|The Venerable Fortnum & Mason|
Londoners move fast! Even if it weren’t for everyone wearing outwear everywhere, all the time, I would have had difficulty getting any definitive street style pics, as no one slows down for an instant, except to wait for a green crossing light. London is as ethnically and culturally diverse as any major city, defying any pigeon-holing of a dominant style aesthetic.
Even so, I observed a few common threads:
- “Gussying Up.” Londoners, at least in the areas we visited, tend to dress up for dinner, even just a bit more so than in Paris. I observed that women frequently wore dresses and heels (with nude or no tights), men wore blazers. I didn’t see people out for dinner in jeans (even nice jeans), other than in pubs or very casual places.
- Flats. During the daytime, everyone is in flats, whether ballet flats, sneakers or flat boots. I rarely saw women out in heels except in evenings.
- Kitten heels. But when I did see heels, few were the vertiginous platforms and I spotted lower and kitten heels on several very stylish women, from young to mature.
- Printed scarves, silk or otherwise. Saw women of all ages in printed silk scarves more so than I’ve observed in Paris in recent years, usually peeking out from the collar of a trench coat. Which brings me to…
- Trenches. Ubiquitous. Usually some variation on the classic tan trench, though in a variety of fabrics, lengths and detailing. I also spotted brightly colored trenches, usually red or orange.
We often spend a good deal of time on vacation shopping for the perfect gifts for folks back home. We’d heard that the Harrod’s Food Halls were not to be missed and as it wasn’t far from our hotel, decided to make a pass though. Harrod’s is sort of like the Disneyland of department stores, an attraction all on its own. People come to gawk; shopping is secondary (and from what I could determine, mostly high end). Like Disneyland, Harrod’s surprisingly seemed to have absolutely no problem with people snapping pictures on the premises. No place else we tried this took as kindly to it.
|Just one of what seemed like a dozen halls.|
|We are amused.|
|The Hall Of Endless Chocolate|
|“Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”|
Beautiful as it was, we didn’t think the fish would travel well, but did pick up some very nice boxes of chocolates there. At Fortnum & Mason we found some lovely teas and biscuits. (Wish we’d had more time in that store…stumbled onto it on our way to meet le monsieur’s cousin for dinner so only had time to explore the first floor before we had to rush off.)
I really hadn’t planned to do any shopping for myself, but did want to scout out some brands and shops that I’d heard of but aren’t readily available in the US. We browsed around Harvey Nichols, which while upscale was less steroidal (and was certainly less crowded) than Harrods. I had a chance to pop into Jigsaw and look around while over in the Charing Cross area, and found it quite style-accessible. We never made it to Selfridges. Other than a few British/European brands that aren’t brick-and-mortar-available here, it seemed that style and fashion are certainly global now. I would have loved to seek out some smaller boutiques and markets, but our schedule didn’t allow for that this time and so whatever shopping we did was limited to what we happened to come across as we were out and about. However the Universe did put a couple of nice things in my path, which I’ll share in a subsequent post.
Do you shop much while on vacation? Do you have favorite types of gifts to bring home?
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