Oslo is a city firmly routed in the future – it’s visible in the architecture, the use of technology and the overall vibe. But that doesn’t mean everything has to be futuristic: there is a vibrant retro community in the city, mostly situated in and around Grünerløkka, that likes listening to swing, dressing up in vintage outfits complete with pin-up style curls, and lounging on furniture from the ’50s while sipping cocktails. Here’s how you can be a part of it.
Of course, it all starts with the perfect outfit. Oslo has some great vintage and retro stores where you can explore both secondhand treasures and faithful reproductions – and as most of these stores are quite close to one another, you’re in for a very cosy shopping outing. There is Velouria Vintage, for accessories from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s and some adorable sweaters. There’s Manillusion, a beautiful boutique full of dresses that are a good fit for curvier women as well (which is usually a challenge in Oslo’s boutiques). There’s Frøken Dianas salonger where you can find dreamy floral wrap dresses and elegant accessories. Then there’s also Robot, for the cool rebel kids and for the gentlemen who want to stand out from the crowd, and Ny York, with some intriguing character pieces for men and women.
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to invest in the details that will make your new outfit really come together. That’s where Miss Rockabully comes in: a vintage and pin-up expert who can transform your hair, makeup and overall style to help you look like your favourite ’50s movie siren – or develop your own pin-up persona. Miss Rockabully does one-on-one consultations, hair and makeup classes, and organises some of the city’s coolest retro events (we’ll get to that later).
Okay, you’re all dolled up. But a real retro lover’s job is far from done. Once you have your look down pat, your surroundings are next: pick a place that matches your vibe, like Retrolykke Kaffebar (where, apart from enjoying some coffee, you can shop for kitchenware and home accessories) or Fuglen. Fuglen wears many hats, all of them equally fabulous: in this Scandinavian design furniture shop that specialises in items from the ’50s and ’60s, you can also enjoy coffee of excellent quality or sip a cocktail as you listen to music and pretend you’re starring in Mad Men at night. Bonus points if you stop by Schous Bøker on your way to your new favourite haunt – this indie bookshop packs a big collection of secondhand books and first editions, as well as some selected vinyl.
You have the look, and you have the perfect surroundings. But what do you do when you want to meet like-minded individuals? The Sunday markets at Blå are a good start: this artistic venue is like a mini Berlin in the heart of Oslo, where you will have the opportunity to shop handmade items and vintage clothing and accessories while you munch on treats and socialise. Then, there are the flea markets (Vestkanttorvet and Birkelunden should be on your list), but they can be a bit too chaotic. Your best option is a retro-specific event, like the ‘Pinup On The Go’ series Miss Rockabully hosts, or a fun night listening to era-appropriate music. The Oslo Swingers Club band often performs on various stages all around the city and this will make the perfect soundtrack to your retro adventures.