Late this summer, I went on a flying visit to Oslo. The capital of Norway happens to be home to some good friends of mine, and it’s one of my favourite destinations, so I like to visit whenever time – and the family – permits. I was only staying for two nights, so I needed a capsule wardrobe which could fit into my hand luggage. The clothes needed to be versatile, to suit the Scandinavian weather. At the end of August, daytime temperatures in Oslo can reach into the high teens, but it does get chilly when the sun goes in. Luckily, Simply Be stepped in to offer some outfits for me to try.
Simply Be is a women’s fashion retailer that celebrates curves. They sell clothes in sizes from 12 to 32, from their own ranges as well as top brands like Coast, Joe Browns and Phase Eight. Every item is carefully selected to flatter the fuller figure, from their bright, colourful dresses and pretty lingerie, through to accessories, shoes and make-up.
I opted for black jeans as the hero item for my capsule wardrobe. Simply Be sells a wide range of jeans, and I picked their shape and sculpt bootcuts. These had a high waist and multi-directional stretch demin, and were so comfortable. They were smart enough to wear out in the evening, but hard-wearing when we used the city’s Oslo Bysykkel service to hire bikes and cycle around the fjord.
Sørenga – the harbour area
If you only have a short time in Oslo, the harbour area, where the fjord meets the city, is a must. We wandered around the Sørenga district, to see the ground-breaking opera house and barcode buildings. For this I wore one of Simply Be’s Joe Browns floral day-to-night blouses.
Oslo’s planners have steadily developed Sørenga into a thriving part of town. Its new seawater pool and fjordside beach was crowded with people lounging in bikinis, and children paddling in the kids’ section. They’re a hardy lot, the Norwegians. I climbed down the beach’s metal ladder to dip my toes into the seawater. It was freezing! But apparently, people swim here all year round. Next time I’ll pack a wetsuit….
Eating and drinking
The day-to-night blouse was versatile enough for sightseeing and bar-hopping. I wore it when we cycled along the fjord towards the Bygdøy Peninsula, to have a beer at Kongen Marina. Although this wasn’t the cheapest establishment (a beer was NOK 96 – around £9), it was beautifully relaxed, and you could take your time over your drink. Kongen Marina was busy but not crowded, and full of Norwegians taking a break from a day’s sailing.
In the evening, I changed into warmer clothes. To eat at Tunco, an Asian restaurant with a good line in vegan food, I wore Simply Be’s charcoal marl tie-front top, with a pink-and-grey blanket cardigan over the top. The long-sleeved top worked well with jeans. My cardigan draped nicely over the top, and was incredibly warm.
Coffee is a serious business in Oslo. The next day, my friend treated me to a morning iced coffee at Tim Wendelboe, an award-winning coffee house and training school. When we walked in, at 11am, I was surprised to see several people drinking what looked like glasses of red wine. It turned out to be black coffee, served in wine glasses. Depending on your drink, you either had a wine or cocktail glass. My iced coffee came in one of the latter (it’s not an Espresso martini – honest!)
My time in Oslo passed all too quickly, but I definitely took the right set of clothes. What do you like to take when you need to travel with a capsule wardrobe?
This is a collaborative post. All views are my own.
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