How the British Country Attire Defined the Casual Wear of the 21st Century

Photo: from Editor’s personal archive. Shot in Stratford-upon-Avon, 2017.

A vision of yellowish, brownish, greenish hues is irregularly scattered with the pointed arcs of the neutral-toned country houses, which, by the way, seem to have proven what an architectural marvel amid the moorland should look like. The pensive air over the land of irregular, tangled foliage shimmers in blue of all shades, and this tranquility is only broken by the bird clamor, that echoes miles away.

The British countryside evokes a certain atmosphere of rawness, serenity, tranquility, even though the harsh weather conditions at helm play havoc with this rural paradise, and dwellers are forced to weather the storm literally in any possible ways. So, living in the British countryside is not merely plain sailing, as you can easily get washed away by the heavy droplets of rain – which, many times, come out of the blue and the sky literally may pour down.

No wonder the heavy circumstances, the British had to get accustomed to the twists and turns of the rough climate they were exposed to. They have, however shown that they are a master of their craft, in terms of accomodating and surviving. The many times grubby and muddy wind-breaker, the practical wellies, the quilted jackets and the tweed suits are just a handful of pieces that can be found in the closets of the British, due to their versatile and durable character (their comfortability is an added bonus, of course).

Source: Unsplash.

In hindsight, the birth of the traditional English popularwear can be associated with the 19th and the 20th Century’s country attires. By and large, during the aforesaid eras, what was regarded as traditional country clothing, was basically an easy-on-the-eye look, one that was favoured among the better-off in the countryside. Members of the upper-classes of the British society back then used to go to the countryside to pass their leisure time with diverse outdoor, sport events. It goes without saying then, the garments worn by the elite had to be convenient, practical to weather every storm and every sport, and not at least durable as well.

Strangely as it may seem, what shaped the British traditional wear we know of, was the active wear of the 19th and 20th Century. Horse riding, shooting, picnics, gardening were some of the outdoor activities defining British fashion as we know today. Also, the clothing not only had to be worn during sunny or rainy days at many outdoor pursuits, but it also had to live up to yet another aspect: it had to be worn at country fais, weddings or even horse races – events that required a more elegant and formal appearance. In a nutshell, versatile clothes came to life in the 19th Century English countryside, so that the singular country attires could serve diverse puposes.

Here are some of the specific British countryside clothing pieces and accessories, along with some current Street Fashion examples, High-end campaigns/Runway looks and last but not least the greatest style icons of an all-time classic, Gossip Girl prove that countrywear never gets boring:

Jackets & Suits: turned out to be a protective shield against the wind and foggy winter days

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  • the Quilted Jacket (as can be seen above) was usually worn at horseriding events, and became one of the most popular trends of all time during the winter, it basically conquered the world with its classy, yet simple style and motifs. It can be found in every closet today, thanks to the Brits. It also serves as the basis pattern on the 2.55 Chanel Handbag:
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  • The Tweed jackets & coats are something we couldn’t live without. Suits, coats, trousers and skirts made of tweed are iconic pieces associated with the British gentleman and ladies. This material uplifts every outfit due to its smart-casual style. A forever esential, which keeps the chill away.
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Tweed is Chanel‘s staple material from the very beginning, the designs enlivening the countryside charm. Garments made of tweed go hand in hand with the brand’s identity. From costumes to bags made of tweed, you can behold anything made of this prominent textile at the opulent fashion house:

  • The Fleece jacket battles the dead of winter. It is a rather accissible piece for the snuggly, cozy days.
  • The Norfolk Jacket looks sassy and classy. Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick looking flawless in a Norfolk-styled jacket that he paired with some leather country boots below.

Norfolk jacket is part and parcel of Men’s Street Fashion ensembles due to its timeless charm:

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Headwear: it had to fit the weather conditions at helm, protecting its owner from the rain or snow

  • The Irish walking hat goes with everything in a gentleman’s closet.
  • The deerstalker may sound familiar to every hunter and not only: it is the essential accessory of every detective.
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  • The characteristic triby hat that was often adorned with a feather attached pin on its side, is still worn by men and women.
  • The classic and widely popular flat cap made of tweed is just charming. Who wouldn’t fall head over heels in love with Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick posing in it?

Footwear: weather conditions, social circumstances basically designed them

  • The natural rubber Wellington boots are part and parcel of country life and gardening.
  • All hail the leather country boots!
  • The Brogue shoe is a perfect match to the tweed suit to embellish any festive moment.

They say diamonds are forever… But so are a pair of colorful wellies!

Blair Waldorf, spotted in countryside-inspired ensemble. Only Queen B knows how to rock horseriding pieces, adorned with a silk scarf and top it with a classic triby amid the concrete jungle of the Upper East Side.

XOXO,

Janka

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2 Comments

  1. Very good info. Lucky me I discovered your blog by accident.
    I have book-marked it for later!

    1. Dear Reader, Warm welcome to the wesbite! It is our pleasure to hear that you ran into the blog. We are beyond happy to hear your positive feedback. 🙂

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