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Old May 10, 05, 2:04 pm   #1
 
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Question How To Fit In?? How To Dress? Living in London This Summer

I have a rather silly question for you all: I am a female American university student and will be living in London this summer (July-August). My hope is that I will not look too "touristy" or "out of place," so I am asking for some pointers.
I am aware that London is a very fashionable city, but there are a few questions I have. (For the men out there, mind asking the lady in your life these questions for me??)
1) As a 21 year old university student, I will be walking extensively not only in London (to the university and such), but also in other European cities that I visit on the weekends. Although I fancy high heeled shoes to go with my skirts/dresses, are they practical? What would a Londoner recommend as a good pair of shoes for lengthy walks? I'd prefer to avoid trainers, as they aren't very appropriate for most of what I usually wear. I'm looking for comfort and fashion...Two things that do not often go hand-in-hand...Hehe
2) On a "normal" day what would a Londoner wear (female)?
3) Should I bring any special/more formal outfits for any other events that are common in July/August?
Other than that, are there any other pointers one would like to offer on this topic?
Thank you so much!!
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Old May 10, 05, 3:14 pm   #2
 
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if you know to call athletic shoes trainers

you know enough to dress well in London
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Old May 10, 05, 3:18 pm   #3
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Enjoy your experience!

There are are few better places to be, IMO, than London in the summer. It will be warm but not hot, mostly sunny and, best of all, light until after 10 PM. Crowds spill out of the pubs onto the streets and the whole city takes on a pleasant air. Contrast this to the winters when it rains and gets dark at 3.

Oh yeah, the Tube stations will be hot and sticky.
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Old May 10, 05, 4:59 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziena
I have a rather silly question for you all: I am a female American university student and will be living in London this summer (July-August). My hope is that I will not look too "touristy" or "out of place," so I am asking for some pointers.

Have a look at what some typical "high street" British shops are selling right now, and you should fit in without any problems!

Monsoon: has a section on what to wear to what event this summer - http://store.monsoon.co.uk/er03app/c....htm?catid=299

Laura Ashley: http://www.lauraashley.com/webapp/co...6&cgrfnbr=2483

Zara: http://www.zara.com/v05/index.php?idioma=en

and good old M&S: http://www.marksandspencer.com/IWCat...s?Section_Id=5
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Old May 11, 05, 6:33 am   #5
 
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I'm an ex-New Yorker who has been living near London for awhile. For what it's worth, here are my observations on the fashion scene. The British (men AND women) tend to wear brighter colors and dare to be daring. I really think anything goes here, and women seem to show a lot more cleavage regardless of age or shape. I'd bring along a few summer dresses for evenings out to somewhere special, but otherwise any pants (trousers as they're called here) will do. Tank tops are definitely in and often called 'vests.' As for shoes, sandals, especially those with wedge heels, are big this year or the usual ones. Flats are also popular.. especially in white and pink is a big color for bags and shoes.

I wouldn't worry too much about looking like a tourist. You'll fit right in.
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Old May 11, 05, 7:00 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziena
I have a rather silly question for you all: I am a female American university student and will be living in London this summer (July-August). My hope is that I will not look too "touristy" or "out of place," so I am asking for some pointers.
I am aware that London is a very fashionable city, but there are a few questions I have. (For the men out there, mind asking the lady in your life these questions for me??)
1) As a 21 year old university student, I will be walking extensively not only in London (to the university and such), but also in other European cities that I visit on the weekends. Although I fancy high heeled shoes to go with my skirts/dresses, are they practical? What would a Londoner recommend as a good pair of shoes for lengthy walks? I'd prefer to avoid trainers, as they aren't very appropriate for most of what I usually wear. I'm looking for comfort and fashion...Two things that do not often go hand-in-hand...Hehe
2) On a "normal" day what would a Londoner wear (female)?
3) Should I bring any special/more formal outfits for any other events that are common in July/August?
Other than that, are there any other pointers one would like to offer on this topic?
Thank you so much!!
I have heard topless works well...

In all seriousness, I have been there the last 4 years in July and this year will be no exception, especially with Harry Potter coming out. I have noticed that we pretty much dress the same. You will be able to tell the American tourists from most everyone else not by their clothes, but by their weight. A lot of Londoners wear trainers commuting like here, then change to the more fashionable footwear of the day. It can get cool in the evenings, so keep that in mind. Also, be prepared for sticker shock that will get your knickers in a twist, so bring lots of $$. It sounds like you have a pretty good fashion sense, so I really think you will be fine. And the tube IS very humid in July.

Have fun!

MIND THE GAP!!
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Old May 11, 05, 8:18 am   #7
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Sound advice above. One thing I would recommend is buying your clothes before leaving the US - it will do much less damage to your budget.

Pretty much anything goes here in London, depending on who you are, who you want to be and where you are. For example, as a 30 year old bloke I dress in a combo of Banana Republic, Gap, M&S (for basics) with a little Paul Smith and Nigel Hall knitwear thrown in.

The missus wears lots of Monsoon, a bit of Gap and M&S plus Jaeger for more formal wear. But pretty much anything goes. If you want to avoid look like an American tourst, a few gentle pointers

* Do not wear sneakers. Londoners love trainers, but they have to colourful, a bit 'street' and branded.
* Do not wear college baseball caps or tops
* Never, ever wear a fanny pack - or bum bag as they are know here.

But you probably already know that.

Fingers crossed for decent weather, and pray it doesn't get as hot as '03 when the thermometer hit 38C (>100F). Not pleasant in a city where a/c is still pretty rare.
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Old May 11, 05, 9:54 am   #8
 
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Smile

Thank you for the continued advice!! I appreciate all of the helpfulness.

I love the links to the London clothing stores and the various other tips... And the comment about the "fanny packs" made me laugh: Don't worry, I'd rather die than be caught wearing one of those...Hehe...

I do believe that I would consider myself very fashion-forward here in the States, so I don't know why I'm doubting myself here. (I suppose that fashion is one of my endulgences...and sadly it's often the source of my depleting bank account ). I'm sure that I will fit in with no problem there, so thank you for the voices of confidence. However, any other pointers one can think of are still more than welcome!
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Old May 11, 05, 11:59 am   #9
 
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I think you'll be just fine! I totally agree with the posters who said to do your shopping here in the States before going over there...when I lived in London, I found that prices were really quite high, even on basics.

If you're itching to shop when you're there, H&M has some great sales though, and I managed to pick up a great sweater for £2. The Gap also has great clearance sales - much better than in the States.

And hopefully you'll be traveling during your time in London - I took weekends on the continent as a great opportunity to shop!

If you're looking for comfortable shoes, I'd recommend a pair of stylish pseudo-trainers. I wore a pair of black leather bowling style shoes quite a lot and blended in just fine. You'll see lots of Camper and other similar kinds of shoes around.
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Old May 11, 05, 11:27 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swanhunter
For example, as a 30 year old bloke I dress in a combo of Banana Republic, Gap, M&S (for basics) with a little Paul Smith and Nigel Hall knitwear thrown in. .
Swanhunter, I wonder if you can point me in the direction of any London Banana Republic stores. I haven't found them yet although I'm probably better off saving that for a return trip to the U.S. Shows what I know.. just found out that the Gap actually owns Banana Republic and Old Navy (don't think they're here yet in the UK).

Yes, let's hope for a summer like the last one!!
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Old May 12, 05, 2:10 am   #11
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zuriga , sadly there isn't a Banana Republic in the UK yet. There have been persistent rumours that they will enter the market this year but given the current sate of UK consumer spending I doubt it. That's why I do a couple of RTW's a year via the US so I can stock up!
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Old May 12, 05, 8:36 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swanhunter
zuriga , sadly there isn't a Banana Republic in the UK yet.
Thanks for confirming this. Someone told me there was one on Oxford Street, but I thought they might be mistaken. My kids live in the States and think I come to visit them... it's for the clothes! :-) I'm not surprised consumer spending is down - the prices are really absurd even for the UK.
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Old May 12, 05, 8:54 am   #13
 
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I second the H&M stuff, if not for it's quality then for the fact that lots of stuff is seemingly always on sale. Marks & spencer is also cool, good chocolate muffins. As with any large city, as long as your not wearing shorts or red, white, and blue pro-America shirts with nascar drivers on them, you will likely be cool as long as you think you are.
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Old May 12, 05, 1:19 pm   #14
 
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Question Take Heart, I'm not a "hillbilly"...Also, another question

Zuriga and Swanhunter, I'm sorry to hear that you don't have Banana Republic in the UK. That is honestly one of my favorite stores, so I understand your shopping trips to the US...Hehe...In fact, I live not far from a BR outlet store, so I can even get some of it discounted!! I wish I could "take clothing orders" for you...

And fear not, Chuckd, despite what some may think, not all of us Americans are "Red, white, and blue-blazin'-Nascar-lovin'" country folk...Hehe...I'm not sure that I even own something with said products on them...Hehe I'm beginning to think I'll fit in much better in London than I do here in some areas of the States. My fashion sense is more along the "classy" side...Hehe...But your comment is definitely a good point to be made to some of us Americans...It made me laugh alot...

If anyone is familiar with American and UK clothing brands, would you mind helping with another question of mine: I am a regular shopper at Banana Republic, The Limited, and Express. And occasionally I shop at American Eagle or Abercrombie & Fitch, although they are much more casual and aimed towards younger consumers. What would be the equivalent stores in the UK?? I'm wondering which stores would carry clothes that are "my style," though I'm not sure how much shopping I'd do.

Thanks again, everyone!!
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Old May 12, 05, 3:41 pm   #15
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While I am not that au fair with all the brands you mention, I suspect you will enjoy all the following to a lesser or greater extent:

French Connection, Paul Smith Jeans (normally a department store collection rather than stand along store), Next and the Gap (pitched a bit more upmarket in the UK than in the US). M&S (Marks & Spencer) can be staid, but does also have some good stuff. Also well worth a look is Selfridges (huge, fashonable department store) and the clothing sections in House of Fraser and Debenhams which can have some gems amongst the dross.

There are also some great little shops off Carnaby Street (Soho) (try Kingly Court)and in Covent Garden.

If I think of more, I'll post them.
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