A Touch of the Englishman – the Quintessential Guide to Dressing ‘Proper’
What springs to mind when we think of tea, cake and queuing? That’s right, the English. It doesn’t matter if you’re heading across the sea for a visit, or bringing British style to your closet. The English have a distinctive style you’ll love. They may not make much of it, but ‘properness’ is a big part of an Englishman’s clothing. So in honor of my English marketing team, I’ve gathered together the best of British men’s fashion! Whether you’re dressing it up or down, a touch of classic England in your outfits could make all the difference.
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The classic image of an Englishman is the gentleman, bluff bustling and jolly. Two old school styles that have made a real come back are:
Bow Ties: It has a history of being worn at high tables in Eton, Oxford and London. The bow ties are usually a sign of a distinguished man on a special occasion. If you’re going to a concert or a dinner party with the boss, a bow tie is a perfect sign of formality and a nod to a classic tradition. They can also be worn down. If you’re wearing a typical plain shirt and pants for work, adding a bow tie can be a playful spark of colour to your style. You’ll certainly be noticed!
Braces: Known as suspenders stateside, once upon a time men with mutton chops were the only ones to wear them. Well no more! Back from Downton Abbey with a vengeance, braces are now everywhere to be seen in more hip English styles. They come in any colour and best of all, they go smart or casual. Shirt or Tee, jeans or pants, the braces remain a part of the ‘ironic gentleman’ style.
England has a history of detectives, from elementary Sherlock Holmes, to more Sci-Fi heroes like Dr Who. What these brooding heroes all had in common when we think of them is:
A Long Coat: Typically the long coat is worn with authority; it says dark, brooding but professional. The long coat is an essential for every man’s closet. The collar can be turned up ala Sherlock to highlight cheekbones (and keep warm!) Pockets provide practical storage for the essentials – keys, wallet (and possibly a pipe!) – whilst keeping your hands warm and helping you get that dramatic sweep round the corner.
At the height of fashion, with fullness of beard and quirkiness of moustache, is the Hipster. It’s become a classic sign of English dress code among the young. Mostly this is because it mixes tradition with modern times. In typical English behaviour, they play down the idea of riches by wearing what we might consider ‘fancy’ items in both casual and formal wear. Chief among the Hipster’s closet is:
Waistcoats: Whatever the age, waistcoats are now free for all. Worn to work they make a statement of style, precision and formality. Worn casually it elevates a simple tee shirt and jeans even without you having to do it up. In both cases, it makes a statement of originality when so many of us stick to ties. When both the banker and the rock star favour the waistcoat, there must be something to them!
Ankle Boots: These are more to dress up a casual outfit than to be worn to work. The hipster in his home environment often favours the ankle boot. Fashionably done with laces, the material varies from suede to leather – a stylish alternative to trainers and better quality!
English trend favours layering outfits because – well, it’s cold in England! One never knows if it’s going to rain when one goes out so one must layer up if one does not wish to “come a cropper”. The favourite layers of the English include:
Hats: Young, old, Monday or Sunday, you can’t go wrong with a hat. Favourites for the hip look are trilby hats. They’re typical of the Indie band fashion and don’t look out of place on a summer’s day.
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Flat caps, once a hat for the farmer, can be worn with blazers and smart shoes. It gives a touch of humbleness to balance an outfit that screams smart and clever.
Beanie hats are the perfect hat for the winter months. Designed as overlarge, they are usually woollen and dark coloured, great for the professional metropolitan style
Scarves: For an Englishman to be seen in the fall without a scarf “simply isn’t cricket”. Favoured by professors and students alike, the scarf lives on as a simple sidekick to any man’s outfit. Coats may be big or small; jumpers and jackets too; the scarf never fails to fit in, keeping you warm and stylish.
When you think of an Englishman’s closet, you think ‘proper’. Proper shoes, and proper shirts, all properly put together in their proper place. And it’s true; the English style has a tradition of smart and traditional clothing. The best part of adding some Englishness to your closet is you can show how modern and original you are, old bean!