Things I’ve learnt – fashion

I much prefer the high street shopping experience in England. Which we’ve lost in Sydney, being overrun by mega shopping centres. Not that London doesn’t have mega-complexes. 

From the outside, London Westfields was the same concrete windowless behemoth as any Australian Westfields. Inside, I was lost in a time-space vortex. Felt I could have been at any Westfields in Australia.  Same shops! Same outlets!  (Though the London Westfields was a reverse Tardis – looked larger on the outside than it did on the inside!)

I had hoped for more difference in fashion. Yes, we access online shopping. And yes, the trends are global. And yes, many clothes are made in the same factories in China.  Still … One can hope. 

But there’s definite regional differences out on the street. 

I have never seen so much black, grey and khaki as on the streets of London.  Look at the people on Piccadilly. 


And on the Tube. 


OK, maybe I need to come back when everyone is not in their coats?

I would still say Australians dress more colourfully. I know that those from south-east Queensland dress more colourfully than Sydneysiders. But by golly, Sydneysiders are peacocks to the residents and tourists of London. 

Still it is heartening or soul destroying (depending on your view) to note that I saw manky teenagers who could slip right into Blacktown. 

14 thoughts on “Things I’ve learnt – fashion

  1. That made me giggle. When we moved to Sydney I was shocked (impressed, but shocked) at the amount of colour. It was so noticeable compare to Melbourne, which really is black, grey and khaki. Some weeks I’d go to a store in Melbourne and the entire rack would be different sizes of black. Then we’d fly back to Sydney and the same chain would have the same garment in aqua, orange and turquoise. I think it’s related to climate. I’m trying to introduce colours in my wardrobe but it feels so unusual.

  2. Our basic work ‘uniform’ tends to centre around black and grey. It is easy to wear and you do not have to get up in the morning and think too much! Maybe it reflects the drab English winters or maybe people here have an inbuilt horror of standing out too much in a crowd – we are a relatively reserved lot after all we are still polite enough to queue and stand to one side on the escalators!

    • Yes, I think it is reserve. I wore a top with sequins when I was in London and got so many comments from people. One lady in the Savoy stopped me to say how beautiful it was. The response to my reply showed how different our perspectives are. My reply: “I love sequins. No one seems to wear them in London. Lots of people do in Australia. But then we’re loud and brash.” She said, “Oh don’t say that about yourself.” Too funny. I see being brash as good – lively, feisty, confident. She obviously saw it as self-critical.

      Yesterday on the scorcher of a day, I stepped out with a large pink handbag to match the flowers on my dress. (The dress was bought in London.) Sunglasses were a large white and bone Prada number. I did look more spring like than autumn, but it was hot. In winter I do wear deeper colours and black. But black looks so wrong in the sun and when it’s over 25°.

      That’s the other thing I noticed. When it was sunny and glarey in London, no one wore sunglasses. I won’t go anywhere without them and own over a dozen pairs for different outfits and purposes.

  3. Even though I’m not actually in Melbourne, I’m there frequently enough to confirm that black is in fact the only black, and any other colour is a complete travesty. Luckily, I’m the kind of blonde that black suits. Damn shame about the dog hairs.

    • A Sydney response: Melbournites think they’re so cool but they’re just drab and boring.

      And go patterns. They hide dog hair better. Not that I have a dog but when my hair is long it moults. And blonde hair stands out on black clothes, prompting everyone to either “help” me by pointing it out.

      • I worked in Melbourne for three months a few years ago, and I had a bright red winter coat. I used to feel like a tropical bird walking down Collins Street to catch the train.

  4. I definitely associate black and grey with all big cities – at least in colder climates. I think we believe it is understated, sophisticated, mysterious, and slimming. Where I live, if you wore several items in bright colours, there would be jokes like, “Are you leaving on vacation?” or “Are you trying to cheer yourself up?” One bright item is OK. Any more is beachwear.

  5. Yep, one of my teenage memories of London is ‘they wear so much black – I’d have a bold coloured coat if I lived here’. Naturally, at 21, I wore my black wool coat more than my blue wet weather anorak. As you well know – lots of blues in my wardrobe before blacks 😀

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