As a current study abroad student in Scotland, I decided to contribute to The WALK community by sharing some insights into fashion outside of the U.S. This is one of several articles I will be writing about fashion abroad, and how people of other cultures approach dress. For this article, I am focusing on a city I recently visited: London.
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact sartorial characteristics of the London locals. The city is so big and diverse. Not to mention it is full of tourists, making it tricky to distinguish who actually lives in London and who just came to visit but dressed the part.
Regardless of the ambiguity, I was able to detect the general vibe of fashion in London. First, it might help to set the scene: London. The capital city of England. The home of the royal family and of Parliament. Also the home of dozens of cultural icons — Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, The Beatles, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Pink Floyd. It is home to Platform 9 ¾ and so many other Harry Potter references. The city is rich with the culture of England’s past, and echoes of pop culture from multiple generations.
With all this cultural heritage to borrow from, it makes a lot of sense for the fashion to be quite vintage. Notice the checkered pants or tweed jackets that bring Sherlock Holmes vibes to modern day style. Baker boy hats are also still widely popular. Other vintage elements include wide leg pants and ankle boots.
More modern day characteristics include something typically called the “smart” look. This consists of blazers, trench coats, trousers, and Oxford loafers, whose name was probably borrowed from Oxford University, only an hour away from the city. This is common among men and women. It is not unusual to see everyone dressed up, even teenagers and (probably broke) college students.
One thing to note is that the art of mixing is essential to London style. Mixing the smart style trend with the athleisure trend is popular. See below for some good examples:
As you can see, posh coats and clean-pressed shirts and trousers are combined with more casual accessories and sneakers.
In terms of accessories, fanny packs, funky (sun)glasses, and tiny beanies were frequently spotted on style-savvy street walkers.
Lastly, the color scheme is widely varied, but bright colors tend to be more popular than in the U.S. People wear color, and they know how to wear it well.
Til next time, London. In the meantime, I’ll be buying a fanny pack.
Images courtesy of: Pinterest, Vogue, @gallucks (Instagram), GQ, Elle, and Refinery29