How to dress like an English girl

After living in London for about 8 months of my life, I feel like I am now allowed to make a few assessments of what I’ve come across in the world of English fashion. While I may not be a fashion expert, I do consider myself an observant person. And for a further disclaimer, I love English fashion and wish I was much more stylish and daring.

Here are 7 ways to dress like an English girl:

1) Wear black tights (with pretty much everything)


If you’re planning to visit London in any month with an R in it, you should load your suitcase up with black tights. British girls love wearing tights with dresses, skirts, shorts…. pretty much anything that would naturally show your legs. It took me a while to get used to the shorts and tights look, but I really like it now.

2) Red lipstick is a must

Source: Getty

Maybe I just associate red lipstick with my old ballet performances, but English girls love wearing it every day. This varies from person to person, but I love riding on the tube on a Friday evening and seeing people all dressed up and sporting their red rouge.  I can’t think of any of my American friends who do this.

3) Sheer shirts/dresses are all over


Right before I left for Europe, this style was starting to become really popular in Chapel Hill (my sister, Anna, pointed this out to me). Sheer clothes are all over London right now, whether it be a dress, shirt, etc. It’s especially popular among the business suit crowd, which I find cool. Just make sure you’re wearing the right undergarments.

4) Buy a tailored blazer


British girls are all about wearing blazers over causal clothing. It’s cute with jeans on a night out or over dresses. It dresses up an outfit in a really surprising way without looking too “Annie Hall.” Confession: I broke down and bought a decently-priced blazer at H&M yesterday because I really like this style.

5) Combat-style Boots are year-round musts


After traveling around Europe for a while, I’ve learned that there is a very easy way to tell where a person is from: their shoes. This is not a joke. Americans are typically the easiest to spot because we prefer comfort over style (this is a broad generalization, but again, usually true. American tourists love wearing sneakers or hiking boots.) With English girls, they’re all about their boots, especially combat boots. They’ll wear these with pretty much everything and pull it off with style. They’re also practical because the leather wards off the rainy London showers.

6) White tennis shoes (or “trainers”) are in


To continue my commentary about shoes, English girls are all about all-white “trainers.” They have to be exceptionally clean (no stains) and they are often worn with shorts (see above). I’ve noticed this much more among teenagers, but it’s still a common style.

7) Dyed hair is the norm


While dying your hair isn’t necessarily connected to any nationality, British girls are all about bottle-dyed hair. The main two colors you’ll see on the streets are bleach blonde (close to white) and a ruby red color. For this reason, it seems that the girls with dyed hair prefer that you know they dye it, rather than choosing a more natural, neutral color. (Once I’ve mentioned this, you’ll see it everywhere).

Sooooo…. go ahead, “get the London look”

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4 Responses to How to dress like an English girl

  1. jtobin5 says:

    The funny thing is, I’ve seen a ton of these same fashions in Russia too! I think a lot of these are a European thing 🙂

  2. Cathy says:

    Enjoyed this. When I was in London (100 years ago or so), I began to walk from my hotel to Harrods in my tennis shoes. Literally everyone I passed along the way was wearing either black or brown shoes or boots. I went back to my room and promptly put on my black flats.

  3. Tiny says:

    I am Swiss and I think what you wrote could basically be aplied to Switzerland, too… Maybe it`s just a thing about Europe in general?
    But when I was in Britain (London and various parts of Scotland) I did realize that even though the styles were similar, the British generally dress just bit more edgy and their dresses and shorts are in general quiet a bit shorter=)

    • Colleen V says:

      Thanks for responding to my blog post! That’s very interesting that so many style trends seem to carry across Europe (and the rest of the world). I’d love to check out Swiss fashion in the future :).

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