Color Vision Doyennes; Jurist Nina Sofie Lem Samuelsen
I met up with the super stylish Nina Sofie Lem Samuelsen! When she's not spotted on the streets of Oslo or Bergen wearing an amazing vintage ensemble, you'll find her in the busy streets of the government quarter. I had a chat with Nina about her passion for vintage, how to make ones style more personal, and where she gathers her inspiration.
Can you describe your style?
I love quirky and unique garments, and I have a passionate and nerdy relationship to vintage and secondhand. I’m always on the lookout for the raddest power dress! My wardrobe contains a lot of feminine, colorful garments with fun silhouettes. I love to exaggerate and aim for campy! Earrings so long that they touch the shoulders, wide pants to the point of a clown-esque feeling for example. When I treasure hunt at Fretex, I know I’m onto something if the garment makes me think; “Is this completely of the hook Nina?” Or even better; “Is this a piece of clothing?”
I own almost exclusively used clothing; vintage and secondhand. I like garments which have an aura of power and drama! If the garment looks both futuristic and nostalgic at the same time it’s a slam dunk. I have an affinity for 70’s aesthetic and the mod style of the 60’s. As a more is more type of person, I also have to admit that I like feeling a little extra, and like a diva. Often I can transgress the border between clothing and costume, but I don’t like to dress up. It might sound a little vague, but I always look for garments with a strong identity – both through colors, fabric and shape – and preferably the garment embodies a feeling or a mood. In the summer I’m a total hippie and float around in long psychedelic dresses!
Photo by Øde Øyvind
I like to widen my perspective on what’s pretty and interesting, which Is what I find exciting about clothes. I’m really pleased with an outfit when the look consists of garments which when isolated are ugly, but incorporated into a look they are beautiful.
Photo by Øde Øyvind
How do you combine being a jurist with your passion for fashion?
At work it’s quite common to dress up, and nobody would look at you funny for wearing a full suit and heels to the office. I like to dress up for important meetings, and when I feel like it. On regular office days I also opt in for a wool sweater and cord trousers.
Limitations gets my creative juices flowing, so I actually like the dress code at work. But I tend to follow dress codes as much as I like breaking them. It’s a mountain of difference between those who purposely violate the dresscode, and those who unconsciously do it because they don’t know of it. I love vivid powersuits from the 80’s, and I’m not a stranger to wearing something a bit superhero-esque with shoulderpads on days which require that extra effort. Dress to impress I say!
At work the best looks I see at court. At the Oslo Tingrett corridor “catwalk” there is actually a lot of fresh business attire! Sleek Claire Underwood women in exclusive suits and clicking heels. I remember especially a confident lawyer sashaying through the security control wearing a fashionable 90’s track suit pant paired with a sharp blazer and heels – super fun!
Photo by Øde Øyvind
You have a very individual style which is uniquely YOU. Any advice for those who would like a more personal style?
Take a chance, trust your intuition and be playful! I rarely think about which look which is right for the occasion. I go with my feelings, and what feels right for the mood I’m in. That’s also the reason why I never plan looks in advance. If I’m going to dress for a certain occasion, I’d rather think about alternative looks – then I choose based on my current state. I never “save” outfits either, like “this dress I’ll hold of on until new years”. Nope, I think you look the best when it feels right!
Discovering your personal style takes time. I spend a lot of time testing different looks and combinations. Suddenly everything fits! The feeling you get when the outfit resonates with the expression you’d like, and it just feels right is priceless.
To work towards a unique and more personal style, it could help viewing the process as a game. To test different styles and combinations could be to test different sides of you! My style is a bit like “the whole world is my scene”, where I can be dark and mystical at a cafè, free and without worries at a festival or majestic at the opera. You have to dare to test things out, to take chances. You don’t have to be 110% sure that the garment you purchase will go with pants A or skirt B. This way your wardrobe will quickly be safe and boring!
Visit stores which inspire you, which make you creative and happy. Find a store where you can dream, where you become Beyonce or Grace Jones in the dressing room! Personally, I don’t like browsing in “conventional” clothingstores. Vast, empty stores with a few exclusive garments often tend to be boring and polished, I think. The same for shops where everything is clean and tidy, sorted by color or style. I mostly hit the flea market and Fretex shops. I find weird and broken inspiring – it gives me ideas! How that seemingly weird garment can turn into something special. These venues provide me with that tingling treasure hunt-feeling which I love!
Photo by Øde Øyvind
What inspires you?
Older, elegant ladies attending the National theatre or the opera – and their style. That is so fun to watch!
I get inspired by surroundings. External elements have a tendency to be incorporated in my style. Recently I discovered that I dress differently now, living further east in Oslo than when I lived in suburbia at Fagerborg. Now I have a more down to earth style, more urban – and I’ve finally managed to wear sneakers! I think clothes are important to feel a sense of belonging, also to our physical surroundings. At least I think this makes sense! An example would be the collective I lived in when I first moved to Oslo. It was a old mansion from the 1800’s – it felt completely natural to float around in a floorlength silk gown with train for a hungover Sunday breakfast. I can’t say I wear dresses like this in my little borettslagleilighet at Sandaker though!
If you would like to know more about Nina, head over to her Instagram profile @ninasofielem.
All photos by @odeoyvind