Summer style isn’t something you’re born with or miss out on – it’s a flair that you can learn. But when you are spending the summer in a new location, a little preparation is needed in order to truly look your best. For those planning a break to London, knowing what to wear to suit the city, the things you might do and the climate and likely weather – all while being able to pack it neatly in your suitcase – can be a huge challenge. And no matter how much fun you’re having visiting Buckingham Palace and planning tea at the Ritz, no one actually wants to look like a tourist.
Getting The Vibe Right
The central fascination about life in London for many visitors, and indeed residents, is the fact that it’s so diverse. From rocking the latest in hipster chic in Hoxton to going upscale in Chelsea, no two areas are the same. And while that is a lot of fun, it’s also an easy way to trip up sartorially and look out of place when you only have limited packing space. So consider what you might be doing – are you hitting the museums, going for some retail therapy, or looking to Dine out in London? The other major factor is, of course, the weather. There’s a reason that Brits are famous for always talking about it! If you’ve never visited England one thing that stands out is the inconsistency. It’s no exaggeration to say that you can easily experience all four seasons in a single day – no matter the time of year. Even if you plan to visit in high summer, you may encounter everything from blue skies and blazing sunshine to lots of rain – and it’s not uncommon for temperatures to vary by ten degrees in a week. Dressing for the weather is key in order to make sure you’re comfortable and that you get the most out of your visit to London.
First of all, it’s advisable to get your choice of shoes right. London is a city best seen by public transport and on foot, so if you’re doing a lot of walking and hopping on and off the Tube, what shoes you wear really can make or break the success of your day. The city is really busy and the major hotspots like Oxford Street can get seriously busy. Something like a ballet flat, a fresh sneaker or an espadrille with a closed toe can be both a stylish and practical choice. If you wear flip-flops you’ll soon find that your feet get filthy, and if there’s a sudden downpour they’ll also be wet! Wellies are not generally appropriate in the city and tend to be saved for countryside excursions. And although heels are great if you’re heading into the West End, you may get some funny looks schlepping around Covent Garden during the day wearing them.
Dressing The Part
There isn’t really a typical ‘London look’ because the city is so diverse, but it is known for it’s fashion sense. London summers can be surprisingly hot, so you’ll find a lot of women opting for a floaty tea dress, or a pair of tailored shorts teamed with a loose blouse – sometimes with the addition of something like a pair of Converse All Stars. For men, a light button down shirt and some pastel shorts seem to be a popular choice in high summer. The heat can be quite intense at times, so make sure you remember sunscreen, sunglasses, a reusable metal water bottle and perhaps even a rechargeable pocket fan, all stashed in a practical, durable tote – it may be a French label but the Longchamp Le Pliage bag is perfect for summer in the city here too!
Pack In Some Versatility
With London’s temperature and weather varying so much, it is important to pack a few options to make sure you can travel in comfort. A foldable raincoat and an umbrella is always a good idea. You can also add in some lightweight, long sleeved thermal tops that can be layered under other pieces to give a bit of extra warmth if the temperature drops. A lot of people also find it a good idea to take one of the ultra-light down jackets from Uniqlo that look so sporty and stylish. Their simplicity goes with most outfits, and they roll up into a tiny shape to save room. Developing a travel capsule wardrobe is also a great idea to pack light and still look stylish. Pick a colour palette – neutrals with one or two accent colours tends to work well – and select items in those shades to ensure that everything you pack works well together.
This is a collaborative post on Sunny in London.