Don’t get me wrong I adore American fashion and American designs, but there is something so debonaire about British fashion that I absolutely adore. One of the most endearing qualities of British menswear is how true to tradition it remains; British design elements very rarely change or evolve, which is a characteristic that some may criticize, but their designs are traditional and unique from the rest of world, and quite honestly, don’t need to changes.
Their muted, neutral color palettes are neither drab nor are they attention-seeking; they are a total reflection of Great Britain’s climate and culture. Britain’s foggy, often rainy, maritime climate doesn’t lend itself to bright cheerful colors, and the British “Keep Calm and Carry On” attitude doesn’t allow for pompous fashion and bold look at me palettes. Navy blue, hunter green, and shades of grey dominate British wardrobes, which might make one think that British fashion is dull or just more of the same, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
For Brits, distinction in fashion lies in the design: the fit, the cut, the quality. Men’s formal and ready-to-wear shirts, sports coats, and blazers traditionally slim-cut and fitted to the body, cutting in slightly at the waist. Trousers, too, are typically very slim cut and taper down the leg, which differs from traditional American designs, which usually have a straight leg. Outerwear diverges from the other ready-to-wear items I have mentioned in that the designs are typically less fitted, but remains in sync with the rest of British menswear in its color palette. Outwear is made of durable textiles, almost always lined, and designed to endure all weather conditions.
Idiot’s Guide to Buying British:
- Knickers: Underwear
- Gilet: Vest
- Trouser: Pants
- Caban: Jacket featuring a cutaway collar; usually double breasted
- Parka: lightweight, durable coat; typically lined and meant for rainy or windy weather conditions
Here are some of my favorite pieces from each of my favorite British brands and retailers…