Spending time in the summer cottage is one of the most authentic ways of to experience Finland. Whether you have been invited to a summer cottage or are renting one, to an outsider, this may produce a difficult what-to-wear problem. I assure you, this panicking about clothes is totally unnecessary. No matter which month you are going, your only risk is to be overdressed. Trust me. You probably don’t own anything remotely close what we classify as summer cottage clothes.
The summer cottage garderobe builds up effortlessly over time. Usually, it’s starts from the realization that you have too many clothes in your closet at home. Finnish way of procrastinating is a totally different story but at some point, you spend one Saturday cleaning your closet. As a Finn, you end up having three piles: The keepers, the rubbish and the summer cottage clothes.
Summer cottage clothes are A) those super comfy, old favorites that look awful but you cannot let them go B) wrong buys that you cannot admit you made a mistake on and decide you will wear them in the summer cottage C) your old pair of something which is ok, but you bought a newer piece (e.g. you have five grey knits at home so you move one of them to the summer cottage to not feel guilty).
When you repeat this closet cleaning routine in two, often three, generations, you get an awesome selection of crazy summer cottage clothes. Also, they store that distinctive summer cottage smell, ‘eau de damp’, which is one part of the whole experience.
As a little example, I prepared a little fashion show about the winter outfits found in our summer cottage.
When you are in summer cottage-mode, it is completely normal to go to the supermarket, pharmacy or gas station wearing whatever. Some Finns love the easiness of this style so much that they are on it 24/7. This is why you can witness these boho-retro-missmatch outfits pretty much anywhere in Finland.
Lastly, our weird outfits are fit for purpose, not just proof of our impeccable fashion style.There is always that option that you get your hands dirty.