Last month we booked our next holiday adventure, but not our usual sun, sea and sand… to Sweden and Lapland for Valentines weekend! I had visited Stockholm for the first time in 2012 and surprisingly, it is still one of my favourite cities in the world. Its clean, contemporary and very cosmopolitan, completely my kind of place. We will be staying in Stockholm for one night, before flying to Kiruna also known as Sweden’s Lapland, to stay at the infamous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi. The hotel is completely made of ice, from the chairs, to the beds and even the bar. It’s built every year and opens to the public from December to April. By May it all melts away, ready to be built again from scratch in September. The hotel is a pilgrimage for tourists and architectural experts who travel to see the ice sculptures that are handmade at the hotel every year.
My first thoughts when we booked this trip was, ‘what the hell am I going to wear?’. I’ve never been skiing or snowboarding before so I was very keen to have a look at which retail outlets offered some great skiwear. The temperature of Sweden and Lapland can reach -15 degrees, so I needed to not only think about how fashionable I wanted to look, but how warm I was going to be!
I started getting some inspo from good old Pinterest, looking at brands such as Chanel, Moncler and Fendi. But for a 3 day trip, I wanted to buy investment pieces that I could also wear back in the UK. After hunting high and low over Christmas period, I was really struggling to find practical but stylish skiwear. I am a size 8 so I needed slim fit clothes, I didn’t want to look like an astronaut!
After lots to researching and scouring different retail outlets and websites, here are my top tips on what to buy for a trip to the Arctic;
My first purchases were thermals, or base layers. It’s vital that these garments are bought in bulk as undergarments for every day wear. I managed to find thermal leggings, tops, socks and glove liners from Sport Direct in the sale from £4.99-£7.99 per item. I made sure I stocked up on these and bought a few pairs in different colours, just to mix it up a bit.
The Middle Layer
The most important thing to remember when travelling to sub-zero countries, is to layer up. Layering garments insulates your body and regulates your temperature. So lots of thin layers are better than one or two thick layers. Your next layer of clothing will be ski pants, or salopettes. These should be waterproof, and can come in a variety of different colours. I struggled to find ski pants to fit me. They all look too big or too frumpy. Some high street outlets such as H&M and Topshop offer a great range of skiwear, so after looking online, I found the perfect pair of salopettes from Topshop which were a slim fit, waterproof, practical and stylish. They were priced at £90 a pop but this item of clothing is vital when out in artic conditions, so I didn’t mind paying a little more for them. I also bought lots of Ponte pants and chunky knit jumpers from Zara and H&M with matching scarves and hats to add a pop of colour and fashionable flair.
A warm, insulated ski jacket is your next and most important item on your list. Some great brands such as Moncler and Canada Goose are specifically designed for arctic conditions. These brands can be a little pricey, but depending on your budgets, make this one of your prime investments. I had a good scout for Winter coats and found that Net-A -Porter did a great range of skiwear. They have collaborated with fashion house Chloe to create an Apes Ski inspired collection you will want to wear whether you are hitting the slopes or not! I stumbled across some other luxury website selling real fur hooded, duck down parka jackets in the January Sales, which ranged in price from £60-£100. I found the perfect one from a supplier in China, which I am 100% I will wear doing the nursery run when its starts to get nippy in the UK.
Put the Boot In
I have mixed and matched my hats, scarves and gloves to make sure that all my outfits are co-ordinated, but one of the top accessories that should be purchased as another investment piece is a pair of sturdy, warm boots. Most of the boots I own are over the knee, stiletto heeled or cutaway at the toes or heels, so none of these were practical. I found a great pair of Monaco Moon boots from Net-A-Porter which are black, white and had a fabulous fur trim. As soon as I bought these boots, I’ve not stopped wearing them since and I’ve still got 4 weeks to go until the trip. I am obsessed with them and such a great buy at £130, this will last every winter for years to come.
I must say, shopping for this trip has been challenging. I don’t know what to expect with regards to how practical my purchases will be, but I am spending one day and night in Stockholm which is the perfect shopping destination of real furs and super stylish winter wear. I just need to remember to leave some space in my suitcase, which I know will be a challenge in itself! The key is to mix up your budget with some high street and some investment designer pieces that you will get your wear out of, and remember to layer up!! Bring on the cold!!