On The Streets of London

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by Leandra Medine
September 18, 2013
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Where laughability and wearability are not mutually exclusive. Those damn Brits.

Though fashion has migrated through London and well into Milan already (thus rendering this story practically illegal by some unwritten code pertaining to timeliness, hemlines and shit like that), I, for one, am still far too fixated on the acute differences between New York’s street style and that of London’s to pay attention elsewhere.

It is obvious and therefore unnecessary to restate (though make no mistake, I will) that style at fashion week has transcended the boundaries of a runway en masse and flooded the sidewalks. More often than not, you can find enthusiastic girls dressed to the nines, loitering around show venues preparing to perform their own narcissistic versions of fashion week in a dramatic walk across the same street three times and a half. You can spot the advanced ones by their phone-to-ear gesture or faux cab-hailing technique.

I’m starting to wonder though: is this blazon of behavior which seemingly takes its toll on the clothes we wear indigenous to New York? In reviewing the street style photos of our Great Dame and deeming everything on point, beautiful but not particularly interesting, I’m just not sure why the street style in London as chronicled by one Tommy Ton and Mr. Phil Oh appears fresher, more crisp, new…even if it’s not.

There’s a sense of ease and carelessness in London that doesn’t exist on our side of the Atlantic. My lawyer friend told me last Thursday that if she could use one word to describe the street style in New York it would be: contrived. So I ask this — and maybe I’m only speaking on my own behalf: is it so obvious that we, in New York, stand in front of our closets mulling over what we’ll wear, upset over its deficiencies, trying desperately to compensate for them in any shape available for the nearing seven day rally? Because such is totally not the case in London.

And even the American editors look better when they’re there. Does this revert back to our age-old point about role playing and that sense of complete understanding, where just knowing that the mood in London is more jovial, the clothes can be as well? Amelia says everyone can benefit from a little tacky — a word she uses to describe some of the more elaborate outfitting formulas of ye Great Brits — but I wonder whether this is “tacky” so much as it is completely and utterly organic, pure fun and appreciation for the sake of Fashion with a capital F.

Furthermore, I ask you: if New York prides itself on being the epicenter of where the initiated fashion editors thrive, is London its countering hotbed, full of unapologetic fans who get it quicker, and often better, than we do?

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Also, give me these Celine creepers or give me death.

Photos courtesy of The Cut, Style.com and Vogue

REPLIES
  • Jen

    Totally way more my vibe – Killer!

  • Katerina

    I for one, have always been a much bigger fan of London fashion versus New York. Not saying there’s no good fashion going on there ( I mean, they do have you :P) But it’s just the vibe that Londoners give off. As for those Celine creepers?? Please, I would die right there next to you, they’re just perfect.

    fashionrealist.com

  • http://www.lucidnewyork.com HandmadeJewelrybyLucid

    I do notice a huge difference. London just seems more relaxed or something…

  • Ludapris

    Hey Ladies, there is a formatting issue in between paragraph 4 and 5 I believe. I for one feel that the Brits have a sense of “A la F*ck it” that is true and organic and exudes through the clothing. NY’ers we think too much and it shows!

    • Amelia Diamond

      Thank you! Fixed! (and we DO think too much!)

  • http://iamnrc.com/ ngoni

    Speaking as a Brit our style is just less fussy. Its just what we usually wear turned up a little

    iamnrc.com

  • Rebecca

    I’ve been living in London for 3 years (from the age of 18 and now 21) and I feel like this city has helped me come into my own. You can really dress how you want (I choose not to try too hard with a sporty kick – which probably looks a bit silly…) and it’s just nice being able to express yourself with nobody batting an eyelid. New York fashion does appear quite carefree too but the shows are a lot more commercial (not that’s a bad thing.) If you’re living in a city, or actually wherever, you really should be able to feel like you can dress for yourself! Isn’t that what fashion is pretty much about – attitude?

    http://www.yess-please.blogspot.co.uk

    (I really enjoy you’re blog as you encourage people to debate about topics!)

    • Rachel T

      I’ve never been in new york during a fashion week so I can’t speak to that, but I did spend a summer there and I will say that I felt very liberated clothing wise. Then again I’m from Missouri, so if I wear a skirt (even if its with a tshirt and flat sandals) everyone I see asks me why I’m so dressed up. And don’t even get me started on mid-missouri’s reactions to anything more offbeat…

  • Rebecca

    Also, I’ve seen many people dressed different compared to the photos you’ve chosen to upload. There’s a lot of variety which is fun. However on the other hand, I have witnessed people that I know dressing up to the MAX in all the designer gear that they can get there hands on and just go to Somerset house to take a facebook profile photo. That’s not cool!

    • http://www.EatStylePlay.com/ Eat.Style.Play

      I was about to say the same thing. I couldn’t think of the right thing to say. But seeing a lot of folks dressing to the max was such a turn off.

      These though I really like.

      • Rebecca

        Yes, it’s so silly. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with purchasing designer goods ofc if you really love it and you can make it you’re own, perf! It’s just the posing around Somerset house (with no work to actually even do) just in the hope to get papped is just a jokkkeee! What’s it worth? x

        • http://www.EatStylePlay.com/ Eat.Style.Play

          oh you mean like ppl who sit outside of lincoln center…I would have always be fine with it until Jimmy Kimmel comes along and makes complete crazies out of a bunch of folks who pretend to know about fashion designers he made up.

  • crispusbett

    I am in love with those Celine creepers!!!…Especially after reading this article http://crispusbett.com/2013/09/10/creepersperfection-on-a-platform/…LOVE @ FIRST WORD!

  • earlyholo_scene

    Been looking for ‘walking heels’ like the tan ones on the all-denim, crop-cut girl. Anyone know who makes these? Anyone?

  • STYLE-SQUARED

    Londoners have always somehow done it better when it comes footwear! <3

    http://style-squared.blogspot.ca/
    https://www.facebook.com/StyleSquaredByZM

  • Anna

    The less make-up and hair maintenance, the cooler everything else looks. Less jewelry as well.

  • Hannah Travers

    Beautiful Yasmin! Should be all curly haired ladies style icon!

  • Amatoria Clothing

    This last picture (slide 5) takes me back to the sixth grade. I wore an all-black version of the shoes on the right to graduation. It was the only day that we were required to wear a uniform. The requirement for shoes was simply “black closed-toe”… so I went with the tallest platform shoe available at the time. Looking back, I am not sure how I made it through that day without spraining an ankle.
    Also, I love London. So hard.

  • http://rightternes.com/ RightTernes

    If Fashion Month were a high school, New York is the eccentric, wildcard freshman and London is the tragically cool, IDGAF senior.New York kicks off fashion week and bursts onto the scene with a lot of exuberance and energy that may be quieted after a week spent in a fashion frenzy (like a student who, by the time they get to senior year, say “f*ck it, I don’t need to dress up.”). Either way, street style from London’s POV seems more bespoke and detail-oriented. Both are uniquely cool and aesthetically interesting in their own ways.

    • Leandra Medine

      But then…WHAT IS PARIS?

      • http://rightternes.com/ RightTernes

        Prom Queen!

  • KurateStyle

    London Fashion Week seems to be more polished in terms of street style. It feels a bit more chic and detailed than New York. Both are fabulous for inspiration, but in different ways. New York has a younger, more edgy and eccentric vibe. Whereas London is seasoned, and more polished. We are looking forward to your reviews of where it all began, and where it all ends – Milan and Paris. Thank you for the post MR!

    http://www.kuratestyle.com

  • http://www.downtownhautefashion.blogspot.com/ Leslie

    I Die over those Celine Creepers! Omg.

    http://downtownhautefashion.blogspot.com

  • Nietsche

    I recently went to London for the first time this year, and I can cofidently say that they have the best street style I have encountered anywhere else in the world. It just seems so much more effortless, in addition to the predisposed nonchalance that comes with wearing their looks. New and Old school are perfectly balanced there. Even the men dress better than their American counterparts. New York tries to hard where London doesn’t give a sh*t.

  • Maria Nelson

    I was JUST writing about this. NYC, lovely as usual, but London never fails to knock it out of the street styling park.

    http://thefashionserf.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/blase-faire/

  • s

    beautiful street style from London! New Yorkers do try hard, but maybe the other guys do too. They’re just better at shrugging off their effort

    xx

    http://spoonfulofdiamonds.com

    http://www.facebook.com/SpoonfulOfDiamonds

  • Jessica

    Americans have tried to mock the ease of European dress ever since we split as a colony, and failed in doing so. They just do fashion better, it’s an sad fact

  • dani

    much bigger fan of London fashion but I have to say – i find it mind boggling that the girl in the letterman jacket under the wool coat is not dripping in sweat

  • sara delaney

    Just done both NYFW & LFW and can safely say there’s still a hell of a lot of fake peacocking by the wannabes in London – so rest assured the affliction is probably global.

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    I lived in London for a couple of years and I was amazed to see how free people felt about the way they looked, I don’t think I could ever see this in France!

    Mafalda ❤
    http://www.mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • http://www.borsalon.com/ Borsalon
  • YoungMild&Free

    Oh London. I love it. Can’t wait to visit in person.

    xx
    youngmildandfree.wordpress.com

  • Katie

    I absolutely LOVE this look and now I want to copy it somehow… does anyone know who designed the striped top she is wearing underneath her jacket? My guess is Celine… any others? Thank you! I love street style! I love the juxtaposing of a blazer with skin tight pants (leather or not- showing the ankles as your earlier blog post stated) and wearing clunky shoes. It’s “preppy” yet not: amazing!

    • Leandra Medine

      the striped blouse is Dries! shoes are Stella

      • Katie

        Thank you thank you thank you Leandra! I LOVE the shoes too… but maybe my Jil Sander Wedges will do?

  • Alexis Foreman

    I agree! But as a Brit I can say that even though the outfits look a lot more thought through and perfected, it’s still inspiring to look at the street style shots at the end of each fashion week. London definitely has more fun with fashion but I’m sure there’s still a bit of angst in front of the mirror before they set foot out doors!

    http://brightonstylememos.blogspot.co.uk/

  • MostWantedStyle.com

    I love to see a girl rock a pair of boyfriend jeans so effortlessly…I’m still trying to find my perfect pair.
    http://mostwantedstyle.com/mws/

  • Lauren

    Those Celine creepers are beyond! Love everything you wrote.

    http://ahippiesdaughter.blogspot.com

  • http://Mysmallwardrobe.com/ Carelia

    I love London street style, but I completely adore Milan street style. I prefer their style than any other city in the world.

  • Paula McClelland

    I like the word Kooky for London streetstyle – it’s much more free and a little… um, kooky!

    ♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.
    http://shoe-fiend.blogspot.co.nz/

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Newborn Fanatic

    My takeaway from this post: I need creepers now!!!!

    https://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/

  • Katie

    Leandra, can you please do a post about how not only bloggers but some street style stylists/bloggers/editors wear the same shoes/clothes to different fashion weeks? I know they are “on trend” but I keep seeing the same Celine wedges and Stella McCartney lug boots in Milan that I did in London…hmmm…. so its not just bloggers!

  • http://bespokenabout.blogspot.co.uk/ Angelina S

    I’ve always thought NY fashion was more sophisticated and heavily dependant on high quality items with little fuss where as London is about uniqueness and individual interpretation. Personally I find London style exhausting – even if its street style inspires urban innovation. NY is sophisticated and functional – but I can definitely see these statement pieces on both fronts:) http://bespokenabout.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/your-wearing-that.html

  • Lili

    Leaving in London (and being French) I would say that London Fashion is all year round daring, bold, uninhibited and more importantly Londoner have fun with their fashion either is chic, crazy, punk and all this in a very nonchalant way…very British

  • Lou

    As a Brit myself I can safely say that whereas the word for New York street style is ‘contrived’ I believe the word to describe UK street style in general and not just London is ECLECTIC. You could quite literally walk down the famed Oxford street in London and see countless different types of people in their own street style walking around in their day to day life.

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