It’s no secret that here at Literally, Darling, we love to travel. So, now that it’s officially summertime — and since we’ve never been able to shake the school-age summer vacation craving — it’s time to get planning a little holiday or two. And, seeing as we’re also more than a little bit obsessed with the art of a great outfit, it seemed natural that our fashion writers would put their nogs together to formulate a quick reference guide to some of the most stylish cities in the world: from Australia to England, Germany and stay-cations here in the good ol’ US of A. Each of these cities has a distinct sartorial soul, so we’ve also thrown in some tips for fitting in with the locals. You’re welcome, darlings!
Oxford may not be one of the style capitals of the world, but its inhabitants sure do know a thing about the art of curating an brilliantly eclectic outfit. Think preppy tailoring mixed up under a mountain of thrift-store pendants and scarves, zany patterns meeting clean lines, and of course, the staple: the Oxford shoe. Summertime brings the sartorially savvy students out in droves, sipping drinks out of plastic cups on picnic rugs on green lawns. And as far as tourism is concerned, every nook and cranny is begging to be explored: artsy coffee shops installed in Tudor townhouses, winding cobblestone streets, and bookshops with trinkets practically spilling out onto the pavement. Bring all your clothes and throw on any combination—just keep your shoes flat because you’ll be walking everywhere.
We all know LA is full of style mavens, but its little cousin down the road is arguably better. As expected, this temperate paradise equals a definite surfer vibe, but there’s an element of edgy, off-handed cool that goes hand-in-hand with this. Even the heat is “cool;” it’s never ferociously hot, even in the high summer. Ergo, people waif around in sandals and straw hats, wispy dresses and casual denim layers that can be pulled on when the sun drops behind the horizon at dusk. San Diego folk make “effortless” seem, well, effortless; this isn’t a stiletto heel and lipstick kind of town, by any means. We recommend roaming through breathtaking Balboa Park by day, and finding a bit of grub and a cocktail or two in the Gaslamp District by night. Or just hit the beach. Don a pair of aviators, skinny jeans, natural hair, and some quirky shoes, and you’ll be golden.
Perhaps it is not Paris, but London’s equal parts modern Sloane Ranger (think fitted blazer, rolled cuff capris, colorful heel, artful necklace, designer bag or simultaneously the “I just stepped off my ancient estate so here’s my country-wear that has never seen sheep shit even once”), punk fashion couture, ode to boho, and “I can make black tights work with every single outfit,” makes its style distinctly unique. There’s nothing better than sitting at an outdoor cafe in Marylebone and watching the non-tourist outfits go by. Another favorite is Paddington Station at rush hour as the herds commute in to the city from Reading and the outer-zones. For a huge city renowned for its less than pleasurable weather (how do you make rain fashionable?) and somewhat chilly, but temperate climates, London fashion has to combat the bleakness and simultaneously survive the Underground, rain, wind, and uneven pavement. I love London fashion for its merciless combo of style, function, and “Oh God REALLY?”
If asked to describe Berlin in one word, there is no hesitation: Cool. Berlin is hands down the coolest place you will ever visit. By that I mean it has an indifferent nonchalance and quite frankly, Berlin doesn’t give a damn about what you think! Independent boutiques line the streets, open until late at night, selling clothes that could be for guys or girls, who knows? Androgyny is the theme of the city, with loosely tailored outfits in muted colours, sharp haircuts and flawless, natural complexions.
Simple white t-shirts, loose fitting slacks, black, black, black. Head to toe black. Oh, how I love an entirely black outfit. It just screams tortured artist, boho beatnik, maybe even just “I don’t have time to separate my whites and colours, because I’m a busy Berliner, so let’s make this simple, shall we?”
They are a city obsessed with sunglasses, and we’re currently spotting lots of perfectly rounded, wire rimmed styles. Heaven forbid you should have to make eye contact with anybody, and how else are you supposed to hide your bleary eyes after another night of partying in Kreuzberg?
People still read paperbacks on the underground trains, not just stare aimlessly at their phones. If they aren’t sat in coffee shops or grungy bars with a dog eared novel and a cigarette, Berliners are most likely to be found stomping around the city at all hours of the day and night, on their way to dance, drink, eat and laugh. This really is a city that never sleeps. The bars and clubs are open late, like really late, and the people of the city party until the wee hours of the morning, catching the u-bahn home just in time for a power nap and a quick shower before they’re racing to work in their black Nikes. The bars and clubs themselves are majoritively abandoned buildings where somebody flung a few tables and chairs, lit several candles and started selling booze. Give the right mood and the right music, this is actually the perfect formula for an awesome bar.
It’s all very casual, and like I think I may have mentioned, just all very cool.
Melbourne is a playground for fashion and is arguably the most fashionable city in Australia. From sleek and modern to casual and comfortable, everyone molds current trends to fit their own style. No matter where you’re walking or dining, it’s inevitable you’ll see at least a few outfits that will make you swoon (or, if you’re like me, think, “She looks so trendy, could I pull that off?!”). After living in Melbourne while studying abroad, I grew to admire the variety of styles all over the city and its surrounding neighborhoods. The CBD was trendy and often heavy on neutral shades. My neighborhood, Fitzroy, varied from grunge and vintage to sleek and hip, dominated by dark colors with pops of vibrancy.
In true Aussie style, Melbourne’s fashion is straightforward. Whether it’s an all-black ensemble or a multi-patterned mashup, they know how to look effortlessly put together. Fall and winter months are primetime for layers, oversized chunky sweaters and scarves, knit hats, and black or bold boots/booties. While warmer days feature short dresses, graphic tees, and lightweight layers and hats. Year-round, sunnies and large bags are easy ways to accessorize while still being totally practical. The ultimate key to fashion in Melbourne? Invest in everything black– black jeans, black booties, black tops, black jackets. You can never own too much black in this city.
If you ever get a chance to visit Melbourne, remember: layer up, you can’t go wrong wearing all black, don’t be afraid to mix patterns, and wear things you feel like yourself in. So maybe I’m a little biased when I say Melbourne is the most fashionable city in Australia (it totally is), but can you blame me? The city made me feel trendy on a daily basis!
When thinking of fashionable cities, the Big Apple is always at the top of my list. New York’s street style can be a mixture of sporty and chic, but never boring. The outfits of the attendees of NY Fashion Week are just as highly anticipated as the new collections that debut on the runways. The streets of NYC have borne and showcased some of the greatest fashion icons: Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Edie Sedgwick, and “Sex and the City,” to name a few. NY fashionistas know the importance of a timeless, classic silhouette, yet aren’t afraid to push boundaries. And don’t think that polished is a code word for stuffy or buttoned-up!