Watching BBC4's The Bridge at the weekend one could be forgiven for thinking that Scandinavian women – or perhaps just Scandinavian detectives – never change their clothes.
In place of Sarah Lund's woolly jumper and jeans, worn day-in, day-out by a stoic Sofie Grabol, comes her Swedish counterpart Saga Noren's T-shirt and leather trousers, as sported equally indefatigably by Sofia Helin.
"It is hard to say why they seem to wear the same outfits all the time," says the designer and official advisor (Scandinavia) to The Independent fashion desk, Peter Jensen. "I still think they look clean and like they have a shower." Indeed they do. Which is a relief.
"The woman in The Bridge [Noren] dresses and looks much more rock 'n' roll with her leather trousers and attitude and that, to me, is a very Swedish way of dressing. Sarah Lund and her jumper and jeans is more Danish – a touch cosy. Swedes dress in a more sexy way and the Danes are more mousey. I do think Sarah Lund looks sexy, though, maybe because she's thin. They both come across as being hard and I think that is the Scandinavian way. Women are hard over there and by dressing in the same look all the time they maybe move away from the weak creature that is sometimes evoked when a woman has to play on being sexy/female."
We're perhaps harking back to feminism's first wave here and a mindset that decrees that playing dress-up is somehow belittling. That is not necessarily true, of course.
Having said that, the fact that both the characters in question positively light up the screen but appear to care not one iota about what they wear is brilliantly liberating. An illusion it may be: even the least vain tend to glance in the mirror before leaving home in the morning, but inspirational nonetheless.
A view of a woman who ends up with piles of clothes on her bed every day, of a woman who worries incessantly about what she wears, is nowhere near so exciting. Despite the fact that we've all been there, being in possession of that rare thing, the luxury of not caring, is endlessly alluring – and sexy to boot.Reuse content