Lately in London...

New York transplant Hayley Bloomingdale navigates “spring” dressing...without the sunshine.

Ahhh Spring! Roses and Rosé! Skirts! Dresses! Naked shoulders and free ankles! Hold up.  This is London: tulips and Toddies, sure.  But bare flesh? Not so fast. Most days still feature the classic combo of rain and grey. Yet the second those temps hit 60º (yes, 60), pale skin, much like a flower in bloom, begins to reemerge. Often, I catch a flash of an ankle on the tube, or spy a blazer with pushed up sleeves (gasp!) in a pub. The really daring might even opt for a midi skirt (paired with a *jumper of course).


*What Brits call a “sweater.” I know, it's bizarre. 

This being my second English spring, I am at least prepared.  I know it’s too soon to dive into my dress arsenal (that Giambattista Valli eyelet will have to wait) and resolve to ride out the rest of May dressing for “trench weather.” Eh? (In London one must always be prepared for the rain, hence the need to have a trench coat on standby at all times) requiring some sort of chic compromise between Winter and Spring. However, there are some hopeful signs. My Tabitha Simmons booties have been given a brief hiatus in favor of Le Monde Beryl flats and Gucci slides and the requisite scarf/hat (the shat?) is no longer a daily must-have. (The umbrella, obviously, remains on call.)

 “Spring” was certainly the dress code for a recent dinner at Isabel (London’s newest restaurant/lounge/club hotspot) with Emilia Wickstead and other friends.  Despite the dreary drizzle, the calendar said May so I ignored my weather app and dressed for May. And I’m very pleased I did because the waitresses all wear custom Johanna Ortiz and I know I would have had floral FOMO had I worn anything else.

The following day, I popped into Kensington Palace to see the Princess Diana fashion exhibit. It was great to see that famous shot of her (with John Travolta) in the black off-the-shoulder by Victor Edelstein—but it somehow left me far less excited than my grandmother had been to see it in 1985. And the beyond glam ice blue Versace gown Diana wore in the famous Mario Testino photograph? Here's to hoping the Resort runways will take note for 2018!