What I Learned From London's Fashion Week

While only having been in London for a month, a heightened awareness for fashion has developed within me. Fashion has always been of little importance to me; what truly mattered was how cheap I could buy whatever I wanted at a thrift store. But since studying abroad in London, I have noticed a distinct, quirky fashion sense that all Londoners seem to possess. I'm going to call it the 

Anything Goes Style 

Under the "Anything Goes" style people are seemingly free to wear whatever they want, fully indulging in self-expression. All across London, people are dressed in varying articles from lavish fur coats to punk styled boots back to prim collars and tights, with the especially fashion savvy somehow combining all the above in one traffic-stopping outfit. And with the closing of London's latest fashion week, the spirit of a free, easygoing, rule-breaking fashion sense is still underway. 

Perhaps my shock and awe comes from a particularly unfashionable place. I make up for my lack of fashion with an overfamiliarity with common fashion rules and faux-pas. 

1. No white after labor day

2. No jeans or leggings at an important occasion

3. No pairing a flowy top and bottom

4. No mixing of too many colors or patterns

5. No using one color through the entire outfit

And so on...

Albeit some of these rules are way out of date (hello, ever heard of winter white?) but for the most part, I followed these rules to a T always attempting to be presentable because when you look good, you feel good. And as much as I want to claim that I am truly above a superficial, materialistic world; I'm just not. We are too quick to judge each other based on appearance and as a student moving onto being a young professional in a job market that solely depends on networking, appearance is truly everything. Which is why I found the anything-goes attitude of Londoners, specifically London fashion week, to be so shocking.

The very industry that defined so many trends and rules before have traded decades of fashion wisdom for one rule: there are no rules.

People are free to wear whatever they desire as long as they wear it with confidence and as someone who loves collecting quirky pieces that don't go with anything I am rather excited.

Even men get a style upgrade, with platform shoes becoming a new trend

Now, of course, this freedom in fashion is still hindered to some extent. Walking around different areas of London, have different expressions of the "Anything Goes" style. In the Chelsea/Kensington area in West London, people are more bound to wear as many lavish articles of clothing they can muster, with stately fur coats (sometimes faux, sometimes not), cashmere sweaters, and high heels, or boots. I even saw an older woman walking out of the grocery store yesterday with a large brown fur coat, six-inch heels and a fascinator (lady's decorative hat) with a giant peacock feather coming out of it, and jewels woven into the brim. And she was going grocery shopping!

Whereas in East London in the Shoreditch neighborhood, an "Anything Goes" style is a bit more hipster, mixing eclectic or vintage pieces with bargain deals and expensive pieces, a hodgepodge of self-expression. Shoreditch is defined by its interesting clubs and its vintage shops along a brick lane, giving way to a more eccentric and fun sense of fashion. 

Of course, there is more to London than Shoreditch and Chelsea, or east and west but both areas provide such a contrast in fashion sense with a fondness for an over the top, anything goes style, fully embracing the spirit of London's fashion week. A common stereotype of Londoners is that they like to dress in all black or otherwise neutral colors. While that is definitely true on some days (hey being a full-time fashionista is hard) Londoners also have a great fondness for colors. Anytime you wear a bright color while walking along the streets of London you are bound to get more looks and smiles. While they may be more hesitant to comment than people in the US, colorful outfits do seem to be appreciated.