Had enough of hygge? Get a load of lagom - Swedish for 'just enough'

Style: the Goldilocks approach to fashion that is about fairness, balance and contentment


Last year saw hygge – or the Danish concept of cosiness – become a full blown phenomenon and global lifestyle trend. Inescapable and sudden, from cashmere throws, to skincare and an endless supply of hearty hot drinks, we Irish became committed to the idea of achieving optimal comfort.

For a while there it seemed as though every brand, book and podcast was obliged to make reference to the Danish word. Just as “chic” epitomises the French, the word hygge became affixed to any reference to Denmark, whether it was clothes, cookery, or furniture, and inspired people to buy into layers of throws, knitwear and scented candles.

As appealing as it is to curl up in your onesie eating cinnamon-laced buns, these days it’s actually a more refined course, one of moderation, that is being touted as the new concept into achieving equanimity.

And there’s another Scandi buzzword to describe it, lagom – pronounced law-gum – which is translated “as just the right amount” or “enough, sufficient and adequate”. It is all about celebrating fairness and balance to find contentment, it’s derived from a Swedish phrase “lagom ar bast,” which is paraphrased as “the right amount is best”.

Just right

In an interview with the BBC, Kathleen Bryson, a PhD graduate in evolutionary anthropology at UCL, described lagom as a state of having “not too much of one-or-the-other, but more a Goldilocks just right”. If you need proof that the lagom invasion is imminent, look no further than Swedish interior giant Ikea and its Live Lagom project, which focuses on sustainable pieces in the brand’s simple designs. 

Lagom doesn’t strictly apply to interiors though. Related to creating balance, it’s a way of being modest, not boastful, and this can extend to your wardrobe too. Think of it as a Swedish version of normcore – unpretentious, normal-looking outfits. Be humble in your wardrobe updates, and only buy pieces that you need and that will last a long time.

While hygge is a momentary state of bliss, lagom is dictated as way of living, so consider adjusting your fashion philosophy to incorporate the Swedish concept. Who doesn’t want to achieve a permanent work/weekend balance and state of happiness when it comes to your wardrobe? If nothing else, it’s a great way to start the new season fresh. Think of the ever-popular Scandinavian design aesthetic: practical and functional, amorphous yet distinctive, but never overly adorned.

From trend-led stalwart high street offerings, to minimalist designer contributions, Scandinavia’s contemporary fashion is inarguably eclectic, here are the Swedish labels defining lagom style right now. Maybe Goldilocks was on to something.



& Other Stories 

Embracing the frugality aspect of lagom, & Other Stories is full to the brim with smart, practical wardrobe builders with a distinctly Scandinavian vibe and an equally pleasing price point. Dress, €79, shoes, €110, both & Other Stories 

Acne Studios

A coup de foudre of the fashion world, Acne, the luxury casual label, offers an understated elegance and all the essential ingredients necessary for a sleek, minimal but slightly grungy modern wardrobe. Biker jacket, €1,400, Acne Studios, Brown Thomas

Designers Remix

With easy, elegant basics that you’ll wear for seasons to come, Designers Remix is known for minimalist cuts with precision draping. Clean silhouettes create forever items to build a minimalist wardrobe with. 

J Lindeberg

Scandinavian fashion house J Lindeberg has sophisticated tailored silhouettes in simple yet effortlessly elegant pieces. Expect classic pieces in sharp, modern cuts and made with unexpected materials and fabrics.  Navy jumpsuit, €165, J Lindeberg, Arnotts


Practical, elegant and feminine, Rodebjer’s collections work seamlessly into a wide variety of female lives. For spring, the collection is mixed with unadorned, sharp-angled pieces such as a collarless shirt dress and graphic prints with a smattering of pink.  Knit, €250, shirt dress, €295, both Rodebjer, from rodebjer.com

Filippa K

If there was a fashion brand that was the true epitome of lagom, it’s Filippa K. One of Sweden’s leading fashion houses, the brand’s ethos is sustainability – it aims to make its entire collection sustainable by 2030.  Denim jacket, €255, jeans, €155, Filippa K, from filippa-k.com

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