Category Archives: British Clothing

Smash Hits – British Fashion Classics

Some things just never go out of style, that classic trench, or well-tailored white shirt for example, or that stylish cashmere knit that’s served you for decades and still kept its shape.

And we Brits have something we can be proud of style speaking, as British fashion designers can definitely claim the credit for some major style sensations that have endured throughout the years. From Pringle sweaters to the Punk look, our designers have created some of the most memorable fashion classics the style world has seen.

Among the vast pantheon of style classics out there that British designers have contributed to, there are some some design ideas are so legendary they undoubtedly deserve a special mention. Let’s take a look at what these extra special style sensations have been…

Pringle Cashmere Sweater

Scotland has given birth to some pretty impressive inventions, there’s the telephone, the television, and not forgetting of course, a wee dram or four of whiskey. Fashion wise too, Scotland has always had plenty to say, with its bold tartans and clansmen’s colours, oh and of course Pringle.

Pringle’s Scottish heritage can be traced back as far as 1815 when the iconic brand was first founded, and it swiftly became one of the first ever luxury knitwear brands, with its distinctive designs being sought after by eager buyers globally.

The brand’s signature cashmere knit was first produced in the 1870’s, around the time the company created the unique “intarsia” Argyll design, with which Pringle is synonymous today around the world.

From Hollywood celebs, to pro golfers, a cashmere Pringle sweater is a hallmark of style and quiet luxury, and will go with absolutely anything, whether it’s accessorized with a pair of jodhpurs, or thrown casually around your shoulders as you waltz down the red carpet in that premiere worthy dress.

Burberry Trenchcoat

One of Britain’s oldest labels, Burberry started out by supplying soldier’s uniforms, and manufactured the ground-breaking fabric called Gabardine, a fabric so durable it was utilized in military clothing throughout the nation.

The label’s most iconic creation though, is unarguably the iconic Burberry Trench, which first debuted in the 19th century when Thomas Burberry added metal straps and rings to his officer’s trench, and an instant design classic was born.

The Burberry Trench has been acclaimed globally, and its worldwide popularity shows no signs of abating, with the classic style being sported proudly by celebs from model Cara Delevigne to HRH Kate Middleton.

Turnbull & Asser Shirt

Established in 1885 Turnbull & Asser are well known for their hallmark tailoring and attention to detail, and have dressed celebrities and royals alike, from Prince Charles to screen hero James Bond.

The flagship shop, located on London’s prestigious Jermyn Street, holds a Royal Warrant, but the company’s most celebrated design has undoubtedly been its classic tailored shirt design, which has been the preferred choice of stylish politicos and celebs who like to dress smartly for decades.

From Charlie Chaplin to artist Pablo Picasso, and more recently actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Turnbull & Asser’s iconic shirt has seemingly never been out of the style spotlight, and the label has also made its mark overseas, with its designs sold in illustrious stores such as Barneys, and the launch of the New York flagship store in 1997.

Mini Skirt

The miniskirt’s short and cheeky style literally revolutionised the fashion world when it first debuted in 1966. British designer Mary Quant began dressing her models in the thigh skimming design, which sent shockwaves throughout the fashion world and became an instant British style smash practically overnight.

The mini achieved global coverage, appearing on the front of acclaimed style mags from Vogue to Nova, and was sported by uber models Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy, becoming an essential part of their waifish, gamine look.

Today the mini skirt is a go to classic look that’s never been out of style since its introduction in the 60’s, and the short length is worn by everyone brave enough to get their pins out all over the globe, from WAGS on a night out to Hollywood actresses on the red carpet.

Punk

Punk style was made popular in Britain by Vivenne Westwood and Malcom McLaren, who opened the shop SEX, in Chelsea, selling the pair’s avant garde designs as well as vinyl showcasing bands like the Sex Pistols, which McLaren helped put together.

The clothes McLaren and Westwood sold were in direct contrast to the glossy glam rock look popular in the seventies, the new style featured slogan t-shirts designed to shock, bondage elements, such as straps and leather, tough bovver boots, tattoos, and gritty styling.

Punk soon exploded on the scene as a major trend, making a unique global phenomenon and McLaren and Westwood famous, with everyone from teacher’s daughters to rock stars soon adopting the look.

Even today, elements of the punk look are heavily borrowed by mainstream artists like Pink and Jessie J, and the style is still a major street trend, with variations of punk becoming popular every now and then, such as the heavily pierced and tattooed alt rock look, with its haphazard styling elements and colour clashes.

So do you agree with these British style sensations, maybe we’ve missed something out?

Tis the season to be stylish (and warm)!

It’s that time of year again. The time when the nights start to draw in and the days grow colder, not cold enough to warrant a full on Artic style cover up but cold enough to make you shiver if you’re not wrapped up properly.

Transitional time, when autumn meets winter around early November and the two shake hands for a brief moment, is the time our minds begin to turn to the often stressful task of Christmas shopping and the looming festive season, but we should also give half a mind to our sartorial choices as it can be tricky to dress right during the crossover period.

It’s definitely far too cold for that lightweight linen summer jacket, but it’s not quite warranting bringing out that faux fur-lined Parka yet. Le sigh. Mr Guy Fawkes didn’t have to worry about such fashion difficulties, well at least not after he had a nice toasty bonfire underneath him.

Speaking of which, Fireworks Night marks the ushering in of that time when a cup of steaming hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles starts to sound like the best idea ever, but it’s also the time we crack open our sweater drawers and examine whether or not those moth eaten sloppy joes will be viable again this year.

But there’s no excuse for trotting out the same old tired fashion choices, we Brits have a lot of experience with dressing for bad weather, and as a result Brit designers are renowned for offering up some of the most stylish and iconic transitional season fashion to be found globally. Think comfy Pringle sweaters, Burberry Trenchcoats, Barbour jackets, and Hunter wellies, then toss in a wacky Zandra Rhodes print overlong Dr Who style scarf for good measure.

November can be an unpredictable month, with weather ranging from the fairly mild to full on downpours and freezing winds from one day to the next. If you’re going to be attending a Fireworks Night event outdoors this year, why not wrap up warm in a chunky knit arran sweater, the Arran knit sweater being yet another Brit design classic of course.

When Guido Fawkes was discovered under the Houses Of Parliament with enough gun powder to blow up an army, the people celebrated saving the political establishment with wild parties in the street and much rejoicing, burning effigies of Mr Fawkes on bonfires.

And while we might not quite have so much enthusiasm for today’s political elite, the tradition still lingers, with the 5th of November seeing more people turn out to watch rockets, Roman Candles, and Catherine Wheels than most other outdoor events see on these shores all year round.

A chilly spell doesn’t have to mean sloppy dressing though, especially with the myriad of design choices currently available for snappy dressing during the cold snap. Now, no matter what your style. turn the cold weather to your advantage by investing in some quality knitwear that will keep you both snug and stylish.

Whether your style epitomizes laidback cool, you adore the vintage look, or you prefer to dress up rather than down with more tailored knits, our massive pool of home-grown design talent ensures there’s something for everyone.

For something truly innovative this season, try out some of the exciting new recycled or ethically sourced knits that are slowly beginning to be seen on the shelves of British stores both offline and online.

Take it from us, eco fashion is set to be one of the big trends of 2015, so get a sartorial jump-start by warming up to ethical style during the transitional period, before the trend becomes huge fashion news next year. And while you’re about it, why not take the hassle out of some of that Christmas shopping and avoid the crush by snapping up some on trend eco fashion online, both as a stylish treat for yourself, and for the perfect gift for someone special?

Frighteningly Fashionable Britain

Halloween and Gothic style go together like a chilly night and a hot toddy, and throughout the years both have had a major impact on the direction of British fashion. From Poe’s spine chillingly creepy tales of ghoulishness, to 1980’s goth rockers Siouxie and the Banshees, those influenced by the dark side have found a seemingly untapped well of inspiration on UK shores.

With its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of the dead, Samhain, where the deceased were thought to be able to communicate with the living for one night, Halloween got it’s official moniker in 601 AD, when Pope Gregory renamed it in an attempt to put a Christian spin on a historical tradition.

Halloween DarknessThis piece of ancient PR seems to have paid off though, as in some form or another we’ve celebrated the festival in Britain ever since, with traditions like apple bobbing having their roots as far back as the 1400’s!

But both Gothic style and Halloween didn’t find their kismet until the 19th century, when the master of the macabre Edgar Allen Poe came along to pen tales that would send a shiver along the spine of even the most hardened horror buff.

Poe was the undisputed king of darkness, and it seems he was something of a fan of original gothic style too, as from architecture to clothing, his writing is chock full of detailed references to the darkly beautiful.

Poe likely took his influence from his surroundings, as Britain was undergoing a big Gothic Revival during his lifetime, with buildings heavily referencing original medieval gothic architecture springing up all over the place, such as the striking Houses of Parliament and the beautiful St Pancreas station.

Throughout the years following Poe’s death, from the damson coloured vampy lips of silent screen vamp Theda Bara, to the haunting lyrics of aloof crooner Nico from the Velvet Underground, there were numerous goth inspired influences to satiate our craving for the dark side. But the unofficial date of the origin of modern British Goth style as we know it wouldn’t occur until 1979, when Bauhaus released their hugely influential single Bela Lugosi’s Dead.

Piggybacking Bahaus’s influence, Goth Rockers Siouxie and the Banshees further revolutionized the British music industry, creating a whole new genre of alternative music that was dubbed “gothic rock” by music critics at the time. The genre swiftly became popular and its rapidly swelling numbers of followers soon developed their own unique fashion style, influenced by the ethereal lyrics and dark cadences of the music they listened too.

Soon everyone and his black cat seemed to be sporting purple and black striped tights, a black velvet blazer, heavy black eyeliner and a head full of backcombed jet black hair that would make Cher envious, and that was just the guys!

halloween_110007212-1013intBut all jokes aside, the enthusiasm for all things Goth in the 80’s saw things previously considered taboo being readily adopted by the mainstream. Bisexual experimentation became almost the norm, and a more androgynous style of dressing became popular too, with embellishments like eyeliner and long hair on men seen as much more readily acceptable.

Since then, though Gothic fashion may not quite ever have reached the heady peaks of its 1980’s heyday, it’s continued to mutate and thrive, and the birth of the famous annual Whitby Gothic Festival in North Yorkshire in 1994 only serves to give testament to the enduring popularity of gothic style as well as the British interest in all things macabre!

Whitby, the place where British gothic legend Bram Stoker penned the genre’s quintessential tale, Dracula, sees thousands of elaborately dressed goths descend on the town every year, to pay an annual pilgrimage to the man, who along with Poe, is often cited as the father of British Gothic horror fiction.

Since Poe and Stoker’s time, things seem to have quite fittingly gone full circle, with modern-day British Goths in 2014 now sourcing style inspiration from the original Victorian fashions first made popular during the Gothic Revival period of 1830-1900.

The high-necked black lace pussy blow blouses, corsets, long full skirts and velvet chokers that typify this branch of Gothic style, were initially worn in Britain more than a century ago, and are now being sported on our streets today, undisputedly proving the old adage true that great style never goes out of fashion.

Five Brit trends rocking the fashion world in 2014

British style has always been at the forefront of fashion, but lately, to look at media coverage, it almost seems like our goal is to achieve world style domination with the sheer amount of Brit inspired trends and stylish British celebs out there right now.

From Cara D to the Dandy revival right now the British fashion scene has never been so hot. Let’s take a look at the five top trends currently rocking the style scene in 2014.

Tomboy inspired casual cool
The trend for uber casual as the ultimate badge of fashion cool has been driven by the popularity of celeb model/ actress/ it girls such as Cara Delavigne, Alexa Chung et al. These girls and their laid back, rocked up, I just threw this on then borrowed my boyfriend’s sloppy joe kind of style is currently setting style mavens and fashion editors abuzz, and has spawned millions of copycats throughout the globe.

The trend for casual cool is now so popular Hollywood celebs have got in on the act, and are rocking the grungy look, due in no small part to all the global coverage given by eminent fashionista bibles such as US Vogue and iD magazine that celebrate the style of Ms Delavigne and her pals.

Dapper Dandies
Traditional tailoring is back in style big time, you only have to look at dapper dandies David Beckham and uber male model David Gandy to see that getting suited and booted has never been more on trend.

Savile Row style is now being sported by everyone from actors George Clooney and Ryan Gosling, to Olympic cycling hero Bradley Wiggins, and the demand for the dapper look is so firmly back in fashion that traditional Brit gentleman’s outfitters are reporting a huge upswing in sales of bespoke tailoring, and dandyish accessories like cravats and cuff links.

Hipster happening
Love it or hate it hipster style is definitely here to stay. The often debated style is still a huge trend for men in 2014, with celeb hipsters Nik Grimshaw and Russell Brand sporting their trademark drainpipe denims, beanies, grungy boots, and skinny ties.

Though it had its origins in arty East London districts Shoreditch and Dalston, the looks now gone global with Hollywood actors like Jared Leto and Johnny Depp going all hipsterish and adopting a bit of London indie style, despite the vast amounts of negative criticism the trend’s attracted from those opposed to all things hipster.

Urban trends
London’s always been a huge player in the urban music scene, and this, combined with the city’s status as a capital of style is what has enabled the Brit urban scene to really influence fashion and music on the global stage.

Stylish acts like Tine Temper, Dizzee Rascal, Rita Ora, and Emili Sande, have long set the stage for Brit world domination within the urban music scene. But London’s special brand of street style has followed hot on its heels (or Nike Air Jordan trainers) and is now influencing the world, due to the sheer number of fashion bloggers and street style photographers capturing the look, and bringing it to the attention of style watchers throughout the globe.

Vintage sweetheart
The lifestyle trend that has seen us move away from mass production and demand more authentic and ethical goods has bled into the sartorial arena too, with the revival of retro styles inspired by the 40’s and 50’s.

British WW2 1940’sweetheart fashion has been seen on everyone from Kelly Osbourne to Katy Perry, and retro style shows no sign of slowing down the pace in 2014, with a proliferation of homegrown Brit retro labels like Tara Starlet and Lindy Bop making it affordable to create the perfect retro look.

Purchases of both vintage inspired clothing and genuine authentic pieces from the 40’s and 50’s eras are soaring, as more and more style conscious women want to take up the trend and don a little bit of vintage glamour for themselves and look fabulous and original.

And as we all become more eco-aware, genuine vintage clothing not only helps to create a glamorous look that most modern clothing could never achieve, but it also seems to make more and more sense, after all why waste something that you can reuse again?

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Do you agree, or disagree with our picks for the Brit fashions trends for 2014, maybe we’ve missed something you think has made more of impact this year, let us know in the comments!

Cheers

Mike

Home spun style – how British Fashion changed the world!

Being British we’re used to being quite self-effacing types who typically downplay our own greatness, but when it comes to fashion, there’s no doubt that through the decades Britain has shaped the style world in a major way.

Take the mini skirt for example. Invented in the 60’s by iconic British fashion designer Mary Quant, the mini came to embody the spirit of 1960’s London and was subsequently adopted by style conscious citizens throughout the world.

Mini-skirt

At the time the mini skirt was cheeky, a little bit shocking, and was considered totally edgy and fresh, which is why it became the skirt of choice for the hordes of fashion conscious women prowling up and down the length of the heart of Swinging London, Carnaby Street.

But British fashion had been influencing and shaping the sartorial world decades before the 1960’s. Did you know that the man universally considered to be the father of haute couture was actually a Brit who came from Lincolnshire, who worked in the drapery shops of London before he moved to Paris to open his salon?

In his day, Charles Worth was an absolute fashion behemoth, and was so revered he even dressed royals such as France’s Empress Eugenie, not to mention famous society beauties of the time such as actress Sarah Bernhardt, and uber courtesan Cora Pearl. Women flocked to him from around the world to be draped in his expertly cut designs, and to this day he remains an eternal fashion icon, remembered throughout the world for his tailoring and use of luxurious fabrics.

It’s not just items of clothing that has put Britain firmly on the fashion map either – we invented mass production – essentially paving the way for every retail outlet from Primark to Prada to hawk their wares. The Spinning Jenny, which totally revolutionized the clothing production industry, made producing large volumes of fabric possible, and it was invented by a British carpenter called James Hargreaves.

The device, named after Hargreaves daughter, was so successful it became one of the key instruments behind the Industrial Revolution, and in fact is the reason why the high street fashion industry that exists today is in existence at all!Man-in-black

And let’s not forget that quintessential fashion staple – black. The trend for the monochromatic shade that’s so vital to any self-respecting fashionista, and is found making up a large part of the wardrobes of the style conscious throughout the globe, actually started with one of our own – good old Queen Victoria.

Though typically when we think of black, we think of Coco Chanel, who popularised the Little Black Dress, the shade first became en vogue after the death of Prince Albert, when Victoria took to wearing all black.

Before Queen Vic went back to black, practically no one wore the shade apart from widows in mourning and members of the clergy, but afterwards everyone from pauper to princess was kitted out in all black garb complete with matching jet accessories. It’s probably one of the biggest influences Britain has ever had on the fashion world, and it’s a trend that continues today, though it often goes uncredited.

British fashion designers hold a major sway in the global fashion scene and are praised throughout the world for their excellence, innovation, and creative expertise. From the edgy and boundary pushing late Alexander McQueen, to the eccentric surprise of Vivienne Westwood, right through to the eco-conscious tailored cool of Stella McCartney, all of them hold the fashion world in thrall with their unique and highly wearable designs.

There’s no doubt that in the future British fashion will be one of the front-runners in setting new style trends, as from producing exciting new ethical fashion to creating cool and edgy street wear, Brits continue to lead the way, blazing new trails in the sartorial stakes and continuing a trend that’s gone on for centuries.

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How do you see British fashion shaping the future, do you see Britain continuing to set new trends or perhaps you think the opposite and you feel Britain has lost it’s creative fashion heart? Let us know in the comments below!

Cheers

Mike