How to get the London look
North, south, east and west… No Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore, we’re in London, the city that currently holds the accolade Style Capital of the World; and that gingham smock just ain’t going to cut it. It’s often struck me how our nation’s capital seems to be split into four distinct districts, all with their own fabulous shopping, identity and style. Yet with so much on offer, it can be a little overwhelming and tough to figure out just where you need to go to get your fashion fix of choice. So, for the travelette that loves to shop, can’t resist a bargain and takes their inspiration from the streets, read on to pick your London look…
The Look: Home to some of the city’s priciest property, north London has long held the reputation as the hangout of the fashion pack darlings. Unique, fun pieces like colourful, shaggy furs are mashed up with high-end, high street items and urban classics like denim, leather, Doc Martens and super fresh trainers. And nearly everyone owns a parka. Casual yet noticeable, these ladies know how to carefully put together a look that looks like it was no effort at all.
Where to get it: At one of my all-time favourites, the explosion to your senses that is Camden Market. So many shops, stalls and people to feast your peepers on; so many delicious smells wafting from the steamy, street food stalls. Wander down the High Street lined with pubs and small indoor markets over-flowing into the side streets; explore the Lock market for fantastic gifts and trinkets; then hotfoot it into the depths of the Stables for hours of vintage and alternative fashion findings.
The Look: Hello hipsters and welcome to your spiritual home. The vibe here is ‘let’s get creative’ and anything goes. Ironic eyewear is a staple – sunglasses, real glasses, nerd glasses… hell, just get some cute frames and pop out the lenses. Retro t-shirts with slogans (the more obscure the better) teamed with lots of plaid and denim. And don’t forget to accessorize the bejesus out of your ensemble with some iconic headwear or a tin lunchbox instead of a bag. Extra points for customized outfits or anything that gives a nod to your extra-curricular, arty activities.
Where to get it: As the average hipster knows, consumerism is so not cool. Instead, support the independent boutiques and thrift stores that are littered around Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Dalston. The East End Thrift Store, described by Vogue as ‘legendary’, is bound to get the bargain hunter’s pulse racing with two floors bursting with quality, retro clothes that won’t break the bank. Also, try out Spitalfields market – Sunday is the busiest and best day to go and the t-shirts are super cool.
The Look: Shiny, glossy and sophisticated. Think of that Chelsea girl formula, the epitome of a charmed, glamorous and somewhat exotic life. Skinny jeans and leather trousers with boots or cream coloured converse; high fashion t-shirts; high quality fabric; decadent, statement handbags… The best in the west is subtle, classic and oh, so chic.
Where to get it: The one, the only, Portobello Market can answer many of your vintage needs but if you’re in the mood for something a bit more ‘ladies who lunch’ then check out the designer second-hand stores in Knightsbridge on Cheval Place. The Pandora Dress Agency stocks pre-owned, designer pieces – occasionally, you can even pick up something unworn… after all, buying that Leger dress in both sizes simply saves time trying them on, right?
The Look: Living south of the river gives the vague impression of living free, liberated from the rat-race bondage of city life. Consequently, the style is all about keeping it real, man. Grandpa style, loafers and little old lady coats epitomise charity shop cool alongside headwear like bobble, beanie or pork pie hats. Stay laid-back in flats or trainers and channel some Brixton cool with a bit of urban sportswear.
Where to get it: Brixton Village has a smattering of good vintage stores and independent boutiques nestled amongst the traditional African stalls and shops that give the place its unique vibe. Try Bella West for retro dresses and accessories; Saloon for mostly modern gems alongside a rail full of vintage pieces; and Rejuvenate for more second-hand swag. Or head over to leafy Greenwich for a pleasant afternoon exploring the eclectic mix of shops on offer around the centre such as the fabulous Emporium, a treasure trove of one-off and specially chosen pieces.
So get yourself on that yellow brick road to your style district of choice. The only question is, which London look’s for you?