What does a classic British outfit look like? This is a question I was recently posed while chatting with my Canadian cousins, who are excited to visit Britain for the first time next year. “I want to look like a local—how do I do that?” The answer, however, isn’t all that simple. It would be all too easy to respond, “Pack a Burberry trench coat and Dr. Martens boots,” two pieces intrinsic to British fashion and its heritage. Still, the nuances of how we Brits and those who reside here assemble our outfits are way more complex than that. Heritage certainly comes into play, but when it runs as deep as ours, it’s hard to pinpoint just one or two influences on it. Walk down any street in the country, and you’ll see prim outfits, minimal outfits, maximalist outfits, punk outfits, androgynous outfits and Y2K outfits, all merging with one another to create a potent cocktail of style culture. Take a moment to think about it; we truly have one of the most diverse aesthetics in the world.
I guess what I think makes for a classic British outfit is more about the feeling it evokes and the way in which the wearer has curated it. To illustrate my point, I’ve assembled 11 outfits that I think tap into that classic British outfit trope without being stereotypical. Yes, a trench coat does feature, but I think the modern ways we now wear it tell a more accurate story of British style as it is now. Scroll on to see them, and read why I think they represent the best parts of British outfits.