Stockholm for Fashionistas: A shopaholics guide to getting head-to-toe in Swedish fashion
Alaine Handa will fill your closet with stylish Swedish fashion with this list of stores that will give your credit card a workout.
Stockholm is a fashion-forward city but with restraint in Swedish design. Swedish fashion is not flashy and can be seen as effortlessly cool.
As an avid traveler, I like that Swedish fashion is chic, classic, fashion-forward, yet uncomplicated. Most of the color palettes are neutral with pops of thoughtful design, a bit of color but not over the top, and of course well made.
Fashionistas can rejoice in Stockholm’s offerings. Here are some of my favorite brands and stores in Stockholm that will get you covered in head-to-toe Swedish fashion. (Just a caveat: this is not a wallet-friendly H&M list but more of a bourgeois list.)
Acne Studios at PK Huset
The Acne Studios store is located inside PK Huset right next to the large NK department store in central Stockholm. Though not their flagship store, this location is highly curated and the sales associates are the friendliest and most helpful.
When it comes to luxury retail, the experience in a store is part of the journey. Pick a few items and ask them to help you find items in your size. Acne Studios clothing is very design-centric but minimal. It is the kind of clothing that needs to be tried on to get the full effect of what this brand is all about.
At first glance on the racks or on their website, the items can look very plain. I have several pairs of jeans, sweaters, shirts, skirts, and dresses. Stay a while to try on the items and get offered a coffee to keep the caffeinated shopping adrenaline going. There are eight locations of Acne Studios littered throughout the city.
Acne Studios Archive in Vasastan
If you are a big fan of Acne Studios like I am, you have to make a stop at the archive store in Vasastan. The archive store sells items that are not the latest season so that means you can find some of the past season’s items in this store at about 30-40% off.
If it is a classic Acne item though, you may not find it here but it does not hurt to peruse this store first.
My favorite purchase from this store is a pair of oversized tan sunglasses that I wear everywhere. Check out the racks of both the men’s and women’s clothing because the beauty of Acne Studios is that you can find many of the staples as gender neutral.
Sandqvist in Östermalm
Sandqvist bags are the epitome of the utilitarian, thoughtfully designed, and Scandi-chic that is so prevalent in Swedish design in my humble opinion. I like that the bags are nondescript yet stylish for men and women.
The store is packed with walls filled with backpacks, bags of various sizes and colors, wallets, handbags, laptop bags. These bags are also lightweight and built to last a long time so they are perfect for cruising through airports, trains, ferries, planes, bikes, and automobiles.
Happy Socks in Gamla Stan
The fun colorful patterns of socks and underwear by Happy Socks can really make me smile. Unlike the neutral palettes of Swedish fashion, the pops of color in socks and underwear from this now-popular global brand with whimsical patterns that bring out the childlike goofiness keeps the long Swedish winters spent indoors cozy and fun.
If you are visiting someone at home, shoes must be taken off at the door so having a pair of colorful happy socks (without holes!) really makes for a pop of color and a bold statement piece. They also make really good gifts!
Twist & Tango in Södermalm
Statement pieces mixed with well-made staples like blazers and trousers. This Swedish womenswear brand has something for every season and occasion. My favorite piece of clothing from Twist & Tango is a black blazer that is classic yet the tailoring is modern and chic.
I purchased this blazer five years ago and it is still my go-to staple for dressing up a casual outfit or pairing with a classic tailored black dress for more formal business meetings. Have a look around their spacious store in the Slussen area of Södermalm. There is an ample amount of changing rooms so go with a couple of girlfriends for a nice little shopping trip.
Filippa K. in Östermalm
If you need beautiful workwear that is comfortable to wear all day, look no further than Filippa K. In recent years they released their soft sports collection made for low-impact activities like yoga, pilates, barre, or lounging around the house.
I have a pair of their seamless compression leggings that I wear for long haul flights that are so comfy. Their collection may look plain but the quality of the clothing is made to last. Also, check out their second-hand store in Södermalm for great discounts and deals!
Grandpa Store in Södermalm
Located in the heart of hipster Södermalm, this little lifestyle store featuring women’s, men’s clothing, shoes, accessories, books, design-centric Nordic housewares, and bags is a must-stop for all things sleek and Scandi-chic. Browse the shelves and racks for curated Scandinavian and Swedish designed items.
With other locations in Gothenburg and Malmö, Grandpa store is even better than Urban Outfitters. You will want to purchase a whole new wardrobe and start pickling your own vegetables grown from your own personal urban garden. (half joking!)
Chimi eyewear (Online)
This eyewear collection is colorful, classic, modern, and fun. With 10 colors to choose from and shapes ranging from the classic round eye to square to cat eyes, you will be able to find the right pair of shades for you. I have an expanding collection of sunglasses and always on the lookout for a nice pair to take with me on the road that works with my outfits.
Stronger workout wear for women (Online)
Its truly the season for athleisure and workout wear designers are making sweating at the gym look super hot. Stronger has taken the social media by storm and their matching leggings with sports bras range from fun patterns inspired by different parts of the world to classic silhouettes.
And of course some of my favorite mainstream Swedish retailers…
& Other Stories in Östermalm
Owned by Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) this clothing chain is the bohemian older sister to its popular younger fast fashion brand. From eyewear, swimwear, basics, seasonal fashion, shoewear, jewelry, skincare, body care, and makeup – this store has it all!
The location on the busy Biblioteksgatan in Östermalm is a popular spot for the after-work women wanting to add some fun pieces to their wardrobe. My favorite go-to items to purchase is actually their affordable travel sized body sprays (perfect for my gym bag!), cleansing makeup wipes, and travel sized hand creams.
I always check out their jewelry collection because they always have some trend forward yet understated pieces. These are perfect for travel because they are relatively inexpensive yet make that Scandi-chic look complete.
COS in Östermalm
Also owned by Hennes & Mauritz, COS stores worldwide have set itself apart from its fast fashion counterpart to create a classic and more timeless brand. COS is perfect for finding workwear pieces, timeless outerwear, sweaters, suits, and tailored black dresses.
Surprisingly, their jewelry collection is quite unusual and some of my favorite pieces of jewelry come from COS. Their bag and shoewear collection is limited but also gives a glimpse of that minimalistic, yet sleek Scandinavian flair that makes a statement without being loud. My favorite black dresses and a black handbag that are so versatile have been staples in my closet for five years now.
NK in Central Stockholm by Kungsträdgården
Nordiska Kompaniet a.k.a. NK is a mainstay in the landscape of central Stockholm with its towering and rotating NK sign on the north side of Kungsträdgården. The luxurious feel of this store is reminiscent of the department stores on 5th avenue (Think: Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, and Saks fifth avenue) with its soft focus lighting and well-curated sections of brands on every floor.
The food floor at the basement has a lovely bakery with all the classic fika bread, cookies, and cakes you can purchase for a nice cozy fika at home. The beauty department is well stocked with Scandinavian and international skincare and makeup. But the main atrium is so classy and if you come here during the holiday season the entire store is decorated so beautifully.