So if you’re travelling to Finland, what sort of clothes do you need to take with you? Layers of clothing work best at any time of year. As I was advised when visiting Lapland in midwinter, you really need nothing more than your normal city/ town wear. A layer of underwear provided in the form of vest or even long-johns is needed for the wintertime. Never forget that the Finns have very efficient central heating systems, so the need to dress warmly when you’re indoors is not a necessity. One Finnish friend said she has piles of woollen jumpers in her cupboards given to her from foreign friends. Unfortunately, unless she travels to the Mediterranean in the winter time, she says she never has occasion to wear them in Finland — it is too warm! If you wear a jumper, you might find that you are too warm when you work indoors all day. However, danger time comes when you step outside.
Never underestimate how cold it can be. If you know that you are going to spend any length of time outdoors, ensure that you have warm underwear on, thick trousers and a thick sweater — for starters! To top this, an extra sweater comes in handy, but a must is a very thick and long winter coat. A scarf, woollen cap and mittens or lined gloves are also essential.
Whether in modern-day gear or traditional Lappish costume, the way to keep warm in Lapland is to clothe yourself in plenty of layers. A warm hat, lined gloves and good footwear are essential for your well-being.
However, for those who spend little time outside and are just going from home or office, jumping in the car or a taxi, normal city wear is what most people tend to wear. This is topped by their very warm, thick winter coat and, as always, a woollen cap, scarf, mittens and good shoes!
One of the most essential items that you will require when you go to Finland is a pair of lined and waterproof boots. If you are going to spend any length of time in Finland, or indeed visit Finland quite regularly, I would recommend that you buy your boots in Finland. The boots are made to withstand their weather. They are usually thick-soled to prevent the cold coming up through your feet. They also have good grips to prevent you from slipping on the ice. They are lined to stop your feet from getting cold from above when you step into snow, and most importantly they’re waterproof. The boots are far less expensive than in many European cities and are tailormade for the purpose. Winter boots and shoes with clever Finnish design mean that they can be extremely smart and appear very chic; you would never realise that these are such practical footwear.
The summer can be hot. If it’s hot, it is humid! Cool cotton summer-wear is a must. However, warm clothes and a waterproof and windproof jacket can also be essential. In Britain, we say that we can experience four seasons in any one day. Finland isn’t any different! Just as good waterproof shoes/boots are an essential part of winter life in Finland, very good sunglasses are an essential part of summer in Finland. Even in Finland, on a sunny day, 22 hours of sunshine can make your eyes very tired. From March onwards, sunglasses are needed. The spring sunshine reflecting off the snow means that the day can be unbelievably bright.
It’s very usual in Finland to have outdoor shoes and indoor shoes. In winter, most people wear their boots and come to work carrying their indoor shoes in a bag. Open-toed sandals worn with or without socks are always in vogue. One of the things I have noticed is people often take their shoes off indoors and in public. On the aeroplane, in training rooms or even in business meetings, shoes will be slipped off without any self-consciousness. Obviously, this seems to be acceptable behaviour — don’t try it in Britain!