Aug 2, 201203:34 PMGirl Next Door
British fashionista Charlotte Crowley tells you what to wear—and what NOT to wear.
The London Look: Part Two- Definitive Pieces of the London Look
The Black Collar
Alexa Chung rocks three of the British style staples- boots, leather jacket and a striped top
With the 2012 London Olympics finally beginning this week, all eyes are on England. What we're doing, where we're going, what we're listening to, and of course, what we're wearing. Despite not being at home for the Olympics (I'm spending my summer back in the States!) I definitely know a few things about British fashion and style. Like most Brits, including Harry Potter star Emma Watson, I didn't really know what British style really was until I moved to another country. Once I moved to the US I realised how differently we dress back home. British style is very adventurous, very fun and very trend-led. We are fortunate that we have a fantastic high street which allows us to easily purchase on-trend pieces for fantastic prices (more on that next week when I bring you a guide to where to shop in London!). London, in particular, is a very stylish city. I always think people dress pretty well in my beloved Manchester, but whenever I go to London it's a different story— every girl looks like she's just walked off a catwalk, and every man looks like he's fallen out of a J Crew catalog.
Over the next few weeks I will bringing you a series of articles on British fashion— what British girls wear, how to get the London look, where to shop and for fun, where to go in London when you look so stylish.
Last week we discussed the basic rules of “the London look”, so today we're going to look at the key pieces that define this look. It's a sort of shopping list for any aspiring London girl. Next week we'll go one step further and I'll be showing you where to shop in London, and the best places to buy these key pieces (if you don't already own them!). Finally in the following week I'll be giving you a brief guide to the hottest spots in London to show off your new look!
A few years ago, The Times newspaper published a list of 50 Items that every British woman needs in her wardrobe. The list has since become a little dated, and some of the items were more tailored to a certain individual style, aesthetic and bank balance. So, while using that list as I guide, I've created a shorter list of 10 items. These items help define British style, but the majority of them will fit into your wardrobe no matter your style, and still give a distinctive British feel to your look. There's a good chance you already own many of these items, and I've tried to choose classic pieces that will not only last forever, but that should be easy to obtain.
Pretty tea dress
This needs to be the kind of dress you can wear to meet your boyfriend's parents, appropriate for drinks with a leather jacket thrown on, and just about business casual with a blazer thrown on. Ideally vintage, and preferably in some kind of cute print, such as florals or polka dots. This is your wear with everything dress.
Leather jackets are a British girl staple— even my Mum has one! Warm enough for the autumn and spring, but not too hot for a summer afternoon. Vintage leather is a great option, but high street stores such as H&M have some great faux leather options.
You Americans aren't the only ones who love their denim! A great pair should be the perfect fit, and casual enough for day but smart enough with heels at a bar. Topshop are my personal favourite.
Invest in decent quality boots because you won't take them off from October until May. Black riding boots are a popular choice, as are lace up ankle boots. Wear with your tea dress in the colder months.
Black opaque tights
To wear with your boots, of course. I live in black tights all year around. Perfect for making your summer clothes last all year. Get 40 denier or above for decent coverage and switch to woolly ones in the winter.
Giant bag (with sunglasses and an umbrella inside)
In England, the weather never knows what it's doing, so you need a really big bag with your entire life packed into it, and of course, an umbrella. You will need it!
A coat you adore
I have 10 coats. And I am not ashamed. Just like in Minnesota, in England you live in your coat. Half the people you meet on a daily basis won't see what you're wearing underneath, so it's a good idea to get a good one. In a really, really bright colour. You'll thank me on those cold, grey days.
Apparently British women wear the highest heels in Europe. As a collector of 5” and above heels, this doesn't surprise me. We love our heels. Buy a ridiculously high pair that you can only wear for ten minutes but enjoy the compliments while your feet last. The rest of your outfit can be boring, but amazing heels will get you noticed.
A really smart blazer
I seriously love my blazers. I have a variety of colours, but I love the slightly masculine, dressy feel they give to any outfit. This androgyny is typical of British style and a great blazer is perfect office-to-bar fodder. Start with black and go from there.
A Breton striped top
Okay I know this is technically a French thing, but stripes are perfect for edgy-but-laid-back cool. Don't spent a lot of money on one, but find one that fits you well and has long sleeves for winter. Pair with your jeans, heels and leather jacket. Kate Moss would be so proud.