Fashion trends are upon us at all months and seasons.
The British have made an impact on the fashion scene across the globe. Summer is expected to see more frills to give attitude to your style. But what are some other fashion looks we can expect to see across the pond? Let’s take a look at how to dress in British style, and a few of their signature looks.
The Roots of British Style and Fashion
British style has long held a place on the list of the world's hottest fashion. Let's venture back to examine the roots of how British fashion and style came to have international influence.
During 200BC, the British style included two-coloured garments and fur overcoats, which were popular amongst men and women. These days were hard times for many people, particularly the lower class. People either slept naked or in shorts as the old bed of heaps of leaves was replaced with woolen mattresses.
During 200 BC and 1066 AD, men had three main pieces in their wardrobe – a tunic, cloak and trousers. These garments were primarily to provide warmth during the extreme weather conditions in Britain. However, the fashion elite didn’t care about the weather. The Roman legacy received military dresses, graceful sandals, and long gowns to protect themselves during weather conditions. Battles affected the masculine British style, and the feminine dress was introduced with a variety of layers, including head-covering veils, a mantle and gowns. It wasn’t until the 8th century that Britain introduced silk which positively impacted the appearance of nightwear and dresses.
Before The Renaissance
After 1066 up until 1485, the fashion history completely changed. Women chose to wear sideless gowns and loose, long dresses tied with a girdle. Around 1216, Henry III introduced the simplicity of a dress. He completed his outfit with pointed toe shows with buttons which quickly became fashionable. There was then a large selection of feminine head-dresses of four different types, rather than one choice. It wasn’t until 1327 that tailoring was introduced, and poor people began sewing their clothes tighten to outline their figure more. But those in a higher class wore a corset nearly every day, which lasted up until the 20th century.
During The Renaissance
Between 1485 and 1672, new fabrics and perfumes were introduced to the British style. Examples include Genoese velvet, taffeta and damask. Women began creating self-made perfumes based off of poppy water and rose oil to enhance their beauty. Queen Elizabeth I owed 2,000 dresses which women envied, but most of the British style was heavily influenced by the Spanish.
From 1672 Until 1768
In the 18th century, British fashion enthusiasts began to erase the line between classes. We began to see the introduction of ‘less is more’ when referring to fashion. Mid-calf length dresses were seen a lot more, and less black silk ties, laces and ribbons.
20th Century To The Present
The 20th century opened a wide variety of styles and gave fashion a whole new meaning. Suddenly fashion rules were eliminated and people became freer with their expression. The ‘60’s saw a more unisex style, with bright makeup and a couture look. Short dresses were introduced and influencers such as Twiggy created the ‘baby look’.
During the ‘70’s, women radically changed the fashion focus in the workplace to look elegant whilst remaining smart. The legendary Arthur Elgortin created an iconic outdoor photography shoot showcasing real women in the real world.
The ‘80’s was warm welcoming to celebrity designers and people embracing fashion as art and an expression. People broke traditions and went against the norm. The club scene looked like people were on a catwalk, and people had a lot of fun with colours, materials and textures.
The ‘90’s was a fashion decade influenced by the celebrity culture. British style hit the spotlight with the appearance of Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney. British fashion started to have the most influential designers in the world with fearless style and production. London soon had one of the best design schools in the world.
How To Dress in British Style
Let’s replicate the British style with our favourite six looks which have become notorious in the American culture too. Being a little rough around the edges with a roughed-up style is also embraced by the British. It’s acceptable to wear your clothes hanging slightly off your shoulders, or ripped jeans at the knees. Just maintain this look throughout the rest of your ensemble as the British style is cohesive.
Embrace Your Inner Tomboy
The tomboy is a British style which has been in fashion for years and is popular amongst the celebrity culture too. To achieve this look and keep it sporty, opt for track pants and uniform with a varsity jacket. Alternatively, it looks great when British stylists wear a pair of black straight-leg trousers with a navy trench.
We love that the tomboy look includes high-waisted trousers and suit trousers with braces. This look has been a British style for a long time. We’re a huge fan when this particular look is embellished with feline eyes and slick, neat hair.
Master The Lady Look
Polish your ensemble in typical British style by pairing a long, flowing dress over suit trousers. This look is graceful and luxurious whilst honouring the early British years. The importance of this ensemble lies in the colour scheme. Keep it neutral with black trousers and a light-brown coat. This colour palette oozes sophistication and luxury.
The British style is elegance combined with sophistication, so complete the look with an over-sized handbag. Avoid flats and switch to silhouettes which are a similar shade to your coat. By matching the top-half of your wardrobe to your feet, you create a uniformed, polished look.
The traditional British style includes properly tailored clothing. We’re a huge fan of the all-white look, and this is what the British are notorious for wearing. From head to town, stick with a white wardrobe to look traditional and mature. This colour is angelic, and lends an aura of weddings to make you look ready for any special occasion.
Those who love dresses can opt for a quality-material which flows and isn’t too skin-tight. Stick to around knee-length to keep the look traditional. Experiment with the sleeve length, or switch it up with a sleeveless suit. Ensure that you have the garments tailored and complete with a pair of white high heels.
Wear Antique Jewelry
Shop for subtle antique jewelry to make a statement and complete your look in typical British style. English shoppers have had access to antique markers and vintage shops for years, and their history has left them with a wide collection of antique goods. Everything about the jewelry should exude class and be designed for women who embrace their femininity. The antique accessories give a sense of presence and identity to a wardrobe which follows current fashion trends.
Specifically, we’re referring to Sapphire and Diamond Victorian bracelets. Oversized Yellow Gold stud earrings from the ‘70’s era work perfectly for this look – especially when combined with red elements.
Utilize A Trench Coat
The trench coat has been an icon of the British style since 1850 and is a staple armour against British weather. It was originally worn by army officers, and each detail on the coat is integral to making the trench coat timeless. Classic colours include navy, khaki, and of course, beige, to link back to its military roots. Fully-lined trench coats are great for keeping you warm, especially when layered with knitwear.
There are different styles of the trench, but we love the swing. This coat was made popular in the 1950’s and is the perfect combination of classic and contemporary. A pale powder blue or stone colour allows you to focus on the details that make this coat so unique.
Avoid Mixing and Matching
Americans tend to mix and match different materials, styles and shades, but the British style is more uniformed. In order to keep your wardrobe resembling the British, stick to one or two colours throughout your entire outfit. These colours should complement one another and be a traditional shade. For example, blues, reds, whites, browns, blacks and greys work really well. The darker the colour, the more historical it’ll look.
It has to be clear that there’s been a lot of thought gone into the overall ensemble, with matching shoes and a top. Limit your accessories, and stick to big statement pieces, such as wide-legged trousers, a long coat or a thick scarf.
What Are Your Opinions on The British Style?
We hope you enjoyed the above ideas on how to replicate the British style. The grown-up school-uniform, suit look is worn by British women during professional occasions, teamed with lace-up heels. Many other countries have adopted this British school uniform style, and we’re interested to see what other styles will travel overseas.
What are your favourite British styles? Share your opinions in the comments, along with any advice for those trying to achieve this look.