Friday, September 24, 2010

Back to High School - Swedish Style

Today, like many other days, I went into the local High School in Kungålv while I waited for my Swedish language course to begin (located just across the street).  It's just a lot more fun to sit and people watch at a H.S.  This school is called Mimer's Hus, and it's nothing like PCH (my old H.S) in St. Louis.   Some of the kids take public transportation to school, (no yellow school busses here). Some drive cars, and many ride bikes or Vespa's or other types of mopeds to school.  In this posting you'll learn about some of the fashionable and not so fashionable trends here in Sweden.

Outside the school, you will see no smoking signs posted, however, you'll also find many teenage girls smoking cigarettes. *I notice that many more girls smoke in Sweden, while the boys opt for snus.  Snus is a unique smokeless tobacco product, commonly referred to as snuff in the U.S.  A "fun" snus fact (if we can call it that), is that one of America's biggest snus enthusiasts was aviator Charles Lindbergh (who is of Swedish decent), discovered the product after one of his trans- Atlantic flights. "The Spirit of St. Louis" was the aircraft designed to get Lindbergh to Paris. St. Louis supporters paid for the now infamous aircraft.

Inside the school, it more closely resembles a modern university.  Newly constructed with clean lines, an incredible library, cool cafe, and even a little foosball to play during breaks.  I notice that most of the kids are simply carrying small laptops in green "Mimer's Hus" cases. I'm wondering if this school has rid itself of the need for notebooks by adopting modern technology.

This morning I walked up to the cafe' and ordered an Apelsin (Orange) Vitamin Water and a Yoggi (drinkable smoothie)--trying to knock out this awful cold that struck me just yesterday.  The girl working behind the counter was chugging down a Red Bull. I kinda thought that Britney Spears made the whole Red Bull for breakfast thing kind of not so classy, and therefore, not really a trend anymore. But alas, alongside mostly healthy food options stood several of the recognizable silver, red and blue cans.  Not quite the breakfast of champions.  On that note, I have never seen teenagers down cups of coffee like I have seen here in Sweden. I even remember seeing my husband's younger cousins drinking the stuff black at the young age of 11! 

This coffee drinking gets me thinking about how these kids seem "older" in a way, than me and my friends seemed at the exact same age. Seems as though kids at this age are viewed as more mature, and able to make decisions for themselves at a much younger age.  For example, at the tender age of 16, kids here can choose to quit high school if they want.  If they choose to stay in school, they decide what area they wish to have their career, much earlier than we did back in the States.  In H.S, they can choose from a plethora of programs including (Economy, IT, Electrical, Caregiving, and more).  These are decisions most of us in the states didn't have to worry about until we attended university.

Looking around, I can't help but notice the fashion trends at the school. Well let me say this, when there is a trend in Sweden, it is not subtle.  Just after about 5 minutes in the school (or walking down ANY street), these trends can be pointed out immediately because nearly EVERYONE participates.  I'm really not exaggerating here, this goes back to the culture of Sweden which we'll have to get into another time. To name just a handful of the obvious trends here:

Converse- mostly white if they are the regular sneakers, or you'll see high tops in a variety of colors, but usually in black or grey.
Black Leather Jacket for girls- thank goodness for affordable options for great trendy black leather aviator style jackets.
Skinny Jeans- I'll revert to my previous posting...WTF? Die trend die! Although, I personally am dealing with this trend by simply trying to get in better shape so that I may also participate to be more aesthetically pleasing to those having to look at me.  And why does everyone wear skinny jeans? because of the....
Boots! Kickass Black and Brown leather nearly to the knee boots. This year, it's all about the lace-up boots.  These boots just don't really look right with Boot Cut, or other style jeans. I can't believe I'm seeing Dr. Martens again!
Hunter Boots- Back in the states, these are popular, but not because you need up to the knee rain gear. But no, not in Sweden, not only are they extremely fashionable, they are a necessity!
Check out an amazing pair of Hunter boots by Jimmy Choo at
Tights & Leggings- The only way Swedes can continue to wear their spring and summer dresses, skirts, shorts etc all year long.  These are not just worn in plain old shades of black and grey, no, no, no! Paisley, neon, flower, striped, name it!  Plus, this is not just a teenage trend.  Middle-aged women can be seen sporting these in-your-face designs. Luckily there are places like H&M, Ellos and Lindex to find affordable and trendy options.

Another note about tights...I understand the long, flowy top trend (yah, it's cute), but let's say it this way gals - sheer pantyhose and tights are not pants, they are not pants!

Pearls- large, fake pearls in earrings, necklaces and bracelets can be seen all over the place.

Layered Jewelry and Personalized Jewelry: the girls layer on bracelets made of gemstones, pearls and suede.  New moms sport silver jewelry with their children's names and birthstones dangling

Lastly, I have noticed an extremely unfortunate trend, that these poor girls will look back upon and cry....this is the trend of shaving one side of your head.  Girls - this ain't pretty or cool, and it's gonna be a bitch to grow back, so DON'T DO IT!!!

Shop these trends now!
Hunter Boots:
H&M Style Guide:
Black Leather Jacket:
Name and Gemstone Jewelry- Here's where I pimp out my own website!


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