Lived in Stockholm for years, but still furtively peeking at a map for directions? You’re not alone! Luckily YLC’s style navigator, Victoria Hussey, has devised an ingenious way to guarantee you’ll never confuse Götgatan for Hamngatan.
Stockholm can be scary, especially to those of us who are from smaller towns. Many of the roads look the same and tall, cavernous buildings block the paths from one part of town to the next. Well, cast your metro maps aside because I have the solution to your directional disorientation… and it doesn’t take up too much of that valuable space in your handbag.
Allow me to explain.
Have you found yourself in a part of town you don’t recognise? Well, all you need do is look around you. Who do you see? And more importantly, what are they wearing?
Do streams of dishevelled looking men in trucker caps crowd your eyes? Are these (admittedly handsome) members of the male species lurking around in lumberjack shirts and sporting impressive facial hair? Then there’s no doubt that you’re in hipster-heaven, otherwise known as Södermalm. Here you’ll spot trend-conscious kids in their dungarees, high-top trainers, oversized sweaters and vintage hairdos, carrying canvas bags and acting desperately cool. These young, carefree spirits spend their days drinking cheap(ish) beers, trolling vintage boutiques and old-school record shops.
Take a stroll further north and you may be aware of countless, polished pretties in black trench coats, flicking their shiny locks. They’ll be sashaying alongside dapper gentlemen in Kronor-dripping tailoring, ankle-skimming trousers and slicked-back hair. You, my friend, have tumbled down the rabbit hole of Östermalm.
Stockholm’s Upper East Side Girls carry a certain chicness; a little Parisian in their understated elegance, but sans the flounce and frivolity.
NK – with its opulence and credit card burning brands – is the uptown girl’s stomping ground; Strandvägen her catwalk.
If, on the other, other hand, you’re surrounded by crowds wearing confused looks, backpacks and sporty trainers, you’d best stick to the cobbled side streets as you’re in Tourist Central, Gamla Stan.
You see, each of Stockholm’s islands has their own style trend and, though I may be stereotyping to the extreme, there is some truth here. This kind of geographical style-mapping occurs the world over. Remember Carrie and Charlotte from Sex and the City? Charlotte, the uptown princess; Carrie the quirky fashionista from Manhattan’s trendy West Village. Head to London and those who frequent Camden Market dress far differently from those in New Bond Street.
What I’m trying to say is that you may have lived in Stockholm for years and have taken for granted or not even noticed the different islands’ styles, but if you look around, and I mean really stop and look around, you’ll find that all of the style quirks particular to alternate parts of Stockholm add up to one big, diverse fashion capital that reflects the personal individuality, cultural diversity and social homogeny that make up this complex city.
So next time you’re trudging to work or skipping to fika, look up from your iPhone and take a gander at who is around you and what their style says about where they live. It’s not only a lesson in perception, but also an anthropological study of the Stockholmese.
Now off with you! There’s a fashion capital to explore!
A self-confessed country-girl, Victoria swapped English village life for city-living in Stockholm in April 2013. She has spent the last five months swotting up on Swedish fashion and grappling with an increasingly Stockholm-influenced (namely black) wardrobe. Victoria enjoys travelling to far-off lands, alternative music and wishes someone would invent some kind of socially-acceptable breakfast ice-cream.