Business wear for trip to Scandinavia in Jan(10 Posts)
I'm off to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki next week. I will be hopping from one business meeting to another (in finance, so conservative generally), with a few gaps in between to explore I hope.
But wtf do I wear?? Business suit plus hideous old ski jacket? Or will a normal wool winter coat do? How do I look smart while not freezing to bits.
And footwear? Do I need snow boots and heels in my bag?
Any advice much appreciated. (I have posted this in Travel as well.)
Merino wool or heatech layer underneath suit will help
I was in Sweden one January a few years ago. While there was lots of snow and it was very cold, the temperature was actually more manageable than it is here in winter because it wasn't at all windy and was a very crisp, dry heat with none of that awful bone-chilling dampness you get in the UK. I would go for a thermal/heattech vest under your normal suit then a wool winter coat should be fine, plus nice hat, scarf and gloves.
Footwear might be a problem - the pavements will be scraped clear of snow but it depends if you are confident about striding out in heels when it can still be a bit slippery underfoot (I am not). Something with grippy soles plus heels in your bag should be fine.
Clearly I meant a crisp, dry cold, not heat! Durrrrr....
My experience of living in Sweden is that people are generally much better at wearing practical coats and boots in the Winter. So I don't think they'd be horrified at your ski jacket. And don't forget the offices should be a normal temperature, you don't want to be sitting in your meetings red and sweating!
Also people seem to dress more casually here - though I don't know what its like in finance.
From meeting to meeting you'll be in a taxi, so woollen coat and normal boots/ shoes will be fine. It'll be fairly warm inside anyway.
For exploring, you'll want something warmer, in Helsinki at least as its -10 daytime atm. I usually wear a black down coat there (faithfull Lands End) to work as I walk from my hotel. You won't need snow boots, just something warmer than dress shoes.
Copenhagen always feels damper and therefore colder than it really is, so a down coat would be fine in downtime
Go out to dinner in Helsinki btw, as there are some fabulous, tiny restaurants which serve amazing food. I love going there! And Stockholm, which has one of my fave hotels.
Ski jackets - if you really mean one you would use for skiing - are actually not that warm, as they're meant for physical activity. I wouldn't wear thermal layers to meetings, offices are properly heated and you'll get sweaty.
Down coats are good though. If you don't have one and don't want to buy something just for this one trip, I would wear the wool coat with an extra layer on top of the suit that you can take off (check first that it does not fluff, speaking from experience).
Footwear - I always wear heels, and that's also possible when the roads are icy. What you need is a grippy sole though, not a smooth one.
I would suggest wool coat and boots. If it's heavy rain or snow maybe a proper thick jacket but actually my wool coat is warmer than my winter thick waterproof one. My experience is like here and most commute in and then change at work into more appropriate office clothes but i assume you won't have that option. Could smart keen high boots work with a suit?
For exploring if it's not wet then same coat and flatter boots. Most buildings are really warm inside so don't go overboard on too many layers that can't easily be removed.
I'm here up north in one of your cities, -15C today, but it does not feel particularly cold as it is dry cold and there is no wind. For dressy/suity things, we wear dressy wool coats and boots, but people are quite relaxed and outdoors-oriented. You get bonus points if you say you rode your bike to the meeting It is okay to wear a parka or a ski coat with business attire, but it is usually in dark colors. Goretex is fine. I walk to work, I wear winter boots that have one to two pairs of woolen socks underneath. My coat is a down jacket or my mum's tatty fur coat, and I also wear a heavy woolen cardigan. Under that, my normal outfit and thick merino tights. Black ski pants on weekends and for long walks. We tend to shed layers and change to indoor shoes, it's very warm indoors. Streets in the center of the city are usually cleared of snow very quickly, so it is not going to be a polar expedition. Scarves, hats and mittens are crucial. If you wear lots of black and gray, you'll look like a local.
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