You must have a phone, no ifs, ands, or buts. It’s the ultimate accessory in Stockholm so if you don’t have a smartphone and have it working hard all day, every day, you might as well not leave the house or hotel room. While iPhones have long ruled the phone scene, these days Stockholmers are moving towards somewhat more obscure (and affordable) brands, such as Huawei from China.
Every Stockholmer has their phone in their grip 24/7 and much of the time it’s to keep the music flowing from their hand to their ears. Headphones are de rigueur whether you’re 15 or 50 and they can be anything from the humble earbud to the latest wireless. The key here is to have them slung casually about your neck, hanging slightly off your ears, or even on your head when you take a moment to pay attention to the world around you.
Bag fashion is a bit odd in Stockholm: one day it seems like everyone’s carrying a Michael Kors and the next it’s all about Stella McCartney. The most important bag, though, is your computer bag. There isn’t a Stockholmer worth his or her salt who doesn’t have a unique little bag designed to not just carry their laptop but that also helps them make a statement. This can run from the traditional computer bag bedazzled with some stickers or similar to a high-end messenger bag slung casually across the shoulders.
It’s said that Stockholm summers are among the most enchanting on earth but let’s be honest: summer is gorgeous but the weather can change on a whim and that means you must be prepared, no matter if it’s summer or winter. The most important thing is to casually sling a scarf around your neck so that it’s not quite perfectly tied.
Jackets and coats
Black coats and jackets have long been the rule in Stockholm but recently a bit of colour has made headway, usually something in bright red or fuchsia. If you do go the colour route, make sure everything else is black or grey, other than your skinny jeans.
Baseball caps never really made it in Stockholm, unless worn somewhat ironically at a festival. In the winter, knitted caps or berets are all the rage and you can be as wild or sedate as you’d like. During the warmer weather it’s a fedora or a wide-brimmed picture hat, perfect for keeping the sun off while framing your face.
While tights are essential when wearing a skirt or dress, socks are equally important. In Sweden you always take your shoes off when you go inside and this means the socks on your feet are a fashion statement in and of themselves. But you wouldn’t want to hide them when you’re doing the fashion parade down the street so you need to find a way to show them off in public, which leads us to skinny trousers.
Skinny jeans, skinny trousers, skinny pants — call them what you like but know that they are still number one on the fashion hit parade in Stockholm, for both men and women. Skinny jeans are everywhere but if you really want to stand out, go for bright red or green, particularly for men.
You must own many pairs of jeans in Stockholm because everyone — and we mean everyone — wears jeans all the time. Skinny jeans are of course, at the top of the current list but you can also go with classic 501s, shredded boyfriends, or the latest trend, which is oddly shaped bootcuts with the hems seemingly torn off at random.
You won’t see a lot of spiked heels in Stockholm for several reasons: cobblestone streets, the weather, and the fact that Stockholm is all about cool casual. Ankle boots might have heels but they’re solid — perfect during the winter when you need to keep your feet warm and navigate the snow. In the summer, it’s flats, whether those are sandals, brogues, or canvas trainers. Top tip: never, ever wear flip-flops unless you’re swanning about in the countryside.
Stockholm has a plethora of t-shirt shops, including a shop called… The T-Shirt Shop. Cool slogans, old band t-shirts, fun graphics — it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s unique and worn with flair. Layer it up with your hat, jacket, and whatever else you have on hand and you’ve perfected that laid-back Stockholm look.
Full sleeves, delicate hip renderings, a small star behind the ear — everyone, it seems, has a tattoo of some sort and because this is Stockholm, it’s not an impediment to getting a job or even remotely shocking, no matter who has one or where they have it. So if you’ve got a tattoo, show it with pride alongside the rest of the city — you might even break through that famous Swedish reserve as someone stops to admire your ink.