’t won’t to look like an American tourist in New Balance sneakers and a Helly Hansen fleece while I am there. Any suggestions for winter chic in a cold cold land? And no, I also don’t want to look like Lisbeth from Dragon Tattoo….
 ~ A Loyal Reader

While I question the timing (brr!), Iceland has become the hot new destination (pun sort of intended) for adventurous jetsetters. A few months back, Iceland’s tourism board ran some amazing travel specials, and several of my friends jumped at the chance to be exotic on a budget.

But then, there’s also a fair contingent of SMC friends who reside in the Great White North, so I thought perhaps they wouldn’t mind a little primer on staying warm in style.

To start, spend some time on Google Images looking at celeb style at Sundance. Sure, it’s aspirational, but it’s also a great starting point for chic cold-weather wear. For the most part, it consists of skinny jeans tucked into Sorel boots, down parkas or shearling, great chunky scarves and a fabulous pair of sunnies to shield your eyes from all that sunlight bouncing off the snow.

sundance style asked and answered: icelandic adventure

{Images c/o Marie Claire, PopSugar and Ralph Lauren}

Pack your bags with staples like denim (I’d take one boot-cut and one skinny/jegging) and a couple of great sweaters (one pullover, one cardigan). Add a few classic layering pieces, like a plaid flannel shirt in a modern color combo or a perfect long-sleeved tee (my favorites are from LA Made). Take a pair of Sorels – I love the aprés ski vibe of this grey flannel version – and a second weather-friendly pair (thick-soled Fryes would be perfect, or a biker-style rain boot is a fun upgrade). For good measure, toss in a long-sleeved sweater dress that can double as a tunic during the day and a dinner dress at night.

To top it all off, you’ll need a couple of knockout scarves, a great pair of sunnies (aviators are my current favorite), and the perfect down parka to keep you warm – just be sure it has enough shape to keep your curves intact. I love the idea of opting for a white parka over the usual black – it instantly adds a hefty dose of style to your look. Brooklyn Industries is genius at making a puffer that flatters – the waistline on this version is unbelievably slimming, and the super sale price doesn’t hurt.

iceland asked and answered: icelandic adventure

Brooklyn Industries Zermatt puffer coat ($139) / Pendleton cardigan ($100) / Sorel Norquay ($150) / Marc by Marc Jacobs crossbody ($138) / LL Bean flannel ($40) / Cashmere henley sweater ($107) / Juicy Couture rain boot ($125) / Guess aviators ($50) / Muk Luks convertible gloves ($21)

A few bonus tips:

  • Layer – after all, you’ll be inside a fair bit too, and you’ll want to regulate that temperature. And make sure the coat you pack is lightweight, so you can tote it through indoor venues without breaking a sweat.
  • Take a tiny crossbody bag like this one from Marc by Marc Jacobs ($138), so that when you’re carrying that down coat around, you won’t lose feeling in your arms
  • Warm socks are key. Do yourself one better and pick up a pair of fleece-lined tights (I found mine at Nordstrom Rack for under $10). Use them at night to keep your legs warm in that dinner dress, but you can also layer them under denim if the cold is too much to take.
  • Don’t be afraid of prints. A bold pattern on a cardigan will make repeat wears more pleasant – just steer away from trite Nordic themes. Go with tribal, stripes or mod, and you’ll be ahead of the tourist pack. (Plus, you’ll want to score a Fair Isle knit as a souvenir, no?)
  • Skip the jewels. Pick a favorite simple pendant and a stud earring, and leave the rest home. Chunky bangles are a mess with gloves, and statement earrings will only get caught on your scarf.

Do any of you frozen tundra-dwellers have any words of wisdom to add for our stylish friend?

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3 comments on “asked and answered: icelandic adventure

  1. DL

    This post comes at a perfect time! I sheepishly admit that I traipsed around Iceland in my Arcteryx and hiking books when I visited in October. (in my lame defense, i didn’t spend a lot of time in Reykjavik proper). However, these tips will help me step up my apres ski game in Whistler and Utah. Thanks very much! :)

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