I was recently wanting to add an element of classic fashion to an outfit, but wasn’t exactly looking for New England preppy pieces. I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted, and Google and Pinterest didn’t have many options.
British fashion has become a little more trendy (oversized loose blazers and chunky black booties show up more on Pinterest searches than classic wellies and tailored wool coats) and that wasn’t what I was looking for that day.
I’m talking about traditional British style. Think anything tweed, tailored, and classy – it comes from the Royals themselves. Something about British fashion feels so cozy yes stylish to me, and it really is timeless. While my style isn’t completely old-school British, I do like to include a classic piece here and there.
Check out my favorite 9 ways to include traditional British clothing into any contemporary outfit!
- A Comprehensive Guide to Thrift Shopping
- The 19 Best Amazon Sweater Finds
- What to Wear to a White Party
- The Ultimate List of Spring and Summer Raincoats
1. Invest in a Classic Trench or Pea Coat
I’ve always been a little in love with trench and pea coats, and probably have way too many, but a good coat adds a classic British style element to an outfit that you really can’t get otherwise. Fashion icons such as Grace Kelly, Jackie O, Katharine Hepburn, and Kate Middleton have all been showcased on a variety of really high quality coats.
If you’re looking to add an element of classic British fashion, there’s literally no better way to do it than with a really nice coat. If you want easy shipping, then check out Amazon (there’s low key some great options) and Nordstrom sells classic brands if you want a piece that will last for years and years.
2. Peter Pan Collar Dresses
Sure, Peter Pan collars are a huge fad right now, but they’ve been around for quite a while and are actually considered classic, especially if you’re trying to incorporate British fashion. A nice tailored dress is especially beautiful! You can pair it with trendier heels or simple pumps, or even boots. I love how the collar gives any dress a really classy edge, even if the dress itself is super cozy (mine feels like a nightgown but pretends to be upscale, so I obviously wear it all the time).
You can opt for a harsher more trendy collar with pointy square edges or go for the rounded and softer look (which comes off as more feminine and sweet and is more of a traditional British clothing staple). I like both for different types of outfits: the edgy look can go great with booties, sunglasses, and a clutch, while the rounded collar looks super sweet with a tailored coat, pumps or flats, and a classic bag.
3. Tailored Tweed
This dress above is Dior (therefore a little pricey), but it’s seriously gorgeous and pretty timeless. I love many of the tweed dresses from the Gal Meets Glam collection. Brooks Brothers is great for classic pieces that will last forever, and Shein has some great super affordable options. This dress is a great example of a traditional British clothing piece that will last for a while.
Tweed is so timeless – it’s really hard to go wrong! You can wear a nice tweed dress, coat (long or short), blazer, skirt, top, etc. The trick is to make sure the item is impeccably tailored to fit your body; true British style is never bunchy or wrongly fitted.
4. Sweet Floral Patterns
Although much of truly classic British style is very simple (i.e. no patterns), it’s pretty common to throw in one flowery piece of clothing. I personally like wearing a flowered dress under a coat with a scarf or a flowered blouse with a blazer.
Sweet flower patterns work best for me (nothing too bright or crazy, which is right in line with traditional British clothing). A nice flowered piece gives a super classic and simple outfit a boho, more romantic touch that can soften it really nicely. I like a lot of the dresses and tops from Free People, ASOS, and PacSun for budget options.
5. Lots of Layers (An Easy British Fashion Staple)
If you’re into British fashion at all, then you can’t go wrong with a ton of layers. I personally love this look because you can be cozy and warm while staying stylish. The trick (at least for classic British fashion) is to stick with neutral, dark colors and only wear one patterned piece at a time.
Layering different textures is also good – combine cotton with suede, leather, soft plaid, and of course knit fabrics for an aspect of British style. Ribbed tights or socks are always good and can go with a variety of shoes, from over the knee boots to flats or chunky booties.
6. Classic Boots
If you don’t have a classic pair of “wellies” then you’re missing out. The Wellington boot was a staple of British fashion traditionally made out of leather, but over time they came to mostly be made of rubber and used for any outdoor purposes (like trying to trudge through the snow from your house to get to the car, a problem I run into a lot around here).
Hunter Rain Boots are the most common type of wellies available now, and I definitely recommend investing in at least one pair if you haven’t yet; black, navy, and olive green are all good classic colors that will go with many outfits.
Leather riding boots are a staple that can be great to throw into an everyday outfit as well. They aren’t as expensive (unless you get a great pair) and probably won’t last as long, but they add a nice earthly element that goes with jeans or a skirt and scream British style.
7. Leather Satchels
If you’ve ever watched Harry Potter (I sincerely hope you have or will soon), then you probably know that Hermione Granger is almost never seen without a leather satchel. It adds a classic element to quite literally any outfit and is a huge British style staple. You can get them for a price that ranges from $15 to well over $500. Even if you don’t have actual traditional British clothing, a satchel adds that air easily.
I’m pretty tough on my bags so I’ve yet to invest in a big name, but The Cambridge Satchel Company is very popular. Amazon has some great budget options (I’ve gone through a few to say the least). My favorite part of having a nice leather satchel is that it enhances the outfit but fits all of the stuff that most of my purses can’t hold, since I bring quite a bit of makeup and my laptop virtually everywhere.
8. A Fitted Blazer
A fitted blazer is a must if you have any interest in traditional British clothing. Oversized blazers are in right now, and I do love how they add a trendy aspect to any outfit, but I wouldn’t go overboard on buying a lot of them since it’s just a fad. A classic, nicely tailored blazer never goes out of style.
It’s worth it to not only invest in a few nice blazers but get them custom tailored to fit you perfectly. Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic, and J. Crew have the best classic items that will last a while; Express and H&M are good for cheaper or trendier options that still scream British fashion.
9. Anything In Dark Neutral Colors
If you’re looking to invest in a really classic piece, then stick with darker, neutral colors that will never go out of style. Stay away from anything bright or overly patterned, and definitely don’t go neon. When you’re trying to add in British style, more often than not, a touch of color is enough to light up an outfit.
I tend to love a feminine, soft vibe mixed with classic pieces, so adding elements of traditional British clothing fits in perfectly with my style! Unless you want to be really classic (and also live in London) then I probably wouldn’t incorporate all of these pieces at once, but almost any of these British fashion pieces are a great investment that will last you for quite a while!