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What to wear to London in Early May

My wife and I will be traveling to London the first week of May and I was curious to know what types of clothes to bring. I know jeans are an obvious choice, but what about shirts? For men, do you suggest polo-type shirts, long-sleeve shirts, t-shirts, or a combination of all three. I know it is a rather stupid question, I just was wondering what the travelers or locals on here suggest.

Posted by
2526 posts

So you are asking total strangers for advice and I will NEVER win a style award for my wardrobe. All my clothes are clean, in great condition and basically boring. Jeans? Never. A combination of quick drying long and short sleeve shirts and a light sweater, plus a jacket. If subject to being chilly in moderate weather, tuck in a lightweight soft merino wool t-shirt or two.

Posted by
10954 posts

Layers. We were there in early May two years ago and most days we were cold. While it was sunny, it was often windy. Polo + Sweater + warmish jacket.

Posted by
3551 posts

Layering and a vest is a gd idea with waterproof outer layer.
Polo shirts are easier to wash.

Posted by
31116 posts

I've lived here for ages and don't own a pair of jeans so I'm not sure that jeans are an obvious choice.

But then a lot of people do wear them, some even to work.

It could snow in May. It could sleet in May. It could be a heat wave - after all there is the Early May Bank Holiday when it is guaranteed to rain unless it doesn't. If it is above 20C or 70F there will be a photo on the front of The Sun (what passes for a paper unless you are in Liverpool) of bathing suit clad girls or young women eating ice creams by the seaside.

I've seen all of those weathers in early May. Bring layers and wear as many as you need or don't need. Don't worry about air-conditioning.

Posted by
1316 posts

I've been in London in early May the past 3 years. I'd suggest bringing all 3 tops. I almost always stick to jeans, but I"m not a carry on only type nor do I do laundry in a hotel room.

I usually bring a couple of button downs, a few solid color tshirts that I'd either wear under the button downs or by themselves should the weather turn warm. I'll bring one or two very light sweaters, they're almost like a long sleeve t shirt. And, then bring a couple of polos. In addition, I bring a fleece zip up. That's served me well. I bring a pair of black shoes that are paired with a black belt, I look for shoes that are nicer than sneakers, but are just as comfortable for lots of walking.

Most of my UK trips are about 14 days, so there's laundry done in the middle. I used zip jet last time, they picked up the laundry and then returned it the next day.

Posted by
3948 posts

The trouble with blue jeans isn't social acceptability, it's that they are heavy to pack and slow to dry if laundered. I like knit polos for packing but they can only layer with a t-shirt. A mid-weight sweater will be useful, maybe in the day, certainly in the evening when it can be thrown around the shoulders of a shirt in the European way or worn over a shirt or T. A light-weight jacket, too, ideally one that is at least a bit water-repellant. For me, always a hat, especially for weather that brings spring showers.

Posted by
3938 posts

If you wear jeans at home - take them with you. My hubby lives in jeans*. Before our first trip, he bought a pair of khakis to take and what happened? He didn't even take them out of the bag, because it's not what he wears on a day to day basis. If you wear khakis at home and are comfy in them, pack a few of those. He takes 3 pairs of jeans - wears 1 - and we only take carry-on's. Jeans are very forgiving when it comes to hiding stains.

If we are going somewhere when it is cool, he'll pack a sweatshirt or a fleece pullover, and a couple of long sleeve henleys. If we are going when it's warm, he'll take t-shirts and collared polo shirts (which he takes even if we are going somewhere cool - just in case we get some warm days).

*and by lives, I mean - I think I can count on one hand the number of times he's worn dress pants/khakis in our 27 yrs together.

Posted by
5032 posts

If it's May then I'm in shorts and polo shirts regardless. My jeans don't appear until November unless I'm going out somewhere 'posh'. It has to be a really special occasion for me to wear a suit, weddings, funerals or interview. I've been to some very expensive and well regarded restaurants in London wearing jeans, there's less focus on the outdated view of jeans being scruffy, particularly in London. Wear what you want, you can guarantee that no-one will bat an eyelid, even those who dress to shock are often ignored in London because it's such a diverse and eclectic mix of fashions. You could even wear socks with sandals and not face ridicule.

As for the locals, if you ask ten Londoners you'll receive ten different answers. Go with what you feel comfortable in.