We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

Which London hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Level Contributor
4,187 posts
68 reviews
Save Topic
Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?


I like to try not to stand out too much when I go on holiday, so can I please ask what the dress code is like in London in general?

I will be in London in July (from 20 - 27 July). What are the colours to avoid? Do Londoners wear black in summer? I come from a city in the tropics but black's always a safe bet here, not matter how hot it can be! Or will the Londers be away for their hols and it'll only be tourists left?

I'm pretty much a jeans person, and would like to walk around, but do many people wear blue denim? And if yes, if I were to wear my jeans and Camper type shoes, would that be ok?

I won't be wearing flip flops, but just want to know what to avoid, e.g. when i was living near Paris many years ago, jeans and trainers were the thing to avoid.

Plus I'll most probably be out the whole day and going for shows at night, so want to know if there's a dress code for that as well. Plus some friends want to take us out to nice dinners as well, so will need to know what to pack. thing is, we'll be away for 6.5 weeks and doing different stuff, and if black's OK, I'll just mainly stick with that for the cities!

Thanks in advance.

Level Contributor
2,185 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

Wear whatever you feel comfortable in - jeans are fine for the theatre - my daughter always wears them and she sits in good seats and never had complaints from anyone.

Wear comfortable walking shoes/trainers.

Blue denim is fine - but remember in London July can sometimes be too hot and you might find denim too heavy. If you have some light weight trousers bring those. It is also fine for sightseeing but not necessarily for the theatre to walk around in shorts of respectable length., so would suggest you bring some as well., again denim acceptable.

To give you an idea in some offices where there is no dress code - like where daughter works even the M.D. wears shorts in the summer.

To go out for dinner - presuming from way you are writing you are a lady - a skirt or smart trousers for dinner in a smart restaurant - but unless they have a strict dress code you can also get away in jeans.

You can wear black if you want - but some people say black makes you hotter and that pale colours are better. If you prefer black then wear it, perhaps packing a couple of lighter coloured items as well.

I am sure others will add their ideas but hope this helps a bit.

South East England
Level Contributor
122 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

Jeans are absolutely fine, black is fine.

I'm not so hot on what to wear for shows. I like to dress up a little for the theatre and lots of people come straight from work. I'm sure others will advise.

I think if you want to stick out as a tourist then ladies in pleated trousers and a tucked in shirt always scream out at me. Anyone dressed in a Lands End catalogue kind of way! I personally would never wear shorts in a city, London or otherwise, I think that's a bit touristy but I'm sure plenty of locals do.

South East England
Level Contributor
122 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

Would definitely wear cropped trousers though, they're ideal.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
54,396 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

Last July, you might have thought that most women had got their clothes from one massive central lockup. Light skirts and tops or dresses (there were a couple of best sellers from Primark and H&M on plenty of women) were the order of the day, with ballet flats or flip flops the footwear of choice.

Bright colours and pastels were everywhere, but black was in evidence as well, as it's a great default option. July was hot, so denim wasn't a first choice, but there were women in jeans and denim skirts.

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
Level Contributor
31,461 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

<<< July can sometimes be too hot >>>

It can also be very wet so unless you've got some good washing/drying facilties leave the jeans at home

New York
Level Contributor
875 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

Even though I never wear them, shorts are actually in these days. Of course not the typical touristy looking kinds but I mean more fashionable ones. Designers such as Marc Jacobs have been including shorts in their collection for some time and moderate casual brands have been rubbing off this trend.

I didn't feel that London is much different from NY. And as the weather gets warmer, skirts and pants were definitely shorter. Even for that dinner with friends, simple pants with a nice top would do fine. I don't really think what you wear really matters as long as they look good.

I know this couple who swapped their clothes when they were turned away from a restaurant. The husband was wearing shorts and it was a no-no. But when the couple swapped pants with each other, everything was fine! While men have more restrictions, anything a woman wears can just pass as a fashion statement. ;-)

Sunderland, United...
Level Contributor
43 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

I would say wear what you are comfortable - London is a multi cultural city and pretty well anything goes - some more upmarket restaurants would probs frown upon jeans but they are fine for general day wear though possibly a tad too hot in the height of the summer so lighter weight fabric would possibly be a better option - wear comfy shoes for walking around during the day and if you dont want to look like a tourist dont walk around with your camera round your neck - that is always a sure give away I always think - you can dress up or dress down for the theatre and plenty of people wear jeans - bring your umberella cos although it could be warm in london in the summer it could also be showery - hope you have a great trip

Rumson, New Jersey
Level Contributor
1,295 posts
103 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

What I wear in my home city and what I wear in NYC are completely different; a "Town & Country" philosophy. Same with European cities, I would never wear short shorts but stick to casual skirts, capri slacks, or longer knee length Bermudas for day. For night I stick to slacks or a skirt with shirt/sweater. Sandles or comfortable shoes for day, and heels @ night unless I know I am walking distances. Always pack one nice (but not fancy) dress, which I rarely use.


London, United...
Level Contributor
1,121 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

I am the only person who wears the same type of stuff wherever they go on holiday? Obviously altering it to the weather.

I find most places I visit everyone is wearing the same thing anyway! Jeans, trousers, t-shirts etc.

Anyway to the OP - wear whatever you want. London has millions of people, no one will bat an eyelid at what you wear.

And you can wear flip flops, most people do here when the weather is hot.

Level Contributor
450 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Dress Code - how not to look like a tourist?

Wear anything you are comfy with. Londoners don't bat an eyelid. We are used to anything from charity collectors dressed as a gorilla to theatregoers dressed as nuns at the Sound-of-Music Sing-a-long. Once I even saw someone dressed like a guitar.

The only thing that screams tourist is if you are tog up in day-glo tracksuit tops, carrying pro-gear SLR cameras and if you dawdle on the streets peering at a map.