If the people who live in Stockholm have a favorite shopping area, it's probably Drottninggatan, a cheerful pedestrian-only street that stretches between the Gamla Stan (Old Town) and Sergels Plaza.
The street is lined with shops, many of which maintain outdoor carrousels filled with colorful Scandinavian designed and manufactured clothing. Brightly colored flags flutter overhead.
Merchandise is varied and appealing, and prices are reasonable. Many shops offer the 14% value added tax rebate, which is refunded on leaving Sweden.
Maret Moks (No. 6), an interior decorating shop, features Scandinavian cotton textiles sold by the yard or stitched into attractive bed linens ($40 and up), quilt covers, table mats ($10), napkins ($6), curtains and other home accessories. The shop also offers ladies wear such as loose-fitting dresses ($225) and tunics ($175) made of heavy cotton in subtle colors and prints.
Gilbis (No. 15) is a knitwear boutique where woolen sweater coats in bold purples and roses or cheerful Scandinavian patterns cost about $153, warm coats in vivid solid colors with contrasting knit vests are about $430, pastel-colored hand-crocheted scarfs are $30, arm warmers in a variety of colors are $23 and a magnificent cape in dramatic red and black costs $140.
Stockholm's Lans Hemslojdsforening (No. 18-20) is where to find traditional Swedish handcrafts, including woven wood baskets ($20 and up), hand-loomed rugs and wall hangings ($100 and up), ceramics, wooden bowls, toys, sculptures and wrought-iron candelabra.
Tony Tango's Factory (No. 19) sells unusual and reasonably priced clothing and accessories imported from India and elsewhere. There is an assortment of cotton dresses with pretty floral prints ($54), colorful leather sandals and flats ($38), gauzy shirts and skirts in crinkled fabrics ($22 to $60). Amusing Nehru hats ($11) come in turquoise or white, and suede knapsacks ($70) are in bright green, blue and earth tones.
S.G.T. Pepper (No. 24) stocks a wide variety of Swedish and French fashions for the young including sweat shirts ($20) and oversized cotton jackets ($40) in coquettish pastel colors. The shop also has a selection of the latest hair-care products and accessories.
Metropol's (No. 25) appealing youthful fashions include a wide variety of mix-and-match cotton knits for reasonable prices. Trendy and neatly cut skirts ($22), pants ($19) and tops ($15) come in vibrant yellows, blues, pinks and other colors.
Charon (No. 29) carries its own label of shoes, designed by Charon and made in Italy. Especially appealing are smart ankle boots with pointy toes tipped in silver or gold ($68), and comfortable rubber-sole shoes with all-elastic tops ($61). Prices for women's styles average about $75, for men's about $70 to $100.
Mix and Match
Saffran (No. 29) sells its own line of cotton and cotton jersey mix-and-match casual wear. Styles are understated and comfortable, cut with clean and geometric lines and presented in combinations of subtle colors, sometimes with a delicate mix of patterns. Prices are reasonable. A dropped-waist dress-and-jacket combination costs $155, a sleeveless blouse with matching pleated skirt and trousers is $124, Windbreaker coats with high stand-up collars cost $185. Many of the tops, trousers and jackets come in men's sizes.
Polarn & Pyret (No. 29) features natural fabrics. Sizes range from newborn to adult extra large.
The shop's new baby wardrobe includes T-shirts ($8.50), panties ($5), sleepers ($17), coveralls that look like frog suits ($14) and socks with polka dots ($9). For toddlers and tots, garments range from play suits with animal themes ($13) to eyelet dresses ($38). For mom, color-coordinated clothes include comfortable wide-leg trousers in heavy cotton or lightweight wool ($60) and matching jackets.
Godisbutiken (No. 29) displays 107 bins filled with licorice and jellied and hard candies. There is also ice cream and handmade chocolates. Jiggly, oversized, spider-jelly candies ($1) are a big hit with the kids.
Palmgrens (No. 31), established in 1896, features handbags, suitcases and other leather accessories designed by Palmgrens and made in Spain. Styling is conservative, and quality and durability are emphasized. Handbags cost $140 to $160, suitcases $460 to $525, briefcases $226 and carry-alls $122.
Palmgrens makes jewelry boxes ($62) and fine-leather agendas ($137). Special-order items with different colors or alterations in style can be made within two weeks and cost about double. The shop also sells handbags by Lanvin, Lancel and the Bridge.
Din Sko (No. 50-52) has yarns and distinctive patterns for beginning or advanced knitters. The quality is excellent, and prices are reasonable.
Hennes & Mauritz (No. 53) is a large, hip department store for trend-conscious customers. You can count on the latest color combinations, waist and hem lengths, shapes and accessories.