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I don't know about you, but — unlike most trendy trends — I'm absolutely in love with the fashionable return to Fair Isle prints and Scandinavian style.
My romantic obsession with hardy-chic cabin looks started in junior high, when I used to pore over the over J. Crew Christmas catalogs, a young girl growing up paycheck-to-paycheck in an extremely affluent town, whisked into daydreams about "wintering" in Vermont or Whistler or Chamonix. I also used to listen to my mother's folklore about our family descending from Viking blood on my Norwegian side and fantasize about finding out I was really royalty. And, then, in college in New Hampshire, there was that longing to be (or at least look) as tough as my survivalist-savvy classmates, studying Wildlife Management or Forestry and hailing from way up north near Canada — seemingly from another century to this city chick, who got on a subway alone at 13 but wore flip-flops her first time hiking...
Plus, my idea of the perfect New Year's Eve is watching the ball drop while sitting fireside, cuddled up with my boy on a bearskin rug. So, indulge me in some post-holiday shopping as I take a nostalgic trip back in time with these Nordic pieces, which are all back on-trend right now and oh-so-thrifty:
Mossimo Faux Fur Trapper Hat ($24.99, Target)
Just last week, I was asking Punky whether or not I could pull off this look, and lo and behold Santa brought me my own Paul Bunyon hat for Christmas. What's Nordic about this, you ask? My favorite part of that story is when Paul and Babe the Big Blue Ox venture up north and see the Aurora Borealis for the first time. Always makes me ponder what it must have been like to live on those icy tundras. Must have been warm in these hats, even though this particular one is faux fur, not raccoon.
Brass & Rhinestone Viking Earrings ($26, Etsy)
I prefer to think of the Vikings in their capacity as legendary seafarers, rather than rapists and pillagers. These brass and rhinestone earrings do just the trick, capturing the mythical men just the way I like them: strong, sensitive, romantic, and harmless.
Vintage Mountaineering Boots ($45, Etsy)
Nothing evokes toughness of spirit and sturdiness of DNA than ice climbing, and these vintage mountaineering boots with red laces remind me of those worn by my hiking and climbing friends during college. Though not Scandinavian, David Breashears — the legendary director and cinematographer behind the IMAX Everest film, which he shot on the same tragic climb chronicled in Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air — always comes to mind when I see these boots. (I think I was actually wearing my old pair when I interviewed him in 1998 for my college newspaper...)
Fair Isle Tie-Belt Wrap Sweater ($34.99, Old Navy)
While knit with only about 25% wool fibers, this comfy and stretchy wrap sweater is the perfect layering piece for cold and unforgiving winters (like the #SnowLoko we're currently having). Pick up a few waffle-knit long sleeve Henleys or some crewneck silk long underwear tops to keep from experiencing true Northern exposure.
North by Seamus Heaney (Free, Swap.com)
Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney forever changed my perception of my own Scandinavian heritage (and connection to the Irish experience) through the lyrical works captured in this collection, which I studied during unforgiving, wintry terms in college in New Hampshire. Fitting that he was also the one tasked with taking on the daunting re-translation of Beowulf for the modern age, which is one of the lone surviving true Viking tales passed down through the oral tradition. If you're not familiar with Seamus Heaney, swap for one of his books and hunker down this winter for a dark and romantic ride.