Hold on to your credit cards people….here’s our best tips to great vintage and second hand finds in Oslo!
Lets start out tour of vintage Oslo in the district with the highest density of used-garment botiques: Grünerløkka. If you want to multi-task, go shopping on a sunday. Most of the smaller shops are open, and you can stop by the markets as well.
Trabant Vintage in Markveien 56 carries a wide range of different retro- and mod-look brands, as well as brands based on redesign. In addition they have second hand clothing, shoes and accessories. A little further down the street you’ll find Robot, Trabants’ little sister. Check them out online at www.trabantclothing.com.
Inside tip: Check out the brand Rethink by the Norwegian designer Veronica Glitch. The clothing is all 100% organic and lots of it is redesigned too!
Located on the corner of Markveien and Torvbakkgata , Gatsby is the place where you can find antique brooches, hats from the 40’s, lambs-wool hippie coats and everything in between. Cocktail glasses, kitschy serving trays, handbags and lace gloves compete for your attention. This little treasure chamber is sure to wow you with the sheer mass of items it contains.
Inside tip: This shop also buys stuff, so if you’re on a budget, consider trying to sell some old silverware or that cool suitcase from your grandpa that you never use.
Fretex Unika is part of the Salvation Army’s chain of stores, Fretex, and is easily found at Markveien 51. What differentiates Unika from the rest of the Fretex stores is that all the items are handpicked from the main storage of all the Fretex clothes. They have basically done part of the job for you, and have even made it easier by sorting the clothes by color, so you can go straight to the pink rack when browsing for that dream-like, princess-dress for your friends birthday party.
Inside tip: Siri, who works at Fretex Unika says her greatest finds often are the cheapest ones. “My best second hand buy ever is a pair of cognac colored leather trousers that I bought for just 30 kroners! Part of the joy of shopping second hand is also saving a couple of bucks.”
At Frøken Dianas Salonger, located at Markveien 33, you can spend hours looking through the amazing finds of the lovely owners Elise and Ellen. In addition to mesmerizing sequined dresses, handbags that make your jaw drop, and shoes in all the colors of the rainbow, you can also buy vintage furniture and interior in this jewel of a shop. Visit Frøken Diana online at www.frokendianassalonger.no.
Inside tip: Elise says the most important thing when shopping vintage and second hand is to have loads of time on your hands. “Look through ALL garments. You really can’t do superficial browsing when buying vintage stuff, because there’s only one of each. You never know –that dress that you sniffed skeptically at when on the hanger might be a perfect fit as soon as you try it on!”.
Crossing over to Thorvald Meyers Gate, you’ll find Velouria Vintage located at number 34. Just like Frøken Dianas Salonger, it’s a favorite among Oslo’s fashionistas, and they have clothing, shoes and accessories from the 50s and onwards. Find Velouria Vintage on the world wide web at www.velouriavintage.no.
Inside tip: You can find designer treasures here. Our best friends Fendi, Chloe, Chanel and Dior have been known to stop by Velouria, and hang out in the shelves of this little emporium for a while.
Other spots in the district:
Lucky Buttons, Markveien 58. New design, redesign, and handpicked vintage. You can read their blog at www.luckybuttons.blogspot.com.
Los Lobos, Thorvald Meyers Gate 30. Rockabilly heaven with both retro clothing as well as some vintage pieces. Visit them online at www.loslobos.no.
The market at Birkelunden. Every Sunday Birkelunden is filled with small booths selling second hand clothing, vintage furniture, old books, handmade scarves and everything else you can imagine. Flea market style, bargaining is allowed.
Sunday market at Blå. Smaller than the one at Birkelunden, and selling more handcrafted stuff, but you can also find second hand and vintage clothes as well as accessories here. Be sure to stop by on a sunny day, and grab a beer outdoors at the club Blå after an exhausting round of shopping!
The other great shops in Oslo are more spread out, but they are guaranteed worth the detour anyways. Be sure to check out:
Tonica Vintage Corner, Scøningsgate 14. Located at Majorstua, Tonica is a vintage institution. Mrs. Tonica herself, the always-charming Tone Sige, opened the shop in an old apartment in 1976, and they are still going strong to say the least. “The most important thing when shopping in vintage stores is to take notice of the atmosphere”, says Sige. “Everybody is always stressing the importance of knowing your brand names and the quality of fabrics, but if you find a good store, they will already have taken care of all that for you.” She also agrees with the owners of Frøken Dianas Salonger when it comes to the importance of looking thoroughly and being patient when on a vintage mission.
Inside tip: On august 5th, the day Marilyn Monroe left this world, Tonica celebrates her life by throwing a small party. And guess what? They actually have a dress that belonged to the adored movie star, but you only get to see it on this very day!
Hr. & Fru Retro, Dannevigsveien 18A. A hidden treasure located in the Sagene district, Hr. & Fru Retro is filled with items handpicked by the owners, and it offers an array of vintage interior, furniture, clothing and accessories. Find the shop online at www.herrogfruretro.no.
Reprise, Schweigaards Gate 52B. This tiny hole-in-the-wall sells second- and third hand apparel, as well as some new clothing. The shop is small, but very well stocked! Check out www.reprise.no for opening hours and info.
UFF Underground, Storgata 1. This may be the opposite of Reprise when it comes to size. A huge basement filled to the brink with second hand deliciousness. In addition they carry their own line of third-hand clothes. You can find UFF at two more locations in Oslo. In Pilestredet 42A, and at Jernbanetorget 2. UFF is definitely the place to go if you suffer from a small budget and a big love for bargains! More info at www.uffnorge.org.
Fretex have multiple locations around the city, and aside from Fretex Unika, you’ll have to be more of a second hand-detective to find the great pieces in these shops. Check out www.fretex.no to find an overview of all their stores.
Flea Markets. Spring and fall are the flea market seasons in Norway. Most of them are organized at schools around the city, and they are of course great places to make even better purchases. Be sure to get there early, bring cash, and be prepared to use your elbows to get through the crowds. Check out www.loppemarked.info to find out when the next flea market is due.
Okay, you’re all set to go shopping now. Just remember to have loads of time, an open mind, and most importantly: have fun! Enjoy basking in the treasures of earlier eras, dare to try out that jumpsuit you normally wouldn’t buy, and think outside the box.
Good luck, and don’t forget: you look great.
Words and photos: Therese Nordhus Lien