**LONG POST WARNING** Oslo has a lot of great consignment and second-hand stores in various districts, but I'm going to focus just on Grunerlokka, about half a mile from Oslo's city center. It is a recently gentrified working class area that is now very trendy, hipster, and young. This is where the college kids and creative artsy types hang out. It's where the night life is, and the best coffee in the world (not an exaggeration... Tim Wendleboe, who is considered the best barista in the world, has set up shop. His only shop. I don't use the phrase "best ____ in the world" to simply mean something is really good; I use it literally, and it is literally the best coffee in the world, as determined by a panel of experts, and I kind of want that job. How does one become an official authority on coffee quality, anyway? Is there some sort of Coffee Judgment certification involved?). Nordic coffee culture rivals Seattle's, and the Norwegians drink more coffee on average than any other European country, which is saying something, because it's part of basic dining out there.
But on to thrifting! Going to thrift or consignment stores in the US is gross and smelly and requires showering afterwards, but in all the places I've been to in Europe, it's a very different experience. First off, lots of regular retail fashion stores will also take vintage and consignment items to sell along with their own store's brand, which is really cool. And it's CURATED. They won't take things aren't clean, or are damaged, or just not in style. There are no bad, unwearable items. An item is only unwearable if it's not your size, basically. And carrying high-end consignment items is normal, no specialty stores required (though if you are looking for high-end and luxury items second-hand, Magmalou in the Frogner district is where my friends' girlfriends consign their designer items). Even the Fretex stores, which I would compare to Goodwill or Salvation Army, don't carry garbage items. The downside is that unlike in the US, don't expect bottom-of-the-barrel prices. There are no fifty cent finds here. Or five dollar finds either. You're paying more. But it won't smell like someone ran 6 miles in it before dropping it off, and you won't find out later on that there is a cigarette hole you didn't notice, and you also won't have to dig through gigantic stacks of poorly organized crap to find one barely tolerable item. That, to me, is worth paying for. Here is my favorite find, and it's meant to look like a top layered over a long white shirt, but it's one piece. It still had its original tags on, and the brand is Holly & White by Lindex, which is an inexpensive brand, but it had the tags on, and I can't find them in the US, at least not in Seattle anyway. The full retail price, converted to USD, is about $50. I paid $20. Like I said, it's not going to be Goodwill cheap to buy second-hand in Oslo, but you're going to get much better things. So many items were new-with-tags, and everything else was in like-new condition.
I'm sure that it's not THAT great of a deal, but I wear this top a lot. And I think the equivalent of 60% off retail is a good deal, and $20 doesn't even get you a pizza out where I live, so "good deal" is obviously relative to income and living standards.
Also, it's very Type 4. Can't go wrong with that.
I bought other items too, but it was a small shopping trip. I really ended up blowing my load in Paris and London (thanks to Hermes, Louboutin, and Burberry). I will say that Oslo is the one place where I felt like my style really fit in with the locals though. I didn't feel like I stood out in any way, to the point where people even asked me why I kept speaking in English instead of Norwegian, which I found hilarious. Apparently I don't come off as THAT American, which is a huge relief. I worried about being an obnoxious stereotype.
I'll close this out with a few photos of the Grunerlokka area (I went to a lot of places, but I'll keep it focused on just this hipster part of town). I hope my friends don't mind that I post a photo, but without their names, considering that working in the entertainment industry puts one in the spotlight already (I have "youtube famous" friends that you and 8 billion other people have heard of, but I do still try to respect the privacy of people even if they do put themselves out there anyway.