Last week I went on a weeklong excursion to London to explore the rainy city post-Olympics, as well as do some shopping as London is home to some of my (and Vera’s) favorite shopping destinations! Here are some of my favorite attractions in the city, best places to shop and of course, what I wore!
Favorite shopping areas:
Soho – Soho, particularly around Carnaby Street, has some amazing stores which I loved not only for the merchandise but also for how it is displayed and how the stores are designed.
Benefit’s store, designed like a sweets diner, is too sweet to skip out on!
Some other favorites were Dahlia, which had a gorgeous mix of girly with London punk, Fornarina, whose store had an amazing liquid staircase, and Lazy Oaf, which displayed sunglasses on skull lamps.
Notting Hill – This neighborhood has shopping destinations which offer very unique pieces. From the famous Portobello Road market on Sundays to vintage shops that sell amazing treasures, this is a great destination for one of a kind items.
Primark – Vera and my guilty pleasure, this store sells the trendiest clothes, shoes, bags and accessories for ridiculous prices. The biggest one in town is located on Oxford Street; our advice is to get there as the store opens, it gets really busy and crowded very early and the lines to the fitting rooms get impossibly long. As you can see, my friends and I went a little crazy!
Camden – This northern London neighborhood is home to a multitude of markets, thrift and vintage stores that offer trendy and unique items for very good prices. Camden is known for its goth population and punky bars, so here you’re sure to encounter crazy platforms and spikes on everything.
Art for the Soul:
The amazing thing about London is its museums are free, except for some temporary exhibits, so it’s absolutely a must to visit and see what’s on.
I love visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum every time I’m in town, it has extensive art collections and impressive architecture.
Now on display is a very cool Ball gowns exhibit showing gowns from the 19th century throughout the ages, and contemporary gowns by some amazing and influential designers.
Another very cool exhibit currently on display at the V&A: innovations in furniture. My favorite piece was a chair made by fashion designer Issey Miyake from leftover fabric rolls from his garment designs.
Exhibition Road, on which the V&A Museum is located, is now hosting an outdoor sculpture exhibition featuring works by acclaimed British sculptor Tony Cragg. It was very interesting to see how the crowds interacted with the artwork.
The Tate Modern always showcases amazing pieces by the most influential contemporary artists; Now on display is a special exhibit by British artist Damien Hirst. Some of my favorites at the museum were a sculpture by Marisa Merz which, although it was constructed out of aluminum plates, is somehow so organic and “alive” and reminded me of floating sea creatures.
Other works that I particularly liked were pieces that incorporated video art and installation to create unique thought-provoking effects.
The British Museum is a must-visit even just for its architecture. The museum’s inner court roof was designed by Foster and Partners in 2000 and is absolutely awe-inspiring not just in itself but in the dialogue it creates between old and new architecture and in the beautiful natural lighting that is created in the space.
Favorite unexpected event
Notting Hill Carnival took place on the weekend of August 25th; the event was like one huge street party that included dancing, music, African drums and a very festive parade. The beer was cheap and the atmosphere was jolly!
What I Wore
“Chic Tourist” outfit – For travelling to any urban destination around the world, my motto is to keep it comfortable but never neglect the chic! I wore stretch skinny jeans, a light loose blouse and a jacket in case it got chilly. I wore moccasins which are very comfortable to walk in all day, but are also chic and classy. I kept it interesting by accessorizing with a pearl bib necklace and pink lipstick.
Day to Evening outfit – When exploring around a big city all day you must be prepared for anything. The best idea is to wear an outfit you can transform from day casual to a more evening look. I wore a high waisted black skirt with a loose green blouse, opaque tights, and moccasins. I made the outfit cool for day or night by wearing a print scarf and a rope and gold necklace.
For drinks on a chilly evening I added a fur vest.
Rainy Day outfit – Even in August London is very rainy and at times chilly; the best idea is to wear layers you can take off when going indoors or on the underground, and put back on when strolling outside. I wore a loose long sleeved T-shirt with a print skirt, tights and leather booties. I piled on the layers with my fur vest and warm jacket.
Vera’s favorite London outfit- Vera worked her layered look in layered tops, striped knit cardigan, miniskirt worn with tights, leather booties, scarf, and layered necklaces.
Don’t forget to take your camera and an umbrella!
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