More than ever, Nordic chic is playing nice with eclectic vintage in the sophisticated, low-key manner known to this exclusive city stocked with indie designers. As Swedes are naturally svelte and statuesque, with a penchant for biking, they love to keep their look fresh, smart and uniform. I spent a memorable summer there in my youth where I discovered Swedes have a unique attitude that is equally open-minded, free-spirited and pragmatic.
To stand out with dignity, creative individualists don hot labels Acne, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, Minimarket, Diana Orving, Stylein, and new comers Anna Lindren, Sofia Lagerkvist and charlotte von der Lancken, all who combine rigorous concepts with visual humor and powerful style. These labels are garnering well-deserved international attention, but for now, let?s discuss vintage and where to find the best choice of Nordic retro when in Stockholm.
The Bondegatan area is home to many superb boutiques, but it is the vintage shops that originally made it a destination shopping area stores including top pick Lisa Larsson's Second Hand boutique tightly packed with racks of dresses and blouses, belts and scarves. Shrine to highly coveted Pucci and 90s YSL, don?t miss it. Also in the area is Pakladeriat, a wonderfully special store with a whimsical touch, decorated with vintage undergarments and child mannequins in costume. This is the best place to find your own pair of personality glasses, an important accessory in Stockholm. In the basement, there are vintage clothes from the 1700s up to the recent past, available to rent for parties and film shoots, with fascinating racks of clothes organized by era and every vintage accessory you could ever need, from lace veils to pineapple hats. Repris is another favorite, kitschy ode to the past, with lots of super-high platforms and several prized pieces of band memorabilia for collectors. Along with the colorful sixties gear, they have a great selection of mod lamps and furniture plus a huge selection of colorful leather jackets and fun jewelry.
S?dermalm, or S?der for short, is a funky bohemian neighborhood in south Stockholm dotted with second-hand gems. As surprising as the ample selection of high-quality clothes are the unbeatable prices. They are substantially lower than those in London or Paris as thrifting is a relatively new sport. However, the wave is growing as second-hand shops have opened on what seems like every block, elbow-to-elbow with cool local designers, especially in S?der's bohemian epicenter, a seven-block square nicknamed SoFo, for south of Folkungagatan.
One more I recommend is Sandra N?esstr?m?s boutique, Chambre Separ?e, in the tony ?stermalm neighborhood. She stocks vintage costume jewelry and new clothes by small designers mixing the best of both worlds. Super chic choices and a fun, original mix make this spot a standout.
If your looking for a more raw environment immersed with local flavor, the open market, called Loppmarknad , is the largest flea market in Scandinavia, attracting shoppers from all around the area. Located 20 minutes from central station, the easiest way of getting there is to use the subway, heading to Norsborg. www.loppmarknaden.se/
For a shopping respite [which was once a royal hunting ground] the island Djurgarden still provides treats fit for a king. Rosendals Tradgard is an organic garden that has operated since 1984 in the former greenhouses of the 19th-century Rosendal Palace. Locals stop in for specimen petunias in spring but come year round for fragrant coffee and scrumptious baked goods like carrot cake with a half-inch of tangy frosting or to sip a frosty Nils Oskar organic beer in the garden. Rest here before continuing on your quest. www.rosendalstradgard.se
And when you are fully satisfied with your booty, finish up with a celebration drink in the 5-star Grand Hotel's new Cadier Bar. Sleekly elegant now that a springtime face-lift has transformed it from stodgy stogie bar into a swank parlor for Stockholm's chic set, go there to sip flutes of Pol Roger or ?midsummer martinis?, made with wild strawberry vodka. When winter's chill sets in, it'll be the perfect place for afternoon tea overlooking the harbor while you congratulate yourself on a mission accomplished. Sodra Blasieholmshamnen 8.