So you’re fixing to pack your bags and wondering what to wear in London? I’ve traveled to London twice and love the London look, especially mens style. The Londoners dress with sophistication but slightly more conservative to their French neighbors. The idea is to dress respectable but with chic, form-fitting clothes. And perhaps it’s the ever-changing weather, but in London you need to be ready for any kind while looking great!
This post is meant to help inspire on what to bring for your up-coming trip and get a general idea of the “look.” I want to note that I’m not going to cover every single style there is, but focus on the average look and my recommendations. Bring in your own ideas because London is all about variety. I want to note that London isn’t necessarily reflective of the style across the UK but London definitely is the fashion forward capital of the UK. My focus is on the capital city and the general feel of today’s look. This will help you plan your style for your up-coming trip.
What to Wear in London?
Chic, Respectable, and Modern are the 3 words that come to mind when thinking of the London mindset on fashion. Londoners are all about great style that adds sophistication, great quality and a simple style ease. Like their French counterparts Londoners like black for basics, adding some color and mostly non-flashy clothes (unless they’re out clubbing). The goal is to keep your style respectable with a hint of sexuality, color and a modern look.
Women usually wear a combination of high-heels, flats, boots, jeans, dresses, skirts, cardigans, t-shirts, blouses, sunglasses, hand bags, scarves and heavy winter coats.
Make up should be meant to enhance your features and to not cover up. Colorful patterns are popular during the summer while more neutral colors are popular in the winter. Color and style are really up to you there is a huge variety of it in London. Don’t be afraid to add some color or different patterns but don’t over do it. The idea, in London, is to have some modernity while looking chic but not over the top sexual.
Men seem to be open to more style than American counterparts and go for leather boots, sperry type of shoes, ties, scarves, fitted blazers, fitted t-shirts, fitted collared shirts, fitted jeans and dress pants. The keyword here is a fitted look.
Make sure the clothes you bring conform to your body and are showing off the best assets. Accessories likes ties and scarves can bring an outfit together so notice the colors, patterns and textures you’re using. As a tourist, do NOT bring tennis shoes, but rather leather sandals, or flat shoes for the warm months or leather boots for the cold months. Vests, blazers and ties are popular year round and will give you that extra dapper feel.
Season to Season
London has all four seasons but they are relatively mild. In winter lows often reach just above 32 F or o C and in summer temperatures are usually around in the 70s F or 20 C. The UK ideal is to be always prepared for wet or cold weather, while keeping a fresh modern look.
In the fall and winter months most men and women wear some sort of combination of pea-coats, blazers, trench coats, boots, scarves, high-heels, dark colored jeans, and some type of accessory. Obviously fall can be still warm or chilly but it’s also a good idea to layer with a light shirt underneath and then a jacket. Recently it seems more loosely fitted cardigans and brown sweaters are popular! Black or dark colors are usually a good route and more than likely you’ll see many black pea-coats. Bring outfits that mix and match and will layer flawlessly. Layering is key with blustering cold and it’s suggested to always bring a scarf and gloves. This isn’t the US guys! Men and women both wear scarves during the winter and you should too. Leather boots are a great idea for chilly, cold, and misty London.
In the spring and summer, it is all about the prints with more use of color. London has a cool climate so it’s possible to still layer with a light jacket right in the middle of June. Or you may need to shed clothing and just wear shorts and a t-shirt. Don’t be afraid to add color and patterns into your wardrobe with a mix of accessories. For men, I would focus on fitted shorts, jeans, dress pants (not cargo pants), with a mix of a fitted t-shirt, graphic tee or a collared tee shirt. I would also suggest on leather sandals and or flat shoes like sperrys, chukkas, low heel boots or converse. Women prefer colorful skirts, fitted short shorts, fitted tees, high heels, flat shoes, patterned dresses, jump suits and fun accessories. Focus on more colorful patterns and light weight material. Accessories should be kept to a minimum.
Londoners prefer fitted outfits that are respectable and not frumpy. Lately there has been a trend for more over-size clothing, especially in women’s clothing, but for me I would stick with form fitting shirts and pants. Leather is a great choice, especially in London, because it will keep you dry year round and good leather shoes are comfortable to walk in. Trench-coats are a great accessory for both men and women and will add to your London style.
When traveling to London, dump your collegiate wear or anything that screams loud and lazy. No sweats! Scarves are always a great add-on for both men and women. For men add a brown or black leather bag. Women of course find a matching purse with your outfit.
Like most of Europe, London is rather conformed with their style and look. The vintage but preppy look is very popular in London. Leather boots with a wool coat or pea-coat work well for both men and women in the winter. Accessories like watches, ties, scarves and leather bags are important! Neutral, grey and black colors are popular during the winter but feel free to add some color to make your outfit pop.
Women like to mix and match more often then men but keep the accessories to a minimum and only have a few. Men tend to dress up more than the US, so men don’t be afraid to add some flair to your wardrobe. In summer it’s perfectly fine to wear jeans or shorts depending on the weather. Leather sandals are popular as well as flat shoes. Don’t wear tennis shoes! It’s the city, you’re allowed to flair up your style a bit.
Some Londoners may wear high-end brands but the majority wear everyday clothes from their favorite department stores or clothing stores, like
- All Saints
- Top Shop
- House of Fraser
- Ted Baker
- Ralph Lauren
- Urban Outfitters
There is plenty of fantastic shopping where you will find boutique stores plus all the brand names. It’s always quality over quantity and it’s better to have few quality items than a lot of cheap items.
Just a reminder, if the clothing doesn’t fit on your body right, don’t wear it. Think about how many times you will wear the piece of clothing and if you can combine it to work with your other clothes. Functionality is important and your whole wardrobe should fit together.
Chic, respectable, and modern is how I would describe the London style. The goal is to keep your style looking fresh with sophistication but also with a little class. The style in the UK tends to be a tad more conservative than other European countries but the style is to keep quality clothes that are form fitting. The vintage look with lots of layering is also key and bring a jacket or raincoat for the fast changing London weather.
Londoners love clothes, classic style and a modern taste. If you want to dress like a Londoner make sure to have a refined taste that strikes a balance between over the top and conservative. Keep your style classic with some flair like ties, scarves, handbags, bracelets or jewelry. Remember that if you aren’t going to wear it because it isn’t functional or stylish, don’t waste your time buying it. Contact me if you have any questions or leave a comment below. Feel free to share!
images by: lookastic.com, harpersbaazar.com, whowhatwear, refinery 29, hentsch man, vogue, littlelook, pinterest