New Year Review #2 – The London Look
To be totally honest, my 2013 was not outstanding in the greater scheme of things. I didn’t find world peace or a cure for any illnesses or anything. But I did read some books (ok, like maybe two books), go to some gigs and surfed a bit. I designed lots of prints and saw millions of fashion. All of the fashion if you will. 2013 also saw my second London anniversary. I moved here during Fashion Week so the two will forever be intertwined. I have started to notice the differences in my Pre-London Wardrobe and my London wardrobe. Leaving aside the changing of trends, passing of time and a desire to grow up somewhat, there has been a very definite London-ification of my wardrobe in the past two years.
The London Look. As silly as it sounds, there is something very distinct about how the city dresses. It’s a mix of the utilitarian, practical New York, chic French luxe and a burst of classic English quirk and heritage textures. It may be impossible to pinpoint the “London Look”, but if you live here, no matter what your style, you follow certain guidelines. There are certain, unspoken, understood things that you DO, that you wear. So, to mark my two year anniversary of being a Londoner (four and a half months late…), I have summed up a few of the things that makes London style quintessentially London and quintessentially stylish!
Heels? Don’t even. They say you can tell a lot about a person from what they wear on their feet. In that case Londoners have to walk, lots. Public transport is great (mostly) in London, but it’s a BIG city, so tottering about all day on 5 inch stilettos is a big ask, only for the very brave, or very silly. You will instead notice a sea of boots and flats. Chelsea boots, Oxfords, Acne Pistons and their legion of knockoffs. And sneakers. All of the trainers. London is a sneaker-freak city. I love living in East London and seeing the millions of exotic kicks on everyone around me, from the scallys to the most snobbish hipster to the really cool guys in traditional Muslim dress chilling round Brick Lane. When I moved to London I owned probably four pairs of black shoes, three of which were heels I rarely wore. I now own 25 pairs of shoes, 20 of which are black, 3 of which are trainers and only 3 of which are heeled. Go figure.
2. Standing Out
Standing out is so common it doesn’t stand out in London. Literally thousands of bright-young-things flock to Dalston every year to make their mark and BE INDIVIDUALS. They wear reams of colour, pattern and jazzy silhouettes, they all stand out. With the net effect of all looking the same. The same can be said for all the different tribes that exist in this great metropolis. There is room for everyone and each tribe dresses to the nth degree. Because there is a place for everyone, it forces you to find your own style, and do it hard. If Dublin encouraged me to dress loud, London encourages me to dress quiet. It’s not that London is shhhhh-ing me, far from it. London encourages you to roar. It’s just that, really, maybe I don’t actually WANT to roar. The only statement I want to make is a quiet, simple, designy one. That’s my statement. That’s exactly who I am. I don’t need to fit in or stand out because we’re all misfits. And it so happens that I’m happiest in black, navy and shades of grey.
The tube. The bus. The walk to work. Cold flats. Hot galleries. Crappy winters. Stifling summers. London cannot be accused of not giving us plenty of weather, even if most of it is woeful. As a result, Londoners have to understand the practicalities of layering. They need to be coat experts. Indeed one of the first things I noticed when I moved was that everyone seems to live in their coats, even inside bars and clubs. They need to understand the benefits of cashmere and flannel, of tights. London girls just don’t do bare legs in winter. If you do, you’re, well… You’re not getting the tube or walking anywhere, that’s for sure! London girls understand the necessities as well as the aesthetics of giant scarves, that can be unfurled and held on stuff public transport. I never needed any encouragement when it comes to coats and scarves, but London has made me understand the utility of my entire outfit, so that leaving the house in the morning I am equipped for the various temperatures I am going to have to face during the day. I have shirts and sweaters and know what temperatures all combinations will create. It has made me think, so that when I’m wearing an outfit I don’t need to worry about it. Effortless. Done. Thanks, LDN. Here’s to the next few years. xx
all images via tumblr.com