The clocks have gone back and in case you haven’t ventured outside in the last few days, winter is starting to set in. The drop in temperature has made us forget about a golden summer and look more towards the upcoming festive season and all of the traditional activities that go with it.
Winter is also a time when London comes alive with themed events taking place all over the capital. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy as much as possible for the season that lies ahead but, of course, it’s also important to look good. Here are some suggestions for things to do in London this winter along with a fashion guide to prove that you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort in order to keep warm.
Seasonal Sporting Highlights
The winter period plays host to the curiously named Autumn Internationals. This is the time when England’s rugby union side welcome some of the biggest nations to Twickenham and this year there is added significance ahead of 2019’s World Cup in Japan.
South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia are the visitors this year but there’s little in the way of an autumnal feel as the November chill sets in at this famous stadium. Keeping warm is essential but how can spectators retain an element of style in a sport that isn’t renowned for its fashion consciousness?
Supporting your team is a big bonus for any member of the crowd but avoid the obvious replica rugby shirt unless you want to become anonymous. A hoodie in team colours is a popular choice and by wearing the right brand it’s possible to carry off that elusive mix of style and warmth. Boots are essential for the cold concrete terraces while skinny jeans are surprisingly cosy in the cold weather. If you have room for a pair of thermal long johns underneath then that’s a real bonus but be sure to keep them out of sight.
Blend in with 007
One of the most prestigious poker events in London’s history will take place across November and December this year with a big prize fund and a number of WSOP Champions in attendance. 888poker are hosting the LIVE London Festival and it’s sure to be special. Spectator packages are available but it’s also possible to take your seat at the table and take on some of the big names in the game such as Joe Cada and Scott Blumstein.
Satellite tournaments are taking place in the build up to the main tournament which starts on November 22 but, if you make it all the way through, should you attend like James Bond or is it acceptable to dress down just a little?
It’s fair to say that if you attempted to emulate Daniel Craig in Casino Royale then you might stand out a little too much. The Venue, Aspers Casino in Stratford’s Westfield, has a loose dress code which recommends ‘Smart Casual’. You’ve plenty to work with there but avoid trainers, work clothing and while cutting your jeans may look trendy, your legs will just get cold and you will be ejected.
Ice to see you
Of course, some events don’t carry a strict dress code and, in those cases, it’s all about dressing to withstand the elements. London offers a number of outdoor ice rinks across the winter period and one of the most popular of these can be found in an unlikely location.
The Natural History Museum’s ice rink has been open for a number of years and it’s back again ahead of the festive period. To an extent, common sense dictates what to wear here but it is possible to be both fashionable and warm if you’re taking to the ice.
In order to make your ice skating wardrobe look stylish, patterned woollen jumpers will help you to fit in with the more trendy participants but in order to really stand out, how about a Dickensian cape and some long, lace up boots to complete the Victorian look?
Festive Fashion Fun
It’s Christmas! Or at least it soon will be and that means a host of activities lined up around the festive period. For many, Christmas in Leicester Square is the destination where this famous site will be literally transformed into a Winter Wonderland.
The attraction runs past the festive period and into January and it includes a Christmas market with over 25 stalls and, of course, Santa’s Grotto. Revellers can also head inside to the Belgian Spiegeltent which hosts festive shows and attractions including Black Cat Cabaret’s Parisian Circus.
Warmth is key so winter layers are a must as there isn’t too much protection from the elements and it’s only OK to wear a Santa suit if you’re inside the grotto handing out presents. As we’ve already seen, the hoodie is now acceptable: Kendall Jenner wears one so it must be fine. Single colours are also, strangely embraced by the celebrity fashion world while plaid sweaters add that final layer of warmth and style to complete the look.
Celebrate US Style
A month in advance of Christmas, Thanksgiving arrives and with more Americans travelling through and settling in London, they will be seeking out locations across the Capital where they can celebrate. A number of London restaurants are offering a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year including Balthazar in Russell Street, Red Rooster in the City and 45 Park Lane in the heart of Mayfair.
All the favourites are on the menu from butternut squash soup through to pecan pie but you don’t have to be from the US to join in the fun. More and more Londoners are celebrating Thanksgiving and those restaurants will be packed with diners from all over the world.
But what should you wear? Americans have yet to fully embrace the UK’s strange obsession for fancy dress so, if you come along in a Trump mask or an Uncle Sam costume then prepare to offend. The common UK / US colours of red, white and blue will fit perfectly and there is room for stars and stripes, possibly on a chunky knitted sweater.
Sites and sources that offer recommendations all advise on warmth and comfort as an overriding theme. There’s no need to dress up for Thanksgiving dinner but as we’ve seen throughout this round up, you can still keep the cold, the rain, the wind and possibly even the snow at bay without becoming a winter fashion victim.