London is trying to snatch the reigns from Paris and I think it has a pretty good chance. From small private boutiques to big commercial giants, the fashion is unapologetic in its beauty and uniqueness.
I went into the flagship TopShop at Oxford Circus soon after arriving and I was overwhelmed. Aside from the fact that the massive commercial retail store has a nail bar and a cafe, the quantity of clothes on its racks was beyond me and the items I could afford — nearly nonexistent. I did give in and buy a pair of balloon pants for 35 pounds or $58. I also got two pairs of gorgeous heels in colors I don’t already have (hunter green and navy suede) from a shop on Portobello Road for 35 pounds. But while the shopping was great I enjoyed just checking out the fashions on everyone else.
Inspiration for fashion can come from anywhere (hello Season Four Project Runway) and my favorite place to people watch for inspiration is on public transportation so it’s no surprise that I saw most of my London style icons in the tube. The beauty of the tube is that you will see people going to Parliament for work as well as fashion students, like Charles. I met him in the Earl’s Court station on his way to a big fashion party for his school. Being in London made me appreciate that San Francisco gets a little cold in the winter so that I can mimic some of the styles I’ve seen over here.
One woman rushing down the street wearing a grand wrap with leggings, a loose tunic and ankle boots got away from me. I couldn’t get a photo on time (she was probably walking so fast because it was COLD). But she reminded me of a woman in the Mission that I’d seen a few months ago, also sporting a grand wrap in the most sophisticated way (main photo). London and San Francisco may be thousands of miles apart but their styles transcend distance. And though many people in London don’t know very much about the Bay Area (Mission District what?), the love for vintage, outside vendors, high-end boutiques (I think I spotted a woman wearing a Prairie Underground ruffled hoodie) and just a damn good time—it’s very Mission District chic.