London Style by Sector: I Dressed Like a London Local For 5 Days

Absolutely magical. That’s the only way I can describe London. It's a city with such a complex way of intertwining beauty, history and progression that I often find myself spending hours admiring my surroundings. As I continue to discover new places, I have taken notice of the local people and their distinct fashion. It's known that Europe is recognized as a fashion-conscious continent, but London is so much more than what meets the eye. Every sector is truly unique from the other, not only in historical and architectural aspects, but also in the way people dress and behave. Each sector has its own identity, and the locals often reflect each of these identities. The more I saw, the more I became intrigued.

If you know me, you know that I'm pretty much always up for a challenge and love playing dress up. This is partially because I'm clothes obsessed and partly because I'm a Pinterest addict. Take note that while I am obsessed with clothes, I never usually stray away from my style, and most of my actual wardrobe is either black, white or gray. But as a wise person once said, "When in London, do as the Londoners do.” So I decided to challenge myself and dress like London locals from different sectors for five days. At the very least, I thought picking out these outfits would save me some time while getting dressed.  

Day 1: Shoreditch  

Shoreditch is one of the most distinctive and unique places here in London. It's an urban area where graffiti and trendy bars are home for artists and fashionistas. The whole vibe of this area can be described as "effortlessly cool," and man buns are all the rage.

For this look, I took a monochromatic approach with a subtle pop of color. I chose to go with a with a black sweatshirt and ripped skinnies paired with a gray speckled wool coat and  leather boots. To top it off, I did my best half man bun impersonation and wore some Livevivacious sunglasses to add that urban-cool effect. I loved this look so much! It was everything you could ever want in an outfit — simple, chic and comfortable. It also helped that my black and grey wardrobe came in handy. I felt like I could walk into any place in Shoreditch and fit right in. At the end of day one, I was excited to see how I would do for the rest of the week.

Day 2: Camden 

Camden is the center of the underground music scene where extravagant goths and punks dress up and rock out. To be honest, I was nervous about this look for various reasons. To start, I never wear my hair up due to my seemingly giant ears, and I also never wear chokers because, well, I feel like they're choking me. I never went through a goth stage, so I really had to people-watch for this one. I knew that if I wanted to fit in with the nightlife crowd and do Camden justice, I would have to step out of my comfort zone.For this look I had to start slowly and then work my way up so I wouldn't back out. I decided to go for a long-sleeve black mini dress and a choker paired with my knee-high Shoedazzle boots topped with a light green straight coat. To really add to the look, I opted for a high, sleek ponytail and decided on a light brown smokey eye with dark brown lipstick. When I looked in the mirror I felt like a mature version of Morticia Addams. Once I was all set for my big night out, I sent a picture to my sister back in the states, and to say that she was shocked at my new look is an understatement. Weirdly enough, I didn't completely hate this look. It made me realize I should wear my hair up more often, and that I like dark brown lipstick. Special shout-out to Camden locals for making me have a fashion epiphany.

Day 3: Lambeth

Reggae, hip-hop and jerk chicken are what Lambeth is all about. Contrary to most sectors that look into the center of town, Lambeth has the South Bank at its door. When I visited the area, I noticed that locals were dressed pretty chill but had this edge to them that still made them look urban and cool. I decided to play some of the reggae music I had heard to get me in the mood while getting ready.

For this outfit, I went with navy blue sweatpants, a gray crew-cut sweater and a black leather jacket paired with Steve Madden leather slip-on sneakers and a beanie. This outfit was so effortless, and I felt great. Honestly, this one might be a repeat for colder school days. Lambeth knows what's up when it comes to being comfortable and stylish.

Day 4: South Kensington

You only need two words to describe South Ken: super posh. The locals in this areas are high end, just like the real estate. Among these streets are the crème de la crème: ambassadors, politicians and highly influential people. In this area, you're not fully dressed if you're not dressed to impress. I had to pull out all stops for this one. So I wore a long-sleeved navy blue shift dress, pointed-toe heels, a long marble necklace and a light pink blazer to pull it all together.

*Insert heart eye emojis everywhere.* I don't know how I put this together or what caused me to put a pink blazer over it, but I felt like such a chic businesswoman ready to head out to important meetings. I've had this blazer in my closet for more than a year and never wore it, and now I refuse to take it off. This whole look was so posh, and I got an unbelievable amount of compliments. It just goes to show you that office chic doesn't have to be boring. I might look expensive, but my outfit was less than fifty dollars. Hands down, it was my favorite outfit of the week .

Day 5: Notting Hill

Notting Hill is home to top-secret venues, and the area is vibrant with a huge emphasis on music. Even with the eclectic pubs, the weekly market is one of the most colorful and popular things to do during the weekend. People dress up in their most stylish Sunday best and search for market goods.

For this look I decided to keep it simple but trendy. I chose to wear black skinny pants with a black textured crew-cut sweater and a white long-sleeved T-shirt for a peek-a-boo effect. I paired this with Mamahuhu sneakers and a brown, wide-brimmed wool hat. I felt like I gave Pharrell a run for his money with this outfit, and it made me want to buy 100 more hats. I felt confident and artistic. This outfit was a winner.

The Takeaways

This was a great learning experience. I mean, who knew I could make so many outfits with things I just had lying in my closet? This whole challenge was a pleasant surprise and really made me feel like a local. Before I came to London, I promised myself that I would try to embrace the city's culture as much as I could, and this challenge really helped. Although my five days are up, I've been greatly influenced by this experience and will surely continue to expand my clothing options. I've learned that taking a risk can work out to your benefit. What's there to lose anyways? If you hate it, change it. #TheMotto. It's not about dressing like someone you're not, but about discovering who you are and what makes you feel good.

Photos courtesy of Amanda Aracena