When we arrived in London, my friends commented on how fashionable the Londoners dressed. But I wasn’t convinced.
I was put off by people wearing jean shorts with black tights. Why wear tights with shorts? Shorts are for hot weather and tights for cold. How is this strange combination fashion?
Then I realized that all my cute summer dresses and shorts were useless in the chilly London weather. Leggings allowed me to wear my summer outfits without freezing to death.
So I started paying attention to how the locals were layering their clothes and I came up with the professional (female) London uniform: black tights, long shirt/short dress, chunky necklace and, depending on the weather, a trench of some sort. Oh, and a scarf always completes the ensemble.
While it’s not my favorite look, London fashion has grown on me. However, I think I prefer the fashions I spotted in the National Portrait Gallery.
The National Portrait Gallery houses hundreds of portraits from the 1400s to the present day and includes paintings of royal family. I like standing in front of the pictures and analyzing the subjects’ expression or looking for family resemblances between portraits.
But the clothes! The painters must have spent lifetimes learning how to paint lace, draped cloth and the texture of brocade. I wish I could fine clothes in Top Shop or H&M that are half as vibrant as the ones in the paintings.
And in the Victoria and Albert Museum, I was tortured even more by walking through an exhibition of Grace Kelly’s clothes. Everything was perfectly tailored and managed to look sophisticated and dream-like. In her clothes, I saw a blending of the current London chic with the romantic quality of the past.
My fashion learning on this trip is something of a paradox. Not only am I gathering wardrobe tips from the London residents on the tube, but also from museums and paintings hundreds of years old.
Just another example of how old and new mesh wonderfully in London.