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What Everyone’s Wearing on the Tube

It’s amazing how much fashion inspiration can be found on public transport. I spent last weekend criss-crossing London by tube and bus, visiting friends all over the city. From Peckham to Soho to Shoreditch to Marble Arch, I saw a huge range of fashion styles and huge variety in personal style. London is considered to be a major fashion capital for very good reason – the street style is incredible.

The really interesting part though, for me, is always the jewellery. It looks like all the most stylish women in London are keeping their jewellery low-key these days. Almost all of the jewellery that I spotted was simple and minimal, complementing outfits rather than acting as a focus point. Casual definitely seems to be in, at least as far as jewellery is concerned. I didn’t spot a single giant statement necklace, and only one or two pairs of chandelier earrings, over the entire weekend.

What seems to be dominant at the moment is simplicity: delicate necklaces and a carefully curated selection of elegant bracelets. There was a lot of silver and hardly any colour. The annual invasion of layered bohemian bracelets doesn’t seem to have reached London yet this summer. Perhaps this will be the year that festival fashion doesn’t reach the street. Interestingly, a number of big high street chains are marketing jewellery specifically for festivals, so perhaps women are fed up of festival fashion trickling into their everyday style.

On the tube

While personal style and choice of outfits obviously vary across age ranges and by occasion, I was amazed at how similar the jewellery styles seem to be at the moment. This simple silver jewellery was being worn by women from their teens up to retirement age. The same delicate necklaces were being worn with business shirts and sheath dresses on Friday afternoon as with casual jumpers and jeans on Sunday morning. It looks like women in London appreciate high-quality jewellery that goes with absolutely everything.

So where has the statement jewellery gone? So many high street shops have been producing bold necklaces and oversized earrings that it’s hard to imagine statement jewellery has vanished overnight. What seems to have happened is that women in London are increasingly dividing their jewellery into day and night, just like their clothes and makeup. The bright, bold jewellery is for evenings only, while the simple, understated pieces work for every daytime occasion.

I couldn’t recognise many of the pieces, either. With bolder jewellery trends, it’s easy to spot which woman shops where. That same necklace from the major high street shop will appear on everyone. This weekend, though, I couldn’t have said for certain where all these beautiful silver necklaces were coming from. The current mood in jewellery seems to be about personal style rather than showing off a brand or being part of a certain fashion group.

Perhaps that’s the best way to sum up the jewellery I saw on the tube: personal. These were women wearing jewellery for themselves, not to show off their daring style or extravagant shopping habits. This jewellery was sophisticated and simple, designed to add a tiny finishing touch to a beautiful outfit, not to distract from it. It’s not about making sure everyone else sees the jewellery; it’s just about the wearer enjoying her own favourite pieces. I bet that a lot of these simple silver necklaces are old favourites that have survived years of jewellery collection clearouts.

There’s a reason that classics come back into style time and time again. It looks like jewellery in London is currently having a classic and casual moment – and I like it.

30 Jun 2016

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