I learned the hard way about sticking out as an American tourist
in England, particularly in London, which is a very diverse yet
cosmopolitan city. I brought my baggy, torn jeans and beat up Doc
Marten boots, only to discover that the women in London were wearing
very chic and stylish feminine clothes. For summer, I would recommend
classic, well-fitted black or grey pants (modern cut, like boot-cut
or slight flare) or a nice, modern skirt, plus a well-fitted, chic/hip
short sleeved shirt (any color is okay, but black seems to rule).
Wear stylish yet comfy sandals (lots of walking) or nicer athletic
or walking shoes (the types that are rather shapely and not too
bulky). Dress nicer than just "American casual"...avoid
the white sneakers and DO NOT wear Doc Martens! The Docs store in
London was filled only with Americans. When I was in London, I went
straight to the market on Portobello Road and bought a load of cheap,
more stylin' clothes. London was quite warm when I was there in
July, but the weather was a bit more unpredictable as I went farther
north. Prepare for rain with a light rain jacket and have a comfy,
nice-looking sweater available.
Patricia, Chicago, USA
My biggest advice is to wear comfortable shoes. We traveled for
seven days throughout London almost exclusively by walking and riding
the underground and bus system. Most people wore dark clothes --
either pants or blue jeans. Women wore various types of shoes, but
very few impractical high heels. The shoes I wore have always been
comfortable for me back home, but hurt through all the walking in
the U.K. Next time I go I will wear either a hiking boot, a dark
colored athletic shoe, or a shoe with an athletic shoe insert.
Stefani, Phoenix, USA
In London, wearing black is always appropriate -- for dress or
casual wear. I've also discovered that you can wear trimly tailored
black pants with just about any top and always look appropriately
Yvonne, Kansas City, USA
Pack black slacks, comfortable shoes, raincoat and these basics
will take you anywhere.
When packing for London think conservative, no loud colors, no
clunky track shoes in white.
Dodi, De Funiak Springs, USA
I travelled in London, England. Ladies of size will want to know
about Evans, in Oxford St. near London's Marble Arch. They sells
medium-priced clothing for ladies of size (up to size 34, if I remember
Ellen, Sydney, Australia
If you decide to check out chic and expensive Harrods while in
London you should probably do so before a night at the theatre when
you're well-dressed. When I was there a few years ago (others have
told me this rule is still in place) you couldn't go in wearing
any kind of denim. I got turned away as did a very well-dressed
woman who happened to be wearing one of those sleeveless denim blouses
that used to be popular. Shorts and sleeveless shirts were forbidden
as well. Something tells me that Princess Diana never got turned
away but she probably spent more money than I did!
Kristin, Moncton, Canada
I traveled in London, England and I found skirts and blouses to
be most comfortable to pack. Knowing I was going to the theater
I did take a dressy (black) dress. I ended up wearing my walking
shoes everywhere but the theater. Next time I am going to take 2
skirts, 2 blouses, one dress and one jacket plus undies, even if
I go for three weeks. I will take only easy wash, quick drying clothes.
My sister took three suitcases. The one I took was too big and way
too heavy. I want to only have a small carry-on next time and I
plan to put it in the overhead compartment.
Carol, Urbana, USA
Coordinate your clothes around two main colors like black and tan.
In London, as in NYC, black is almost the color of choice. If you
travel in the Fall and Winter, the dry heat in the hotels will dry
most anything you wash overnight.
London is so blustery that an umbrella doesn't work very well.
A 3/4 length raincoat with hood (Eddie Bauer style) is great to
have. Make sure you can wear it over a heavy sweater or a wool blazer
in the cooler months.
If you want to be properly treated in London's exclusive restaurants
and shops, avoid wearing tourist attire--it's considered to be unspeakably
"naff" or tacky.
Jane Hess, Special to the Toronto Star, Canada
I travel to London in the winter months to go to the theatre--air
fares are lower after Nov. 1st. I find that London theatres are
casual, especially at matinees and that they are often overheated
in the winter. Wear layers. I was too hot in a cashmere turtleneck
sweater. A blouse and cardigan or blazer are better.
Trisha, Atlanta, USA
In London, wear black, black, and more black. To avoid looking
too much like a tourist, bring a raincoat rather than a windbreaker.
Julie, Ottawa, Canada