These past few weeks in London have been the greatest. I’ve been seeing so many great sights like the British museum, Kew Gardens and Convent Garden. All the sights have been wonderful, interesting places and as I’ve been getting more comfortable moving around the city I had started to notice interesting differences between what I thought London would be like and what it’s actually like.
One of the first things I noticed was that London does not have one set style. My impression of the English and Europeans in general is that they always dress to impress. I considered American business causal to be their causal. So, when I was packing I put in a lot more dresses, flats, dressy blouses and smart blazers instead of my unusual sweat shirts, over-sized and comfy flannels and jersey shirts, Pitt t-shirts and sneakers. Then when I got here and started noticing people on the tube, I realized that people don’t dress as formally as I thought and also, they wear every fashion combination under the sun. Yet the most interesting fashion choice to me was that almost every person on the tube was wearing sneakers. Women in dresses, young children, men in cotton pants and button downs all had Nikes on. That only people that didn’t were the few men and women wearing suits.
People at my office also dress causally. On the first day I had a dress and blazer on and my supervisor had a plain t-shirt, jeans and sneakers on and the girl sitting across from me have jeans, a tank top and a flannel on with nikes. I felt very much the fool and realized the majority of what I brought to wear wasn’t exactly right and I would have done just fine sticking to my usual attire.
I noticed a couple fashion “trends”, one of them being everyone was wears long pants no matter the weather. It has been a very warm, humid, 80 degrees outside, which is usual for English weather and people were wearing long pants. Some people even had jackets on, like light parkas or leather jackets. In the US as soon as the temperature is 60 degrees guys bust out the cargo shorts and girls put on shorts, skirts or sun dresses or something light. Here when it’s suddenly a heat people continue to dress in long clothing despite the fact that its 80 degrees and they don’t have air conditioning in most buildings or public transportation. I think I stand out more simply because I am sweating all the time in these long layers. 80 degrees feels a lot hotter in jeans and long sleeves.
Basically, fashion trends in Europe are different than the US but not as much as you would think. As long as you are clean, matching and put together you’ll fit right in.