This is how one looks "London," although there are a variety of hipster looks too. Above all, one must appear effortless, when in fact fashion is anything but.
I should point out that I'm basing my observations on a very particular population - predominantly professional, upper-middle class, heteronormative (ooh, buzzword!) females. It is also very likely skewed to central, working London. Certainly traveling around the countryside prior to coming here I saw more variety and more casual dress. Fashion is incredibly dependent on location, culture, and which cultural subset you are trying to fit in to. (Take this image, add 60% more artiness and you're approximating the Courtauld look. Also add artfully messy hair.)
Looking put-together seems to be a general expectation in London. I don’t feel I can just roll out of my room to go to class or run errands like I did in college. I must look like a fully-formed person - which, of course, I am. I do like the feeling of being well-dressed, just not always the effort or the pressure to conform to a certain expectation.
In other news, I went to a lovely classical concert last night with great people. Yuja Wang was playing Brahms sonatas, if you're curious - not like I knew what those were before going. I'm starting to tentatively dip my toe into classical music. It's always been a background track for me, or a few names and notes bouncing around in my head. For many years it recalled the smells and sounds of the dentist's office, so I'm finally getting past that traumatic association. I'm enjoying just listening and not thinking too hard (for a change).
I've also checked off a few more coffee shops - I'll be doing a cumulative post on them with recommendations at some point. I tried to work as well, but mostly talked and wandered the city. What luxury.