Postcards from Abroad: Lund

Sweden has great style? Faye Docherty reflects on the style differences between Ireland and Sweden and proposes that Lund may be more fashionable than most realise.Upon arriving in Lund I very quickly realised that the Swedish know how to dress. It is not just about what they wear; physically they are all Nordic Gods and Goddesses.  If you are picturing tall, blonde, tanned and extremely attractive beings then you’ve got it just right. For the majority of Swedish students living in Lund, it is evident that they care about how they present themselves. They don’t appear vain or cocky, they just don’t leave the house looking like a slob.Being a UCD Arts student means the Newman Building is where I call home. I am very accustomed to the way of life within Newman’s walls. The one thing that is quite special about the building is how people view style. It seems that for many UCD students, aesthetics are not on the top of their agenda. Coming to class in your tracksuit, clothes from the night before or even items that could be classified as pyjamas, is not unusual. In fact for many UCD students it is just the norm. I hate to say it but unfortunately the Vikings beat us Celts in the style (and looks) stakes.Both the male and female students of Lund make an effort in how they dress. The Swedes are easily distinguished for their sense of style. Unfortunately for the international folk it means we stick out like sore thumbs. Also, chances are if you see somebody looking a little rough, they aren’t from Sweden.  However there is no need to worry, dressing like a Swede isn’t as difficult as you may think. Unfortunately you won’t be able to change your height and if you’re not naturally a twig, the gym might become your new best friend. Yet everything else is pretty attainable.A typical Swedish girl’s hair would be blonde, not that tacky blonde though; it would of course have to still be natural looking. If you aren’t blessed with sun kissed hair the bleach in the pharmacy will do just as good a job. She would wear her hair down, with a little wave and a middle parting. The more edgy Swede might shave a small section shaved off the side of her head; however this is not a necessity. If you aren’t confident enough, put the razor down now!Of course every Swedish person is tanned, however I’ve started to question how natural it can be. We are quickly approaching November and nobody is getting any paler. Just like the blonde hair, it might not be natural but they most certainly make it look like it is. No Swede embraces the ‘pale and interesting’ look, although not many Irish girls do either. We steer so far clear of being pale that we end up resembling one of our five a day.In terms of what a Swedish girl wears it is always very simple but classy. Boots and white Converse All Stars are a big favourite. Black skinny jeans and a loose chiffon top are also must have. All these elements teamed with a leather jacket complete the look. If you weren’t satisfied with that though a massive scarf and ray bans would send you into Swedish style heaven.In terms of Swedish guys their style is very impressive. In all honesty, I don’t know if it’s so much that Swedish guys have great style or Irish guys have none. If I were to walk around UCD, not many men would be dressed well enough for me to notice, let alone comment on it. Yet, if I were to walk around Lund I would have to point out almost every guy that walked passed me.Their hair is of course blonde. The ‘typical’ Swedish guy hairstyle is short on the sides with a massive quiff in the middle. This quiff is then usually styled to within an inch of its life. The copious amounts of gel allow it to be slicked back or to the side. Another key factor to be noted is that although the guys put a lot of time into their appearance it always looks effortless. Their style is once again classy but it has a little bit of edge to it. Like Swedish girls they love white Converse. They also sport desert boots and suit shoes regularly. Rolled jeans and trouser are a must. Most of their clothes are in dark, simple colours.  A stylish jumper or shirt under a great black coat completes the look.For Swedish girls, their style doesn’t vary much from day to night. In general clubs here are a much more relaxed affair. Short dresses and sky-high heels are almost non-existent. Instead of your standard 5-inch heel, most girls tend to favour the dreaded ‘kitten heel’. Irish people might dress more casually during the day but we most certainly take it up a few notches on a night out.  In Ireland it is all about the big hair, the short skirt and so much make up that it leaves you almost unrecognisable.If you want to look like a Swede, dress up more during the day and dress down during the night. Dye your hair blonde, get yourself a bottle of fake tan and make sure everything looks effortless. If you are a guy don’t be scared to spend twice as much time as your female counter part in achieving your effortless cool appearance. Once you’ve attempted all this you will no doubt be on your way to looking like one of the many Nordic Gods and Goddesses that grace the streets of Lund. Read: Faye Docherty's second Postcard from Abroad