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© The Outnet
© The Outnet
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What to Wear for a Summer of Exploring in London

Picture of India Doyle
Updated: 4 August 2017
A summer in London promises nothing if not the possibility of adventure, with an endless array of things to explore day and night. For those looking to make the most of hot days and balmy nights in the city, functionality and style need to come together seamlessly; versatility is key, and the art of layering is yours to master. Whether you’re a foodie, theatre-buff, art lover or fashion-obsessive, Culture Trip has partnered with The Outnet to bring you a complete guide to dressing for adventure in London.

Cultural cool

London is filled to the brim with culture, and with so much on offer you’ll struggle to take it all in – a versatile outfit is key, from sashaying seamlessly from a day exploring Soul of a Nation at Tate Modern, to catching Ben Whishaw in Against at North London’s Almeida Theatre. It’s about understated dressing with all the right notes of ‘cool’; channel statement details and stick to glam staples for the most powerful cultural punch. Jumpsuits from Helmut Lang and Stella McCartney provide flawless, stylish base levels to accessorise over, with statement pieces such as Antik Batik’s beaded suede shoulder bag. With so much to see you’ll find you’re always on the move, which is where dreamy sneakers from Nike and Tory Burch become essential. Complete the look with a stand-out necklace and voila, the cultural world is yours to discover.

Wild nights

A night in the city promises some of the most unforgettable experiences of all and outfits should be planned accordingly. Summer nights mean starting with cocktails at Chotto Matte or Ham Yard Hotel in Soho to locate yourself in the heart of the action. Thanks to 80s revivals and the comeback of colour, more is more when it comes to evening style and you should embrace individual flair. The evening may see you dabble with disco in Dalston, enjoy a night of revelry in Chelsea, head high to the rooftops of Franks in Peckham or ensconced in cosy restaurants up north but wherever London takes you, make sure your outfit is as full of spirit and good vibes as you are.

Urban jungle

Thanks to the wealth of green spaces in and around the city, London is a city full of natural texture. With the sun shining, there’s no better excuse to get out into the open air and soak in the heady perfumes of wild grasses and splendid exotic flowers. With green as the colour of the year, and florals fully in style you can easily embrace urban camouflage. Think appliqué tops courtesy of Anna Sui and brocade pants from designers such as Emilio Pucci: the more texture the better. If you’re looking for a full day of exploration, head to Kew Gardens for Instagram heaven, or take a stroll past the palace through Green Park and St James Park. Transition into a wild evening and head up to London’s best green rooftop bars, we recommend the garden at Shoreditch’s The Culpeper or Netil 360 in Dalston.

Fashion foodie

From pizza to pak choi and mango lassis, to Västerbotten tart, there’s nothing the adventurous food-lover can’t find in London. But for the fashionable foodie, the London supper club is undoubtedly where it’s at. Dress up in this season’s most eye-catching metallics and go and check out the host of residencies and pop ups around the city: Carousel in Marylebone hosts innovative chefs from around the world, while the edgier fashion foodies such head over to Last Days of Shoreditch, where chef of the moment, Ben Spalding, is currently in residency.

During the day, lunch at Sexy Fish in Mayfair or head to Rose Street Bakery in Dover Street Market for a slice of green-tea cake. Spend the night in the company of Olafur Eliasson tapestries and perfect Nordic cuisine at Aquavit or head west to Colbert in Chelsea, perfect after watching Road at Royal Court theatre. During the weekends, brunch at Sunday in North London (worth the queue), Honey & Co. or Berners Tavern if you’re based centrally or Anderson & Co if you’re south. A trip to Borough market is also essential and at weekends, Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey is an in-the-know gem – pick up a doughnut from St John’s Bakery for the ultimate sweet treat.

Designer discovery

As any fashion lover knows, shopping in London is all about discovering the hidden boutiques and getting your hands on emerging designers (for which the city is famous) before anybody else. Browsing is a marathon, not a sprint, and you need to ensure your outfit endures for as long as you do. Pound the pavements around Bond Street for your pick of the best boutiques and press refresh your shopping game with a 15-minute facial at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge. East Londoners should explore the über exclusive LN:CC or stop by Goodhood for some designer treasures. If in West London, trawl the best of London’s antique and second hand stalls at Portobello Market in Notting Hill. A statement look will set a strong precedent for finding investment pieces to treasure, and ensure that even if you leave empty-handed, you’ll still feel fabulous.

The any-weather adventurer

Sometimes London in the summer disappoints, but rainy weather shouldn’t curb your enthusiasm for exploration. Keep it simple by mixing neutral tones with a splash of colour, and spend an afternoon discovering beautiful artworks and textiles at the V&A, or cosy up with a decadent afternoon tea at Ham Yard Hotel. Literary lovers can venture through the archives of the British Library or browse in Daunt Books. For a hidden gem, stop by the Wallace Collection and then brave a short sprint through the rain to Chiltern Street where you can pick up delicious snacks at the Monocle Café, or soak up the glamorous surroundings of Chiltern Street Firehouse.