London Style: Tips for achieving the 'London look'
Written by a study abroad student & Fashion intern previously based in London.
Similarly to the rest of the world, the rise of the COVID-19 virus has me thinking of happier times. Specifically, when I was studying abroad in London earlier this semester. Due to the virus, I had to leave England early and have missed it for *so* many reasons. My friends, my classes, the city and the style are some of the aspects of London that I can’t stop thinking about.
When I was in London, I participated in a beauty & fashion publicity internship. The first few weeks were especially hard as my American sense of style seemed painfully obvious against that of the chic british employees in the office. After this experience, I could see how colorful and casual my wardrobe in American is. As someone who got a taste of London fashion firsthand I thought I would write about London style and my tips on how to get the London look.
For each of these 'London looks' I created a Pinterest mood board. Click on the moodboard directly or check out my Pinterest for specific inspiration images. Feel free to follow along and comment your own Pinterest username below.
Ignore Anna Wintour, all black is always in
In contrast to the fashion Goddess Anna Wintour's opinion, all black is all the rage in London. At first I didn’t understand it … For me all black has always been a grungier or more gothic take on fashion. But for Londoners, all black is easy, chic and fitting for the gloomy weather. About halfway through my time in London I picked up a new pair of black skinny jeans and a few black sweaters. I often paired them with black boots or sneakers with a contrasting coat or top. All black felt jarring at first until I found how instantly stylish it is. Extra points go to black clothing that use unusual silhouettes, think oversized or structured tops, or are an accent fabric, like velvet or leather.
Europeans like tight pants
In my three years in college, my pair of skinny jeans have almost exclusively been used at college parties. Think ripped skinny jeans, tiny tank top and sneakers. A very american take on tight pants. In London, tight pants are the go to for men and women alike.
This one, again, took awhile for me to get behind. As someone who has lived in mom jeans for most of college ... I didn’t take well to the change in fit. Large oversized pants versus tight pants, doesn’t really seem like a choice? That is until I discovered that tight jeans look best with an oversized sweater. This combo is the height of stylish winter comfort for London. By the end of my time there I wore skinny jeans most of the time and lived for the sweaters I would pair them with.
Ditch the leggings unless your at the gym
Londoners don’t wear athleisure like us Americans do. Alternatively, leggings appear only when Londoners take the tube to their workout. I’m sure some of them wear it more often but really this just speaks to the formalness of British style. Whether you are at class, at an internship or simply grocery shopping -- a true Londoner would be dressed at least in jeans for each of these tasks.
Accesorize a simple outfit for a chic flair
For winter and spring, London weather can make your daily dress code slightly bland. Sweaters, pants, tights and big coats are essential almost everyday. To style up your daily uniform, try colorful or detailed accessories to dress up the look.
For me, headbands became my favorite accessory as they dress up hair without a hot iron. When I would curl my hair, my headband would add even more oomph. I recommend patterned, velvet or even a plastic ( for a retro 60's vibe). If headbands aren't your thing try scarfs (perfect for in your hair or as an extra layer of warmth), statement shoes, or jewelry.
Trench coats are *the* winter essential
In the quick break between the end of my fall semester and the start of my spring one I scoured thrift stores for the perfect trench. Trench coats can be expensive, more so in America than in England, as they are less common. I found an almost new one from H&M that was the perfect “inspired by Burbery'' without the Burberry price. If you haven’t seen a burberry trench, stop now and google it. It is a quintessential piece of British style and this dupe seemed to up every outfit I wore.
Something I wish I had known was how windy London can get! Pro-tip: Find a thick trench or try a few extra layers underneath to avoid either a Marilyn Monroe moment or freezing.
Have you ever been to London? What are the style trends where you are from?