New York, London, Milan, Paris and Tokyo—all of these super-cities have dynamic cultures, interesting histories, delicious local cuisine and unquestionably stylish residents. We took a look at fashion’s favorite cities to find out how any traveler can take advantage of their stylish culture.
New York City
How to dress like a local: Like in most of the world’s great metropolises, there’s not one singular NYC look—just think of the city’s many attitudes, from the prim and proper Upper East Side to the funky and bohemian West Village to the hipster haven of Brooklyn—but if there is one style that reigns supreme among the fashionable in New York City, it’s black from head to tie.
Where to shop for souvenirs: The Big Apple is packed with places to pick up gifts and souvenirs. For something singularly New York, head to SoHo to scour a plethora of indie boutiques and charming shops.
Tip to keep in mind: New York is a walking (and subway) city, so bring clothes and shoes that will be comfortable for exploring on foot. And if you are visiting in cooler months, dress in layers.
How to dress like a local: In a city known for gray weather and well-mannered royals (we’re looking at you, Kate), it’s no wonder simple trench coats, tailored tweeds and equestrian boots are time-honored classics.
Where to shop for souvenirs: Harrods, the world-famous department store, is a must-see while in London. For quirkier finds, check out the antiques at Portobello Road Market or the maze of boutiques around Carnaby Street.
Tip to keep in mind: After browsing the multiple floors of luxury goods at Harrods, which adds up to an impressive 4.5 acres of merchandise, head back down to the store’s ground floor and get a bite to eat at the gourmet food stalls. Looking for something a bit more decadent? Go below ground and through the Fine Watch Room, and you’ll find the Wine, Spirits & Cigars section.
How to dress like a local: The Milanese are very loyal to their hometown luxury labels. Gucci, Prada, and Fendi are often seen on the streets as well as the runways. Not to worry though—for your own take on local style, just wear simple clothing in dark and neutral colors.
Where to shop for souvenirs: If by “souvenirs,” you mean Italian label fashion, you may want to hold off making purchases in the shopping district of Quadrilatero d’Oro. Instead, head to the city’s many outlets, offering the same labels with much lower price tags.
Tip to keep in mind: The shopping hours in Milan are often different than in the U.S. It’s not unusual for shops to close in the early afternoon for a generous lunch break (often from 12:30 – 3:30), and most stores are closed on Sundays.
How to dress like a local: The world has been looking to the undeniably cool Parisians for fashion tips for decades. To look the part, keep it simple in dark jeans, boots, tailored jackets, and Breton stripes.
Where to shop for souvenirs: Paris is a shopper’s mecca—and not just for high-fashion items. Look for used books sold along the Seine, browse quaint boutiques in the Marais, and discover vintage clothes and housewares in the flea markets surrounding the city.
Tip to keep in mind: While there’s an effortlessness to Parisian dressing, some Americans find the general style slightly dressier than they’re use to—for example, a pair of sensible flats is a bit more en vogue than athletic sneakers.
How to dress like a local: Tokyo is on the cutting edge of fashion, and residents and visitors alike can be seen in clothes that run the gamut from playful to architectural. While the Japanese label Comme des Garçons does not show at Tokyo Fashion Week, it’s a favorite for the city’s stylish set. For upscale basics, UNIQLO is the go-to brand.
Where to shop for souvenirs: The Oriental Bazaar is a one-stop-shop for every souvenir imaginable, including kimonos, antiques, dolls and kitschy gifts. The fashion-forward Shibuya Ward is considered one of Toyko’s fashion centers and is packed with shopping, restaurants and nightlife. For one-of-a-kind finds, check out the city’s many artisans for traditional wood pieces, stationery and more.
Tip to keep in mind: While footwear may be a favorite for some fashion-minded travelers, in Japan, shoes are considered unclean and should be removed when inside homes, inns, and temples, as well as some restaurants and museums. Not sure whether to remove? Look for slippers, called uwabaki, by the doorway.
In what city would you love to go shopping? Tell us in the comments below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.