Mosha's Top Tips For Dressing in Iceland
What To Wear and Pack For Iceland: Mosha Lundström Halbert's Top Tips
I often get asked what to wear when visiting Iceland. Since I have lived in Iceland, got married in Iceland, and travel to Iceland multiple times a year, I've become a go-to source for people who are venturing to this wonderful country themselves.
I thought it might be helpful to provide a guide on dressing for Iceland like a local pro, year round.
1.) It's all about layers. From trim underpinnings such as turtlenecks and Henleys, to fine knits, and chunky sweaters, I recommend bringing a full selection of thermal base layers and warm socks too. As the temperature in Iceland changes dramatically almost daily, I always bring bodysuits to wear underneath traditional Nordic knits. Icelandic wool is the warmest, but it can be a bit itchy.
2.) Water-proof yourself. Wet weather in Iceland occurs every season (if not almost every day) and you need to come prepared. Mixed with strong winds, it can feel like the rain is coming at you sideways. A water-repellent coat to throw over everything is essential, and you definitely want one with a hood. I also recommend footwear that can withstand water.
3.) Warm coats are key. No matter the time of year, I always pack at least three coats when visiting Iceland: one rain-repellent hooded coat such as our Aurora trench, one lightweight cocoon coat (my current favorite is the Therma Kota Hulda reversible style), and a shearling coat (or two), which is a cozy and cool essential and versatile enough for exploring nature, looking chic around Reykjavik and traveling in style. I'm biased, but I love how easy our shearling coats are to dress up or down and they are also super essential for the chilly airplane cabin.
4.) Carefully consider your shoes. It's personally offensive to me when tourists visit Iceland and treat it like a sartorial camping ground, dressed in head-to-toe hiking gear even in the city. Thus, while a cool pair of hiking boots is a great idea of countryside explorations, make sure you bring a selection of modern flat, low, and medium-heels boots too. Opt for durable materials like patent, grain-leather, and nylon. After all, a stylish pair of shoes and statement coat will elevate more casual basics. During snowy season (October through April) I also love to bring insulated winter boots with all-weather lug soles for traction.
5.) Dress up, Scandi-style. Iceland is a very visually impressive country, and this also refers to the people, dining, and the design scene. This is Scandivania, after all, where aesthetics and experimentation are in-grained in every element of life. Dress according to these stunning surroundings by making sure you bring your fashion A-game: great coats and shoes make all the difference, as does sharp tailoring and something sparkly for evening. Icelanders love to dress up, especially for summer's endless nights and the festive holiday season, where a more is more approach is embraced by the locals. I highly recommend popping into my friend Hildur Yeoman's store in Reykjavik to to scoop up her glamorous dresses, sequin jumpsuits, and danceable heels.
6.) Accessorize wisely. Wool hats, shearling gloves, and shield sunglasses make all the difference when the wind, cold air and horizontal rain are in full swing. Also make sure you bring the right handbags: something smart in a nylon, patent or durable leather, and a packable tote bag for bringing to the swimming pools.
7.) Don't forget. Be sure to pack multiple swimsuits (if you forget yours, our friend Erna's Swimslow one-pieces are our go-to), a pair of flip flops or shower sandals for the pools (I like EVA Birkenstocks, as they weigh next to nothing), good hair conditioner (the geothermal pools can be so mineral rich that they dry out your hair, visit Slippurinn Hárgreiðslustofa for a Davines hair masque), facial mineral sunscreen for those powerful arctic rays (I Iike the Algenist), face oil (Amandine Botanicals makes a good one), and a nourishing lip balm such as By Terry. Stop by beauty emporium Madison if you forget any skincare essentials.