All Women's Talk

Gemma's Adventures in Shopping What Your City Says about You

By Gemma

Gemma Cartwright writes...

The fash pack are always eager to pigeonhole us into stereotypes, and Grazia's recent 'North vs South' article really got my goat (and yours, by the looks of things) for its generalised attitude to girls across the country. Snapping five fashion industry insiders in London is hardly a good cross-section of what the city has to offer style-wise, nor is talking to four Brighton students and one shopgirl (all 21 or under). If you're going to tackle a topic as touchy as 'which is better, North or South' you at least need to make an effort to do some wider research...

I'll be honest, the North vs South debate couldn't be more ridiculous as far as I'm concerned, since I have no loyalty to either side. I live in London now, but I come from north Worcestershire, bordering the West Midlands. I used to work in Birmingham and I grew up shopping at the Bullring before it was cool. Northeners don't want us ruining their rep, and Southerners have a tendency to think anything above Watford is 'the North'. When asked at University where my 'northern accent' came from, I replied that I came from the Midlands and was asked where that was (um, in the middle). Londoners still think I'm a Brummie, while my old friends from back home refer to me as 'posh'. Recently, I was told I sounded like I came from the home counties, but I still say 'laff' and not 'laugh'. Since I can't win, I've given up.

I suppose in a very broad way, the place you live may affect how you dress a little. Where I grew up, girls fell into two camps: the outrageously slutty and the dull-as-dishwater. It was pelmet skirts, strappy tops and visible bra straps or jeans and 'nice' tops. Everyone shopped at the same high street stores and at parties there were always two girls in the same thing (in fact, at my leavers do, three girls wore the same Jane Norman dress). Moving to London at 18 was like stepping into a whole other world. Suddenly the stuff that seemed a bit outrageous when I'd worn it in my small town was tacky and unfashionable in comparison to what the 'cool' kids wore at college. I had to up the ante so much it got to the point where I had two distinct wardrobes. One for London, and one for my trips back home. And still my wardrobe is boring compared to what most of the London fashionistas can get away with.

It's true that London has a look all of its own, a lot of which is down to the availability factor of certain styles and brands, but you can go anywhere in the country and find girls with amazing, distinct, unusual style. Especially now internet shopping is such a big thing and you can get hold of just about anything, no matter where you live.

I have friends living all across the country; Liverpool, Bristol, Bournemouth, Sheffield, Nottingham, Southampton...and of course back in the Midlands. Their style hasn't changed because of where they are, but more because of who they're with. Surely that's the real clincher in what you put on in the morning? It's about your job, your friends and your social life rather than your postcode. You can be just as much of a 'prom plus one' glamour queen even if you don't live in Manchester (which is where Grazia reckons those girls hang out). You don't need to be in Liverpool to be a WAG wannabe and geek chic is definitely not limited to students in Brighton.

And most importantly, bad style is definitely not limited to one region!

As proof of the fact that people dress in all kinds of great threads regardless of where they're based, here are some of our favourite street fashion websites. Don't forget our 'I Love What You're Wearing' pages too!

Facehunter [international]
The Sartorialist [international]
Style Scout [London]
Style Diary Street Style [international]
London Street Fashion
Hel-looks [Helsinki]
Sthlmstl [Stockholm]
Tokyo Street Style
Sao Paolo Style
Style Clicker [Munich]
Street Fancy [San Francisco]
Fashion Street [Lisbon]
Toronto Street Fashion
Oslo Stil
Wardrobe Remix [international]

Please rate this article




Readers questions answered