There are so many overlapping cultural influences in London that it’s nearly impossible to differentiate between one influence and the next. Therefore, if you’re wondering what to wear in London, there is no single answer.
Every neighborhood within the city is like its own world, from the Canary Wharf tailored suit banker, to the Afro-Caribbean Brixton hipster, to the Chalk Farm smoothie-drinking yogi. London fashion can vary dramatically between neighborhoods and residents.
If you stay casual in London, you won’t receive unwelcoming stares, and you can certainly dress to impress. The only thing Londoners agree on is dressing appropriately for the weather. There are rainier cities in the world than London, but that doesn’t make it the wettest city in the UK.
The rain does fall quite a bit, though, and the temperatures can rise quite high. It happens sometimes that both happen at the same time. Now that you know how to dress in London, let’s take a look at how you should wear it.
The Best Travel Backpack for London:
The right bag will make it easier to carry your wardrobe over the pond before we discuss what to wear in London. I strongly advocate carrying only what you need. If you’ll be flying between multiple European cities, this will save you the hassle of checking and retrieving bags.
Travel backpacks like the Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack are perfect for carry-ons. My experience with the Outbreaker has shown that it has several advantages. Outbreaker allows you to use every square inch of space while also fitting within airline carry-on size restrictions.
As a result, I haven’t found another carry-on bag that can hold so much. When visiting London, you should pack a variety of clothes for different weather conditions. Also, the Outbreaker is water-resistant, which is ideal if you’re visiting London during a rainstorm.
What to Wear: Shoes for London:
Let’s start with footwear in our London-style guide.
The key to navigating London is wearing comfortable shoes. Unlike other cities, London does not have an “off-peak” season. Piccadilly Circus and Parliament can be packed to the point of suffocation in the most touristy areas.
A walk is a fast and comfortable way to get to and from places. You should wear dress shoes and heels if you are dressing up for a show in the West End.
Spring, summer, and autumn are the best times to wear leather ankle boots with sturdy soles. If you want to get from point A to point B easily and comfortably during the winter, don’t forget to wear leather shin-height boots.
Wearing wellies (knee-high rain boots) is not recommended. The country is the only place where wellies are appropriate. In most cases, avoid wearing heels unless you are going out or attending a formal event. Flip-flops and sneakers should be left at home.
How to Dress Summer in London?
In spite of what many people expect, London summers can be unbearably hot. It’s a given that most people will layer during the heat of the year, so it’s a perfect time to wear as little as possible. It’s all about colorful summer dresses, hats, shorts, and blouses for women, especially since parks are a great place to relax in the summer.
An outfit for men in the summer would consist of a button-down shirt, pastel shorts, and a pair of flip-flops. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses since London’s busy sidewalks may not always provide adequate shade.
What to Wear in London in Winter?
Winters in London have always been confusing to me. There are times when it feels like a spring day and other times when it feels like a winter wonderland.
Light to heavy rain is common in November, which marks the start of winter. January and February are the months when snow falls more frequently. You might not expect Great Britain to be so warm because of the Gulf Stream.
Temperatures will be milder during the winter, hovering around 40 and 50 degrees. Therefore, layers are your friend once again. The temperature can fluctuate throughout the day, so make sure you have an insulated coat, gloves, and a hat with you.
It is recommended that you wear a sweater with a blouse or shirt underneath and fitted pants to keep warm. Should you get toasty at the local pub, you can always shed the sweater.
What to Wear in London in Spring?
No matter what you do, do not wear shorts the moment the sun appears. In London, spring weather is likely to be cold and change midday, making pants a necessity.
You can expect rain in Spring. No matter how sunny it is in the morning, always carry an umbrella or raincoat. You can start replacing your winter layers with lighter ones in April and May.
Sweaters and jackets are more appropriate for late spring. Dresses can be considered again by ladies. If the evenings are cooler, don’t forget your sweater or shawl. The short-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, and lighter pants are likely to be enough for men.
What to Wear in London in Autumn?
Autumn in London is one of my favorite seasons. Walking down a tree-canopied street lined with Georgian houses with a cup of tea in hand is one of the most relaxing things you can do.
Layering is the order of the day in the fall. If you’re a woman, wear jeans and a button-down shirt. You can also wear a dress with leggings and a sweater and a light jacket. With a pair of fitted jeans or trousers, wear a sweater over a button-down.
From September to November, temperatures are usually between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, accompanied by rain. The rainy season begins in autumn and lasts for 9-10 months until summer. When you aren’t wearing a raincoat, you should pack an umbrella in your daypack.
London Packing List Summer:
It’s a great time of year to be outside with all the tourists that visit London at this time of year. Summers in London last from June through August, with temperatures reaching 60°F to 75°F.
- Ballet flats that are nice
- Summer sandals that are comfortable and stylish
- Jacket made of leather
- If it will be sunny, wear a jersey skirt and dress.
- Think about layering if it’s windy
- Protect yourself from the sun with a light scarf and sunscreen
- Cardigan made of light material
London Packing List Winter:
Winters in London are milder than in many other places, so warm waterproof clothing is essential between December and February.
- Jacket with warnings
- Wear sweater dresses with leggings
- Knit sweaters are a must-pack
- Boots that are water-resistant
- Layering thermals
- Keep your feet warm by packing extra socks
- Leggings with wool lining
- Scarf, gloves, and hat to keep you warm
- Using chapstick
London Packing List Spring:
The weather can vary wildly during a single day, so pack for almost any type of weather when visiting London in spring (March and April).
- Boots for ankles
- If you plan to wear dresses or skirts in different weather conditions, pack layers to wear underneath
- It is a very rainy place, so pack waterproofs, boots, jackets, and compact umbrellas.
- Be sure to pack a raincoat (and rainboots if necessary)
- An evening out in ballet flats
- Cardigan looks nice
London Packing List Fall:
(Fall in London occurs from September through November when the temperature ranges from 55°F to 65°F. It’s also the rainiest time of year, so plan accordingly.)
- Toned earthy
- Hats that keep you warm
- Boots for the ankle
- An attractive raincoat
- Knitted sweater in a chunky pattern
- A scarf that keeps you warm
- Dresses or skirts with leggings
In London, women usually wear dark jeans and a nice blouse, cozy, oversized sweaters, leggings, and knee-high boots, or cardigans and dresses with tights and flats.
London, however, does not have dress codes. The exceptions are the most expensive restaurants and the opening night of the opera. Most people keep their clothes simple/comfortable while working in some industries. The dress code is casual – no shorts or capris.
A pair of shorts isn’t too cold to wear in London. In the city, I probably wore shorts 80% of the time during my 5 months on ‘gardening leave’ last year. The previous poster suggested that you will look like a tourist no matter what, so you might as well wear whatever you want.
London is still a city where you can wear jeans despite Europeans dressing up more than Americans. Opt for medium-dark blues and blacks rather than acid wash and extremely distressed denim.
Conclusion: What to Wear in London:
We have learned a lot about what to wear in London, so let’s summarize it.
- With a travel backpack of the appropriate size, you can only take carry-on luggage.
- It is essential to wear layers unless you are visiting during the heat of the summer.
- A rain jacket or umbrella should be kept in your daypack just in case the weather changes.
- It’s not necessary to spend a fortune on top designer brands, but you should look neat and well-composed.
- Don’t forget a comfortable pair of shoes.