Step aside, French chic – the epitome of fashion now belongs to the Danes.

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If you’re not closely following fashion trends, Copenhagen Fashion Week, commencing on Monday, might not be on your radar. As a trade event, you might wonder what relevance it holds for you. However, contrary to the extravagance of the Big Four (New York, London, Milan, Paris), where fashion enthusiasts compete in peculiar looks akin to high school art projects, Copenhagen offers a different allure. It serves up wardrobe inspiration that’s not just runway spectacle but genuinely applicable to everyday life.

While Brits have long looked to emulate the French with their elusive “je ne sais quoi,” those favoring oversized silhouettes, puffed shoulders, or unique cuts may find their style haven among the Danes, particularly within Danish labels like By Malene Birger and Samsøe Samsøe.

The charm lies significantly in practicality. Copenhageners are avid cyclists – even their new Queen Mary manages the school run on a cargo bike. Additionally, they’re accustomed to unpredictable weather, necessitating wardrobes stocked with functional outerwear (consider Rains), comfortable shoes (explore Ivylee), and ample layers.

Unlike chasing trends, the Danish approach is inherently more sustainable, focusing on long-term usability. Søren Sand of Sand Copenhagen notes, “It’s in our DNA. We don’t even think of it when doing the design.”

Fiona Sanderson, owner of Feather & Stitch, a retailer specializing in Danish brands, praises labels like Munthe, Dea Kudibal, and Hofmann Copenhagen for producing versatile pieces meant to be cherished across seasons.

Far from mundane, the Danish response to French chic is a playful sophistication that exudes effortlessness. As Danish designer Stine Goya puts it, “It marries whimsy with simplicity, glamour with comfort.” Imagine a woman ready for a fabulous party but opting for sneakers because she needs to ride her bicycle there.

Confidence takes center stage. Feeling good in your clothes translates to looking good, prompting the rejection of anything that induces self-consciousness. Now, the only lingering question: how do you say ‘je ne sais quoi’ in Danish?