Visit Sweden: Stockholm, Day One

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Images and text by Gabrielle.

Day one in Stockholm! Such a great day. We spent the morning with Karina Lundell, Head Designer at Polarn O. Pyret. I first met Karina a few years ago and she is fantastic — so talented and delightful to hang out with.

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We started at the PO.P offices where Karina took us through the fall line, the holiday line and the outerwear line. We talked about the new fabrics and features and discussed Sweden’s famous outdoor preschools. (Completely outdoors! Even in the middle of winter!)

Polarn O. Pyret is a classic Swedish brand — any Swede could identify the signature stripes. And Victoria, the Princess, who recently had a baby, carries a PO.P diaper bag and has dedicated personal shopping hours at PO.P stores. She’s expected to dress the baby in this classic Swedish brand (and has even been criticized if she doesn’t).

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Each season, PO.P chooses a new theme for their line, and this fall it’s “cooking with kids”. Based on the theme, they created two new prints, plus kitchen accessories in the signature Polarn O. Pyret navy and red — a chefs hat, dishtowels, over mits, and aprons. I’m nuts about the polka dotted chef’s hat!

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After the HQ visit, we went to Polarn O. Pyret flagship store in the Gallerian shopping center so we could see the complete wares. All those stripes!

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Next up, lunch at Restaurang Prinsen with classic Swedish food on the menu. Can you guess what I ordered? Swedish meatballs — with mash potatoes and lingonberry sauce, of course! Really, really yummy. The restaurant has a perfect location for access to the best shopping in town. We ate outside and watches the fashionable people walk by while we chatted.

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One cute little detail: I liked how the dinner rolls were stacked on a stick!

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In addition to lunch, Karina also walked with us through the posh shopping area and pointed out the best of the Swedish brands. We stopped at famous Swedish department store, NK, and checked out super cool, modern Swedish brands like Hope, Dagmar, Tiger, Filippa K, Whyred and Rodebjer. Swedish design is so good! I truly loved everything, but especially gravitated to Filippa K and Rodebjer and Dagmar.

As we walked, Karina mentioned that many of the designers behind these brands got their start at beloved Swedish clothing brand H&M. In fact, Karina herself, started her career at H&M as well. And we ended up discussing more about H&M and the influence it has had on the Swedish fashion scene — it’s almost like a school for Swedish designers!

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H&M has not only launched a generation of independent designers, they’ve also added two new store concepts under their company umbrella. One is called COS. I’ve written about it before when my sister introduced me the shops in Paris. The other one is called & Other Stories. Both stores are like high-end big-sisters to H&M. Really fabulous stuff, but still totally accessible.

One thing I noticed in both COS and & Other Stories, is that the women shopping were all ages — hip teens to chic, grey-haired grandmas. Of course, I think it’s wonderful that the lines appeal to so many women!

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Outside of NK, we toured more of the fashion district, particularly focusing on Swedish brands — some I didn’t even know were Swedish, like Hestra Gloves and  Happy Socks!

Seeing all these Swedish brands got me asking questions about Swedish pride. I asked Karina what companies Swedes are most proud of. The first 5 mentioned were Ikea, H&M, Volvo, Skype, and Spotify. 

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I know when people think of fashion centers, New York and Paris are the cities we talk about. So it was really fun for me to realize how much influence Sweden has on the world of fashion as well. The city is really cutting edge as far as style goes, but it’s paired with a smart Swedish sensibility.

Karina talked about how the women wear practical shoes — rarely or never heels. They expect to be outside for at least a portion of every day, and heels simply don’t make sense for the harsh winters. She also mentioned that Swedish women don’t like to iron their clothes, and that every piece of clothing they purchase needs to be washable at home. If it’s dry clean only, they won’t buy it.

I love that thinking! I’m not above wearing an uncomfortable shoe for the sake of fashion, so I enjoyed hearing about the Swedish style mindset. Swedes are looking for beautiful pieces that are totally practical, and that can be worn for a long time. How does that align with how you dress?  And when you think of Sweden do any particular brands come to mind?

24 thoughts on “Visit Sweden: Stockholm, Day One”

  1. Looks like I need to move to Sweden. I really don’t like to wear heels at all, more for practicality than any other reason. I also hate having to remember going to the dry cleaners and therefore have next to nothing when it comes to clothes that need to be dry cleaned. I’ve always loved Swedish/Scandinavian styles…clothing, furnishing, decorating. There is something about simple lines, pops of color and little details that just resonate with me. I think that makes the items longer lasting because they don’t sway with the trends as much. I could be wrong about that though.
    You pretty much hit all of the Swedish brands I know. The only other one I could come up with at the top of my head is Hannah Anderson.

  2. Thanks for sharing. This post makes me want to start exploring Sweden! I also can’t wait to check out the brands you mentioned.

    I like the look and glamour of high heels but my daily life involves activities that make it not very practical so I like the idea of a lower heel being embraced.

  3. “She also mentioned that Swedish women don’t like to iron their clothes, and that every piece of clothing they purchase needs to be washable at home. If it’s dry clean only, they won’t buy it.” ME TOO!

    My Scandinavian roots have never been more evident! I feel so proud. I just emailed this quote to my whole family (most of whom seem to have inherited more of the Anglo-Saxon genes and like things wrinkle-free.)

  4. It’s fun to see their bright and cheerful colors, especially since their fall/winter collections aren’t the colors I would typically associate with the seasons (being from the states, thats is).

  5. I loved reading about Stockholm and the Swedish mindset through your eyes. Another point about Swedes is that they’re often quite dressy when they’re out among other people. They may lounge about at home, but they make sure they’re smart (or smart casual) when they’re out and about, and the women have make up on. Having lived in the UK for so long (where everything goes, and people sometimes take slobbiness to new levels) it is always refreshing going home and seeing people wear stylish, yet practical clothes.

  6. I can’t wait to read all these reports. I have Scandinavian roots, as does my husband, and Stockholm is on our list of places to see together. I love hearing about how the Swedish do things. The bit about the wrinkle-free clothing could really save me some time. I am such a stickler for wrinkle-free clothing and am always ironing. And I hate it. ha!

    Also, all these brands are officially on my “to shop” list. Went to COS in Paris earlier this year and loved it. Rejoiced when I found out they started shipping to the US just a few weeks later!

    Have the best time.

  7. I must somehow truly be Swedish, because I can totally relate to wearing clothes that need no ironing and no heels.

    What brands of shoes do Swede women usually wear? I’m very curious.

    I will have to check out the clothes more.

    Thanks for the post, what a beautiful place!

  8. “Karina talked about how the women wear practical shoes — rarely or never heels… She also mentioned that Swedish women don’t like to iron their clothes, and that every piece of clothing they purchase needs to be washable at home. If it’s dry clean only, they won’t buy it.”

    This all resonates with me! You’ve piqued my interest in these other Swedish designers. I imagine you might highlight some of them on the blog in the future. :)

  9. I’ve never been to Sweden and now I want to go!! The food looks great (bread on a stick, brilliant!) and the fashion is spot on, practical and still stylish.

  10. Thank you for letting us tag along!! After your last Sweden post, I proclaimed to my husband that there was nothing I didn’t love about Sweden. We must move. Then I completely forgot about it, until now, and I desperately want to transport our family there, immediately! No heels? No ironing? And Happy Socks? My soul is doing a jig.

  11. I’m so glad I can pass off my high heel and laundry aversions as Swedish sensibility! I haven’t worn heels since I was pregnant with my second baby over a year ago. The discomfort just wasn’t worth it, especially while pregnant and then later while carrying a baby and wrangling a toddler. I realized I didn’t get enough joy from even my most favorite pair of heels to justify the discomfort (and really–how am I supposed to run and protect my children in heels if the zombie apocalypse comes??). The only reason to wear heels was to impress others–definitely not a good enough reason in my book. I should explore more fashionable flats, though. I love my black leather flats, but they are pretty ho-hum.

  12. Isn’t the POP flagship store amazing?! It couldn’t be more colorful if they tried! If only one would up in Washington, DC, as buying on the website isn’t nearly as much fun!

  13. Ha! I’ve always known I’m part Swedish, but hadn’t realized where that came out in me. Evidently in the wearing of practical shoes and refusal to iron or dry clean. Practical shoes certainly didn’t come from my Italian side.

  14. I had no idea Happy Socks were Swedish! I love them and my Hasbeens. Their way of dressing sounds fab. Being on the stripes! I also love Hanna Andersson — their womens clothes are modest and practical but stylish too.

  15. I love Swedish style. Actually, I love all Scandinavian style. There’s just something special about that part of the world.

    I like to dress my girls in Scandinavian brands – although it does get very pricey. Duns and Maxomorra from Sweden, and Smafolk from Denmark are my favourite. They’re kind of tricky to find in the US so I order everything from a store back home in Australia that specialises in Scandinavian kids’ clothes and have it shipped over to me. The lengths I go to for cute clothes!

    One of my favourite women’s clothing labels from Sweden at the moment is a maternity/nursing label called Boob. As I’m currently nursing I’ve been wearing a lot of their nursing tops and dresses. Simple Swedish style with lots of stripes and easy access for discreet nursing. And they look great with my Maguba clogs :)

    Oh, and my whole family has feet decked out in Happy Socks! We have happy feet :)

  16. I am swedish but have lived in the US since I was twenty, which is thirty years ago (you do the math). I still wear flats, and do not iron or dry clean anything :)

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