Tuesday, 9 March 2010

British Style.



Despite my post on my excitement about going for my year studying in America, I am fiercely proud of being British. Fiercely. More than this I am fiercely proud of being Northern, but that’s a totally different matter…

Being British means a lot of different things for different people. I’m always fascinated to find out what people consider “British”; whether that be customs, culture, style or fashion.

I take being British for granted. I have to admit, there are a lot of stylish people in every city, not just London!! Although there are a lot of people who prefer to show off sportswear and baby bumps, I do think we take style quite seriously in this country. I’m always disappointed to see some of the Street Style on College Fashion because I always thing “I know loads of girls with more style than that!!” Maybe it’s because I’m a student, but when I’m walking round campus I see loads of gorgeously dressed young people who just have something. Though I am a shopaholic I do honestly believe you can’t buy style, but there is something that stylish people have.

But what is British style? I don’t think I really appreciated it as being different from any other style until I read this post on college fashion, which pointed out all of the things that I simply take for granted living in the UK and being British. I’d always planned on keeping a year abroad blog of fashion and lifestyle on my year abroad and now I’m even more intrigued to look at differences that extend beyond the lacking on Cadbury’s chocolate and people not knowing what I mean by a car boot.

So I got to thinking, what defines British style? What makes it different from other style around the world?

Coleen at College Fashion says “many of the students I have seen abroad have mastered the “just-rolled-out-of-bed-looking-fabulous” style” and I think that is a fairly accurate description of British style in terms of me and many people I know at University. Smudgey eyeliner, messy hair, a streak of bright lipstick. If Kate Moss is the epitome of British style, then she is definitely the forerunner of this style. I also think an outfit should look like you haven’t tried too hard. British style is sophisticated and pulled together, but it also shouldn’t look like you’ve tried too hard.

Here in the UK we are influenced heavily by our climate. For those of you who have never been to Britain we have a moderate climate and by that I mean it’s blimmin’ chilly!! From about September to November you need some kind of jacket and from December until early March you definitely need a good winter coat. Keeping warm and remaining stylish is definitely a priority over here. Scarves are a key accessory, and you can’t go wrong with a great pair of leather gloves.

Another staple that I took for granted as a staple around the world are tights. Especially black opaques. From September to June I wear black opaque tights nearly every single day. With skirts, with shorts, with dresses…with everything!! On the other days, jeans are a huge deal over here. Classic blue are indigo are always popular, but black, grey and even white in the summer are always great. Skinny jeans are still the most popular style.

The Times Online made a great list of 50 things every British girl should own which I think is fab and totally true!! High heels, pearls, a great little tea dress and a leather jacket all made the list.

Much of British Style is influenced by the amazing street style we have had in this country; from mods to punks to hippies to the influence of classic vintage pieces. I think most British girls are interested in fashion, and fashion can be seen in many different ways. Even when watching America’s Next Top Model I find myself thinking that a lot of the models don’t look too stylish on their off-days. So I started to think, maybe fashion is a bigger thing over here?

But then my housemate pointed out to me that our amazing British High Street is in fact a very British thing. And this terrified me. I couldn’t live without my weekly dose of TopShop, River Island, New Look, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins and hey, even cheapo shops like Primark and Select. While I love to shop online, there is nothing quite like going into a beautiful shop and finding yourself overwhelmed with lust. We are so lucky in this country to have beautiful clothes and beautiful shops that aren’t just high end. I think that is one of the things I will definitely miss on my year abroad!!

So I have decided to start a sort of British Fashion focus in some of the pieces on my blog for the next few months. I will be doing a regular focus on pieces which I think epitomise the British wardrobe (think blazers, brogues, cardigans and ballet flats), why they are important and how to wear them. I will also be doing a sort of Campus Cool feature where I will be photographing and interviewing people I see around my beautiful campus who exude style.

So lots of exciting new things to come on GND fashion!!

Sorry it’s been such a long time without an update- come next week I will have lots of outfit posts to put up, and hopefully, some interviews on British style!!

Charlotte xxx

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