(Spoiler Alert! This blog post contains spoilers for the show Vikings on History Channel.)
I’ve been excited to write this post, because I can honestly say that Vikings are a big obsession of mine. And I owe that almost exclusively to Vikings, my favorite TV show of all time. The final season airs in a few weeks, and I am psyched–I’ve been watching since the very beginning, and it’s one of the few series that I’ve actually taken the time to re-watch (several times) as well.
Even on a purely aesthetic level, Vikings is incredible. The costumes, the jewelry, the hair, I’m deeply in love with the whole look. I could talk forever about this, but the style will be my main focus today. It’s especially appropriate as we head into the winter months.
In the photos above, we see the main female lead wearing the traditional apron-style dress. Adorned with a chain or string of beads across the breast, this is a good rendition of what real Viking women wore centuries ago. A modern frame of reference would be like wearing a spaghetti-strap dress with a long-sleeved, ankle-length dress underneath it.
And we already know that sort of thing translates well into modern day style.
Now before I go any further, I might as well introduce you to this character properly, since she will be the example I use most.
This is Lagertha (pronounced like Agatha, with an L in front). She is the wife, and later the ex-wife, of the main protagonist, Ragnar. Throughout the course of the show, she goes from a farmer, to an Earl’s wife (an Earl being the ruler of a town and its surrounding farms), to an Earl in her own right, and eventually, to Queen in her own right.
There is no character in any show that I have loved and respected more than Lagertha. She has influenced my life in many ways over the years; I would be happy to be like her.
The other picture is from Season 2, when she had already divorced Ragnar for his infidelity, yet still brought warriors to his aid when his rule was in danger. You can see that she is outfitted for a fight, and that is because she is a shield-maiden. Viking women, historically speaking, often went raiding and fought in battles alongside the men. Yet another reason to admire them–in a world where, even today, women must struggle to maintain their equality.
This only further proves that quality leather boots will never, ever, go out of style.
I, myself, can’t get enough of them.
In the show, furs are often used as a status symbol. And no matter which historical drama you watch, it is often the same. Fur is usually part of the wardrobe for royalty or wealthy men and women. People of affluence, across many different cultures.
Including our own.
Of course, nowadays, real fur is frowned upon, and there is a good reason for that. A high demand for it resulted in truly horrific conditions for the animals it came from, and stopping cruelty is obviously important.
Faux fur does an excellent job of replacing the need to kill animals, but I do want to make you aware that it’s not without its own consequences. Instead of actual fur, it is made of what is essentially plastic, and plastic waste is a huge environmental concern right now.
I like to wear my faux furs to Christmas parties and things like that, and I don’t want you to feel guilty about wearing yours. Just stay as informed as you can.
Princess Aslaug, Ragnar’s second wife, often wears this wide leather “corset,” and belts worn around the waist are very common on many of the women’s costumes.
I’ve always personally enjoyed accessories that accentuate the waist, and such things are popular right now in haute couture.
Dior has featured exactly that sort of wide belt in several recent shows.
And that’s not even counting the earrings, the necklaces, the rings, and the list goes on. Treasure was very important to Vikings. Often, they would craft various kinds of jewelry out of gold or silver items taken during their raids. Just like for us today, wearing precious materials was a sign of wealth and status.
Some of my favorite looks in the show are when Lagertha makes herself Queen in Season 4b. Of course, I’m completely biased, because I love her, and in my eyes, nobody deserved to be Queen more than she did. But just look at her…
That’s where true beauty comes from.
One easy way I recommend incorporating the Viking look into your own style is to wear large-knit sweaters and sweater dresses. With the above example, I would also include a nice pair of pants and boots. You should certainly wear outfits that make you feel cozy as well as stylish.
Autumn and winter are the seasons we get to layer our clothing, which I love, and you should absolutely utilize layers as you explore your own Viking aesthetic.
Notice the dress that the woman to the left is wearing, how her sleeves are mid-length. But underneath, she is wearing something with full-length sleeves, and what an interesting and beautiful effect that has.
You can make any aesthetic into something fresh and contemporary. Take a glance at your winter wardrobe and see what jumps out at you. You can look like a Viking queen with whatever you have in your closet if you have the right attitude. And it’s a great mood for big holiday parties.
All of the characters on Vikings have unique personalities, strengths, and styles. If you haven’t watched the show, I hope you will. But even just the pictures can give you an idea of the beautiful colors, textures, and details of their clothing. You need only look to be inspired.
I find myself at the end of this post, and still with so much to say on this topic. Don’t be surprised if I talk about Vikings again sometime soon.
Have a beautiful week.