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The Best London Travel Wardrobe

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I admit it - I am an over-packer. I'm not sure why since I tend to wear like the same 4 things at home all week. But, tell me I have to live out of a suitcase and suddenly I need that top I haven't worn in 2 years and probably doesn't even fit me. But, JUST IN CASE I feel like wearing it, I put it in the "Pack" pile 😂

This has caused, no, FORCED me to simplify my travel wardrobe. First of all, I am not going to be walking the runway in London Fashion Week. Second, nobody in London knows me (well, I DO know a few people and actually randomly ran into a friend at a bakery once), but wandering around the city, generally no one knows me. And, third, there are really not a lot of fashion rules. If you would wear it to the grocery store at home, you can wear it in London. There are a FEW exceptions like fancy restaurants and some events, but generally, casual clothing is going to be JUST FINE.

There are things Londoners tend to wear that are different from what we Americans wear and vice versa. But, there are also many, many things that we BOTH wear and the difference is going to be minimal. In the Summer, you will see women in London sporting gorgeous summer dresses with white trainers. It's not a look you always see in the US, but I see it all over London.

A woman in a summer dress

That being said. I also see shorts and capri pants. What you don't see AS OFTEN is extremely short shorts - the kind where your cheeks are almost hanging out.

Dresses can be of varying lengths although a lot tend to hit closer to the knee or below. There is possibly a really good reason for this (as American women tend to wear much shorter dresses at times). The tube can get REALLY WINDY. And, if your dress is too short, you risk it flying over your head when a tube train approaches or as you are leaving a station. It's a practical thing more than anything else. You can grab a longer dress much easier when the tube wind (or London wind - which also happens a lot) hits.

Other than the dresses, there isn't a lot of difference in the way Londoners and tourists dress. So, wear what you are comfortable in. If you'd like to pick up a beautiful Summer dress, check out Marks and Spencer. They will have a good selection at a great price. Sizing will be different so google for UK/US women's sizes.

So, what does my travel wardrobe look like and what is the best London travel wardrobe?

It's largely black or navy pants and t-shirts or other light-weight shirts. I never take jeans because they are heavy and hard to wash in the sink. And, I think in terms of layers and comfort - both in wearing the clothes and the temperature of the clothes. It's easy to keep layering on things you can remove when necessary, but hard to deal with a single heavy sweater on the Central Line tube train where the temperature seems to be a permanent 80 degrees year-round.

I also take 2 pair of walking shoes. Each will fit and rub your feet a different way so you want to be able to alternate them if one starts rubbing somewhere. I also take one pair of nicer shoes (or sandals) for dressing up a bit. Flip flops aren't seen that often in London and really aren't practical for walking 10-12 miles a day on sometimes uneven surfaces. Same with shoes like Birkenstock sandals that just slip on. Your feet may get tired of trying to keep them on. And, leave your Crocs at home. They really are rarely seen in London and scream TOURIST! The key is to blend in. Thieves can spot tourists and that's who they target since they know you're likely to have cash on you.

So, these are my favorite travel pants for Spring and Summer LINK. I am about 5'6" and

A pair of pants

they hit me at the ankles. I roll them up twice for a capri look. They are lightweight stretchy material that washes in the sink easily and dries overnight.

For longer pants in the Fall and Winter or for pants that can be dressed up a bit, I take these LINK

a pair of pants

The TALL inseam seems short, but it's actually not. At 5'6" they are long pants on me. They are also made of lightweight stretchy material that washes and dries easily.

I also have some lightweight joggers I got at Sam's Club. They have a stretchy cuff at the ankle. It's a more casual look.

For my tops, I take a lot (yes, too many) of non-graphic t-shirts. They can be dressed up with a sweater and jewelry. They can easily be a bottom layer for colder weather. You can find them with collars or buttons or puffy sleeves and they can be crammed into a suitcase and not wrinkle. LINK to a selection. If you tend to be warm, look for shirts with a high percentage of cotton in the fabric. Some swear by merino wool to keep you cool and dry and they reportedly don't get smelly. LINK And, speaking of smelly. Panty liners will help you wear your pants more days. If you know, you know......

As for shoes, you can see my picks HERE on my Travel Gear page. DO understand that you will walk A LOT - like more than you probably have on any given day in your life. Your feet WILL SWELL so sometime sandals aren't that great. If they fit at home around town, they will rub on your toes when your feet start to swell. This is a case of comfort over fashion - which is why women in London wear trainers (tennis shoes) with their dresses and not cute flats or sandals.

Hopefully this helps you with your travel wardrobe. Start with the basics and then add a blazer or some jewelry to dress up the basics. Coordinate it all around a couple of neutral colors like black, blue or brown. And, keep it all lightweight for the sake of your suitcase and the sake of that moment when you realize you have nothing clean and are washing it in a hotel room sink. And, speaking of that. I always take these little travel packets with me. Regular hand soap or shampoo just doesn't cut it when it comes to getting fabric clean. LINK

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