The London Diaries

Editor's Note: Our formidable and fabulous Filthy Fashionista (aka Jesica Hill) recently graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. (Congrats!) With diploma in hand, FF did what any fashion-forward girl would do — board a plane and head for Europe. (Hello?) Girlfriend will be sharing her anglo experiences for the next few weeks. Following is FF's first installment from the land of Kate Moss:

London is, indisputably, one of the world’s main fashion capitols. Women in this city put on stiletto heels  just to run out and get a loaf of bread. After nightfall, though, is when they really pull out all the stops. Hair, makeup, manicured nails and a dress that costs twice as much as my rent. Everywhere I look, fashion perfection. As a style enthusiast I know I should be basking in the glory of all this. It’s like label-whore heaven out here. But if I’m honest, I just kind of feel like I’m drowning in a sea of Burberry trench coats. Other people’s Burberry trench coats. Trench coats I can’t afford.

My month long post college sabbatical is serving as a rude awakening. It costs a shit ton of money to look fabulous. Especially in Europe. And while 10 plus years of scouring Vogue first instilled that knowledge in me, said knowledge was never applicable to my daily life. Until now. In Omaha it’s pretty easy to dress well on a budget. Here, it’s next to impossible. Sure London has H&M and Topshop but once you factor in the exchange rate that “cheap” cotton halter top from the sale rack ends up costing you more than a brand new strapless sundress from Von Maur. To be perfectly frank: it’s depressing.

The graduation money I received from my grandmother felt like a fairly large lump sum while I was cashing the check. $500. Not a bad little chunk of change. $500 to spend any way my little heart desires. Well, not quite. More like 300 British pounds, 100 of which I spent in the first week on “personality drinks." Three weeks of vacation left and only 200 pounds of spending money remains. Uh oh. As I scour the shops on Regent Street, a feeling of impeding doom begins to creep up in my stomach. How am I supposed to shop on a budget of 200 pounds? Especially when I’ll need at least half that much for next week's cocktail fund? I do the math in my head. Correction: I do the math on my iPhone. Damn. After I subtract the money I plan on spending at the bar, I can buy…. a pair of socks and maybe some lip gloss. This is not how I had imagined things going on the plane ride over here. The whole situation is turning out to be highly problematic because I plan on making an appearance at Chinawhite, one of London’s most prestigious night clubs, in less than 3 days time. 

Like every normal healthy minded American girl, I wouldn’t dream of going to the club (especially a club that requires you to be on a list) in anything I’ve owned for over a month. I find the nearest pub and order a glass of white wine to settle my nerves. Then, a sudden glorious realization. I don’t know anyone here. To these people, the wardrobe I brought from home IS new. Problem solved. 

So my lovely little darlings, my shopping advice to anyone who’s planning on supplementing their wardrobe while in London? Don’t. Shopping at home in Omaha before your trip is money well saved. Seeing the sights, expensive dinners, frequenting the pubs and clubs, meeting people and creating memories - that’s money well spent.

posted at 03:23 pm
on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

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