Seattle Sunday: Pirkko — Nordic Style in the Heart of Downtown Seattle

 Now that's a cash wrap. Pirkko.  1407 1st Ave, Seattle. Photography by  Selena Kearney.

It's a funny thing, living in Seattle. If you live or work near Pike Place Market — a plethora of tasty fresh food, flowers and unexpected finds — you may frequent it regularly. If not, you likely only visit when entertaining out-of-towners. We're so neighborhood-centric, we can easily forget that there are very good reasons to venture outside the ten-minute radius around our houses. 

So, on this beautiful Sunday, my goal is to inspire you to go beyond your neighborhood, and Pirkko is a worthy destination. 

 Pirkko. Photography by  Selena Kearney.

My first trip out of the country was to Sweden (in the winter!) when I was 19. Before, and since, I have had a real affinity for the clean design of the Nordic countries. (Fun fact: The Nordic countries include Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland, while Scandinavia is just Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Look how much you've learned!)

I digress. 

On our recent trip to Finland and Norway, I was reminded how very much I appreciate the opportunity to actually see, touch and try on my favorite Nordic brands. Among other things, that's the beauty of Pirkko. Sure you can order online (they ship worldwide!) But you can also walk right in and try on that Marimekko print you've been dreaming of. 


3 Brands that YOU Must Try on at Pirkko

 Marimekko apparel, fabric, housewares. Oh, my! Photography by  Selena Kearney.

1. Marimekko.

There is Marimekko, and then there is everything else. The bold prints are unmistakable. Yes, you can find them on housewares at Crate and Barrel, but you can only find those confident, happy prints on clothing online or at Pirkko. My visit to the Marimekko outlet in Helsinki last spring just solidified my love for the brand's approach: keep the design simple and let the print do the work. 

 I'm surrounded by Ilse Jacobsen boots & jackets with Marimekko pieces throughout. I told you this place makes you feel happy. Photography by  Selena Kearney.

2. Ilse Jacobsen.

Whether or not Marimekko is representative of your personal style, something in the Ilse Jacobsen collection likely is. Nordstrom has recently started carrying the rain jackets, but the selection there is pretty limited. The Pirkko team has been carrying this brand for years and has carefully curated the in store selection. For example, Nordstrom is carrying a fitted Ilse Jacobsen raincoat right now that is super flattering. But Pirkko offers a similar raincoat in navy blue (so chic and hard to find) WITH an adjustable drawstring at the waist and a functional hood. Or how about the rain boots? A very stylish alternative to your Hunters, these come in a variety of colors and are built to last. Don't let the rain steal your thunder.

 Swedish Hasbeens Suzanne Black/ Natural. Pirkko. $269.

3. Swedish Hasbeens.

As a personal stylist, I can't tell how many women I meet who have a pair of Danskos somewhere in their closet. Yes, they are functional. Yes, it's important to take care of your feet. But, absent a foot injury, there are additional ways to approach that problem. I'm always very enthusiastic when a client tries on her first pair of Swedish Hasbeens. These are the cooler (although more expensive) functional shoes. Think of them as the cosmopolitan woman's Danskos. Sure, you can find them online at lots of places. But the Pirkko team knows and loves their Swedish Hasbeens. They can help you with fit, give you suggestions on pairing and meet your need for instant gratification since they are sold right there in the store. Yes, please! When I asked the manager for her favorite brand in the store, she promptly replied "Swedish Hasbeens." Enough said.

 In my favorite Marimekko dress last summer with our very stylish friend, Esther. Photography by  Cori McAllister.

Just wandering into Pirkko makes you happy. The colors, the atmosphere, the helpful but not overbearing service. Owner Pirkko Karhunen and her team of two know their clientele well, frequently shipping to repeat customers or helping them in store. They have a nice return policy and offer custom orders if a piece is out of stock. You have the joy of shopping in person with great service and a breathtaking selection, or ordering online as the entire inventory is available via the website. 

So swing by, say hello for me and get yourself a little taste of the Nordic countries (you know which ones those are.) 


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