Only two weeks to go before the kickoff of the London Summer Olympics and the buzz is only heating up. It's been a smashing year for the metropolis, what with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee—the saucy lady, a.k.a. the Queen, is still on tour, most recently in Birmingham's city center—and the enduring popularity of the Middleton sisters. With all eyes on the city in the coming days, prep your wardrobe for the sporting contests ahead and for some shameless Brit-loving.
London's young designers, many of them Central Saint Martins graduates, have been pushing the envelope the last few years. Take advantage of the local flavor, and try some riskier combinations like this Topshop floral print jacket cut into a classic bomber shape ($96) paired with summery mint jeans by Reiss ($85), a Kate Middleton favorite. The high street scene is alive and well—we like this location-appropriate London print tee— found at River Island ($24). On your feet, keep soles comfortable in trendy wedge sneakers by Ash ($235), available in several color combinations, that have been popular with models on both sides of the pond. Toss all your day's wares into a classic satchel bag, revved up in a sassy patent baby blue, by the Cambridge Satchel Company ($165.70).
As the sun sets over the Thames, take in London Bridge or the impressive Tate Modern in a Duchess of Cambridge-inspired outfit. Kate the Great loves her lace, and we recommend trying a version in red, blue, or soft white (colors of the Queen Jubilee, of course) like this Whistles "Victoria" frock ($288.75). In recent years, Kurt Geiger has become an insider fashion favorite. Good thing his online shop ships around the world, then. These platform heels with pearl accents add both British quirk and royal polish ($185). Speaking of royalty, nothing quite says English court style quite like the fascinator. Debenhams has plenty of options such as this navy style with feather detailing ($47). Lastly, the finishing touches: a gorgeous Charlotte Olympia Perspex clutch featuring the Union Jack ($965). Out of your price range? Go for this Alexander McQueen rose gold skull ring then, ringing in at $149.
With dapper style, British gents, especially in East London where the Olympics are held, are from rumpled. Instead, look for tweaks on the classics. This Topman sweatshirt ($60) is dressed up in tartan plaid and contrast sleeves. Layer over a USA Olympics tee ($22.95) for team spirit. Both will go nicely with easy chinos ($75.39) by British favorite Ben Sherman, which look especially good rolled up just above the ankle. Pair with plimsolls, Britspeak for a casual shoe with canvas upper and rubber sole, such as these sun-faded sneaks by Jack & Jones ($66.28). Grab a cheeky tote, like this Union Jack version ($24.99), for stashing souvenirs.
To turn heads at night, look no further than James Bond as your muse. Guys can easily get the look by taking note from the city's Savile Row. London label Ted Baker has nicely turned out suits and summery linen sport-jackets ($599). Wear with a whimsical Paul Smith pink check shirt ($150) and a pair of jeans ($49.90 at Uniqlo) to keep things more casual. For a dandy splurge, invest in these Church's brogues ($1,170) or this pocket square by 007 outfitter Turnbull & Asser ($95).
What to Do
For an escape from the Olympics crowds, take a stroll through picturesque Victoria Park. After, check out nearby White Cube gallery at Hoxton Square, exhibiting Antony Gormely's figurative yet Cubist sculptures until September 15. Once you've worked up an appetite, you'll be happy to discover that East London has been the breeding ground for plenty of good eats. For rustic fare, check out Frizzante at Hackney City Farm, where the Thursday Agriturismo menu—inspired by the Italian farmers opening up their houses for supper—is a scene-stealer. The menu changes each time, but recently featured seasoned, traditionally reared lamb and baked artichoke head with broad beans.
Want something of a scene? Bistrotheque on Wadeson Street is still cool. The warehouse space serves up great dishes like leek, celeriac, and potato pie, ray wing with brown butter and capers, and pork belly with caramelized chicory.
The Olympics also means big tourist business, so be on the lookout for intriguing deals or not-your-usual set ups. London has a proven knack for getting boutique hotels just right. Example: The Boundary, a converted late Victorian warehouse, with three restaurants and a very hip rooftop bar is high on both style and service.
Thinking of a trip to London?
For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, as well as the best planning advice, check out our London Travel Guide.
Photo Credits: Women: Top left, REISS; Bottom left, asos.com Ltd.; Center, River Island; Right, Topshop; Top left, Debenhams Retail plc; Bottom left, NET-A-PORTER.com; Center, Whistles; Top right, Kurt Geiger; Bottom right, Alexander McQueen. Men: Top left, Topman; Bottom left, asos.com Ltd.; Center top, TeamFanShop, Inc.; Center bottom, Amazon.com; Right, asos.com Ltd.; Left, Ted Baker Limited; Left center, Paul Smith; Right center, Uniqlo Co., Ltd.; Top right, MRPORTER; Bottom right, MRPORTER