Have you ever wished you could emulate the understated chicness of a Parisian, or the polished look of a Sydney babe? Every city around the world has its own unique sense of style, each one differing from the next. Go to Stockholm, and you’ll see an abundance of black, minimal makeup and baseball caps. Go to Melbourne and you’ll see vintage made cool. Go to New York, and you’ll see smart tailoring and strictly no trainers. In London, it’s quite the opposite; 90’s fashion and Nike Air Max’s are everywhere.
But why is this? Is it just by chance? Obviously not, nothing ever is. You see, what we choose to wear psychologically goes so much deeper than what we think just ‘just looks nice’. Our clothes are the first impression we’re giving to the world, and they can have a drastic impact on our chances of making friends, progressing in our careers, even, primitively speaking, of finding a mate.
So why are we inclined to dress certain ways depending on our geographical location? Well that’s thanks to the mirror neurons in our brains, that are responsible for our desire to imitate the behavior of others. From pre-school age, our need to be accepted by our peers begins to kick in, as a form of survival mode. We don’t want to stand out, so instead we dress the same, for fear of being picked on. Come secondary school and puberty, this desire to fit in intensifies, and our understanding of how our clothes can influence our social chances becomes a hardened mentality.
But far from finding our own unique sense of style in adulthood, the desire to assimilate others continues. We want to dress like our friends, or look like the celebrities we see in magazines, or look as cool as that girl we saw on the street, and so we follow suit. And thus, a city specific style is born, from a childhood need to blend in.
The benefit of style being geographically inspired is it allows us an insight into the way of life and the mentality of the people who call a certain city home. In London for instance, where the arts, design and nightlife are championed, you get a sense of the liberal, free thinking nature of Londoners whilst you tread the streets of Shoreditch, or Camden. Jump over to Paris, and you’ll notice the style shift from colourful to monochrome and seriously understated chicness. Parisians are totally different to Londoners; they take their time whilst Londoners rush, they are innately more confident in themselves, they don’t need to make a big statement to make a big impact, and this shows through their style.
The beauty of travel therefore, is that you get to be a fashion chameleon. Visiting new cities gives you an insight into the style do’s and don’ts of that particular place, and you’ll likely see someone pulling off a look you’ve never even dreamed of back home. Maybe you won’t attempt to recreate this look fully, but you’ll certainly be inspired to branch out and try a look you’d perhaps previously not had the confidence to wear. And who knows, maybe then you’ll start the trend in your own city afresh.
To explore how local style is influenced by where we live, The Travel Project sent fashion and travel blogger Laureen Uy to London and Paris on a Contiki trip. Here, she met up with local bloggers in each city to further understand their way of life, and how this is innately connected to what they wear. To see what she discovered, watch the video above or see more about her mission over on her blog Break My Style.
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