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Just an FYI for anyone going to London..

I was in London last week as well as in April, and I noticed that alot more men carry messenger bags than backpacks.

I could pick out the tourists easily by the way people dressed (Americans in backpacks, baseball caps, fanny packs, women in jeans, etc) and I always make sure I dont stand out as a tourist so I assimilate to their style by wearing skirts,dresses, Scarves, tights and flat soled boots rather than tennis shoes and jeans, etc...

Don't make yourself a target for theft!!

Posted by
103 posts

So, what do men wear on their heads when it's cold? Surely Londoners wear jeans!

Posted by
780 posts

Some people wear jeans but I would say its more 10% rather than 80% like in America! I rarely saw women wearing jeans or tennis shoes. It may have to do with the areas I go to and maybe I see alot of business people.

Men dont really wear hats much there. I dont recall seeing a baseball cap on a Londoner.

Men and women dont wear ski parka type jackets either, more like long wool coats instead. My english friends have parkas but wear them on holiday, when they go to cold climates!

People there just seem more into fashion than comfort!

Posted by
11507 posts

I think there are some really cute and comfy low heeled or flat boots in fashion now.. I think they look better then runners even here!

I also agree with the messenger bags versus backpacks, , I like that you can swing a messenger bag to your front hip when in crowded areas and keep your hand on flap ,, seems easier then wearing a backpack in front.

I have been to London in the cold, and I also noted more people do wear nice long wool coats as opposed to sports wear stuff you see alot of where I live( I mean gore tex climbing coats, ski and boarding coats etc).

I don't think baseball hats keep you warm in winter anyways,, my ears need a toque,, so thats what I wore,, and gratefully too,, Londons damp can really feel cold!

Posted by
780 posts

Yes Pat youre right about the cold dampness that London can have! They do wear winter hats and scarves when needed. And if its cold enough, gloves of course.

I think it is much nicer to be around people with messenger bags on the tube rather than when people are wearing backpacks and whack you every time they move.

The flat soled boots are really cute and comfy. Thats what I wear.

Posted by
990 posts

Actually, I think woolens are warmer than jeans anyday. British woolens are among the very best in the world--pick some up on your way home at Heathrow Airport in the Harrods kiosk there if you don't have the chance to get them while touring.

I use a messenger bag as my day bag all over the world--including London. And including right here at home.

Posted by
334 posts

Since 1990 we've tried to "blend in" while in Europe, but found that in many areas, jeans are the norm (also convertible (zip-off) pants - we see them in the markets all over Europe) - and not just on the young people. We went to a show in London (in October), thinking we should dress up, but few people were. I think winter may be more formal - a black wool (or nice fleece) coat is better than a parka - shoes need to fit for lots of walking though if they don't stand out, so much the better (however, whay I've seen one women is high heels - on cobblestones, no less). No matter what you do, you will be identified as a non-local - just be safe with your valuables and you don't need to worry (no one should wear a "fanny pack" in Europe, but the Europeans use backpacks, too. The locals say it's more the way we carry ourselves (stand/walk/etc.) that gives us away, not what we wear/carry. Business wear is going to be different.

Posted by
1717 posts

Wool clothes made in England are beautiful, and not easily available in the U.S.A. I am thinking especially of wool jackets for men.

Posted by
504 posts

I seem to be missing the point of this advice. Why is it important to not be identified as tourists? That's what you are, after all. If it's something to be ashamed of, you shouldn't go in the first place.

I can see that there might be a slight improvement in safety, if you are less easy to be spotted by muggers or pickpockets. But you're still the person with the camera, consulting the brightly colored map, and pointing at things that everyone else has seen a million times before.

I also understand that you should dress appropriately for the venue, according to local standards. I sometimes cringe at what I see fellow tourists wearing when they go into a church, for example.

But if the general point is not to look like a tourist, I don't see why that's important.

Posted by
590 posts

I agree with Eli. I was in Europe in 2008 and saw lots of locals wearing jeans. I gave up my jeans that trip and brought them along on my trip this past summer. I felt I fit in enough, but didn't stick out like a sore thumb. Who cares if I look like a tourist! I am! I have no shame in pulling out a map to find out where I am and I definitley not going to forgo taking pictures as to not stick out. And just because I look like a tourist does not mean that I am a target for theft....If I use my common sense and have my bearings I will be fine.

However I do see alot of sense in what Tami is saying as some people REALLY stick out! However as long as they are comfortable and keep their stuff safe, I am sure they will go back with amazing experiences.

Posted by
2744 posts

I agree totally with Dav. I don't get this obsession with not looking like a tourist. If someone mistook me for a native because I spoke the language perfectly, I would indeed be proud. (This will never happen to me.) If someone mistook me for a native because I had the right clothes or behaved like a native -- why would I pat myself on the back? Why is it so cool to not look like an American tourist? I'm totally fine with that. I don't want to look like the proverbial Ugly American, but most American's aren't Ugly Americans.

Posted by
1170 posts

Besides, even locals get mugged!

And Americans aren't the only tourists across the pond. I have seen Americans recently that I mistook for Europeans, and vice versa.

Posted by
9109 posts

The locals don't get robbed as much as tourists. Thieves go after the people carrying the most amount of cash and those that are least likely to testify against them should they be caught.......tourists.

Posted by
504 posts

Sure, but as I said above, anyone looking for tourists to rob is going to recognize you from your behavior anyway.

"Here we go again."

Is this a common controversy? I'm not surprised, but I didn't know.

Posted by
14580 posts

Where are we going again?

When I'm over there in the summer, I assume the locals know that I am a tourist, that is, if they even care, when I arrive in their city/town. I don't carry a backpack, wear jeans or a baseball cap--that's one dead give-away to be spotted out as an American--and I especially don't wear shorts, regardless of the heat, whether it's 65F or 95F. But I do wear clean WHITE tennis shoes and a fanny pack, aside from using a money belt or the hidden pocket.

Yes, the locals get mugged too, I would venture to guess that the thieves set their sights way more on tourists because they are simply easier targets.

As Tami said, I've always been able to spot out and pick out Americans in Europe, even though much easier in the past than now.

True, don't make youreself a target for theft in Europe, but that also depends upon the place I am visiting.

Posted by
12 posts

I am an American living in London and I wear my jeans all the time! I also wear my Merrell shoes everywhere since we tend to walk a lot. If my husband and I go to a show in the West End or dinner in the area, I will wear my nicer jeans or a dress with thick tights, leg warmers (very stylish and in many colors and patterns!) and boots. I have dropped the white sneakers for more stylish, darker sneakers for other times. Many men and women have scarves, hats, and gloves. If you are staying near the financial area of the City, then no, you will not see anyone in jeans.

I still see many backpacks around the city and traveling at the airport. My husband uses one for work. We have a small one that we take to carry travel guides, umbrella, water, etc - this is in London as well as other cities.

This time of year, I would much rather be warm than stylish. If you are able to combine both, that's great, otherwise just be comfortable! (But please, no fanny packs!)