Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

Wear Anything

Socks like this, but better.

On the subway today, I sat next to what I would describe a very normal "typical Danish" looking man.  Maybe early 30s (but still working the hipster with his Beat headphones), dark hair, handsome. Nothing really out of the ordinary here in CPH, until I was getting off and noticed that he was wearing pink striped socks and funky black shoes with the longest, narrowest, toe box I have ever seen.  Think Wicked Witch of the West. I could not find the anything close to these shoes on Google images. This was the best I could do:

Shoes like this, but way better.

You'd be hard pressed to find this classy-funky combination in the US, unless you happened to bump into a Scandinavian guy on holiday. Serious metrosexual fashion.

Indeed, this is a well-dressed bunch.  Thanks to Kaveh for sending me 

this link to a two minute NY Times video

about style in Copenhagen. If you are curious about what's cool along the Lakes, watch this short piece, the locals describe better than I ever could what people are wearing around town. In a nutshell: Simple, classy, elegant, greyscale, comfortable. Tattoos. 

I found particularly interesting a comment from the DJ, the first person who they feature. Describing the fashion environment, he said, "We can wear anything and know everybody will be OK with it." This sentence captures a social sense of tolerance and equality that Danes are very proud of.  And while it has a lot of truth to it, the society is changing rapidly and the things upon which everyone agrees are coming under discussion.  For example, a few years ago, the government proposed a ban on head scarves and other religiously symbolic clothes in courtrooms. So you can wear almost anything.

This is a major point of contrast between the US and Denmark.  In the US, the assumption is that everyone is different. In Denmark, the assumption is that everyone is the same. These are contrasting theories or frameworks that shape our worlds and social policies in very different ways. That, and the fact that Danish men wear pink socks and fancy shoes.