What to wear in London: 11 classic items

Written by Travel Adventures

While most major cities have a clear uniform, London’s look can be categorised as unapologetically offbeat. The birthplace of fashion trends from punk to mod, and home to legendary designers Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, and Stella McCartney, as well as fashion heavyweights Burberry and Mulberry, British style is experimental and boundary-pushing. Modern designers taking the helm – think Rejina Pyo and Jonathan Anderson – have continued to build on London’s position as a taste-maker capital. So while there may not be codes of style to follow, embrace eccentricity with prints and colour mixed with classic, old-world looks. And keep an eye on the skies – British weather calls for sunglasses and an umbrella at once.

The leather jacket

Revel in London’s punk heritage with a leather biker jacket. Go cropped, faded, shearling or studded with safety pins with a trip to Camden, or pair with tailored trousers and a polo for a high-fashion take on the look.

Cos Cropped Shearling Jacket

Yves Salomon Leather Jacket

The knit

Cable knit is a heritage textile style originating from the Irish Aran islands but beloved throughout the UK. Likewise, cardigans originate from their namesake town in Wales.

Paloma Wool Besito Knitted Jumper

Toast Mohair Blend Sweater

The jeans

You can’t go wrong with a good pair of jeans. Initially adopted by the Teddy Boys of the 1950s, it was punks in the 70s that made denim synonymous with London style. Avoid styles that look polished and opt for rips, frayed, and baggy boyfriend cuts. Mother makes the best, with organic cotton and relaxed styles that still manage to look flattering, with Raey creating tough denim that can be dressed up or down.

Flared-leg, frayed-hem jeans

The cosy flat

London’s love of trainers is waining this winter, with locals optiong for a more cosy option. Fleece lined Uggs and Birkenstocks now rule the neighbourhoods as the ultimate stroll-to-get-a-coffee shoe. Team it with a matching loungewear set and it’s a perfect outfit to wear on a plane too.

Ugg Tasman Suede Slippers

The mini handbag

No arguments – this is the bag shape of the season, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Uniqlo’s cult round mini bag is perfect for the hands-free Londoner. Big enough for a water bottle but small enough to not be cumbersome (we hate an overly capacious bag). Cult-favourite Reformation makes this prettier version in buttercup yellow.

The printed dress

The tea dress might be a staple of the British wardrobe, but new, modern designers have reinvented the classic style in all new prints, cuts, and iterations; Rixo put statement dressing back on the map with its high-voltage print-clash creations, while celeb favourite The Vampire’s Wife offers up some moody winter floral options in her signature feminine silhouette.

The Vampire’s Wife Midi Dress

The trench coat

Newly-appointed Daniel Lee (who previously turned around Bottega Veneta) put trench coats front and centre for his AW23 collection for Burberry. The house famously invented the coat style for the British army during the First World War, lightweight and waterproof, ideal for wearing in the – you guessed it – trenches. The style has been echoed by brands ever since.

Arket Linen Cotton Trench

The Mulberry Bayswater

Ready to feel old? The Mulberry Bayswater celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Worn by every Brit icon from Kate Moss to Alexa Chung, this was the bag that put Mulberry on every girl’s wish list. Invest in a classic with this version in timeless oak leather and Postman lock.

The jewellery

Londoners tend to wear simple-yet-special jewellery, timeless and sentimental pieces that nod to the past. Kirstie Le Marque, founded in London, was launched with this in mind, with vintage-inspired designs such as ‘sweetheart’ charms on huggie hoop earrings. When in doubt, layer up; gold chains are the ideal combo of East London tough with fashion-forward sparkle. Otiumberg makes these personalisable name bracelets for the sentimental wearer.

The Chelsea boots

The typical Chelsea boot – thought to have been designed by Queen Victoria’s boot maker to ease the removal of country boots, and so named after gentlemen who adopted the style to wear around Sloane Square – is a stylish choice for men and women all year round. Update the classic with a chunky sole Country-classic label Fairfax and Favor (you’ll know it’s signature tasselled riding boot) creates the dreamiest version for men, in ultra-soft cognac suede.

Hatton chunky Chelsea boots

The umbrella

Is there anything more synonymous with London than an umbrella? Paul Smith creates this gentleman’s wooden handle version, complete with stripe trim.

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