How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (2023)

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (1)

Between French girl fashion, dark academia style, and fashion in the U.K., we’re overwhelmed by foreign trends. If you’re anything like me, you know that you lovesomething about how the British dress, but you can’t quite pin down exactly what it is.

I’ve been a Harry Potter fan for years, and I recently realized how much Ilove the cozy style of dressing. Even though the movies use early 2000’s style, so much of the clothing they wear is still relevant right now.

There is a clear different between trendy British style andclassicBritish style. We’re talking about Kate Middleton vs. British influencers here.

As a regular person, I like to incorporate a bit of both (as well as many other styles!) into my wardrobe. It’s easy to get stuck in thinking that you need to pickone style, but I promise, that isn’t the case!

If you’re a fan of British style and want to incorporate elements of it into your wardrobe then read on!

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Here are 9 essential elements of classic British style that you should consider adding to your wardrobe.

1. Invest In A Classic Trench Or Pea Coat

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (2)

(Video) How to dress in the CLASSIC BRITISH STYLE

Ralph Lauren // London Fog // Haven

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (3)

Sportoli // JPOQW // Haplica

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 photographed wearing really high quality coats. It’s an essential piece of the British style wardrobe that you don’t want to miss out on.

While there are alot of gorgeous coats out there that cost a pretty penny, you can also get a good trench coat, and sometimes even a pea coat, for pretty cheap.

For affordable trench coats, check out this style on Amazon. I purchased it in both black and light tan. This is one of my favorite trench coats under $50! I find that it’s true to size.

If you don’t mind splurging a bit, Banana Republic has some great coats that are beautifully tailored. Topshop is also one of my favorite options for both trench coats and pea coats.

When you’re first building your wardrobe, you definitely need to start with at least one coat. British style is all about layering, which you simply can’t do if you don’t have the layers.

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2. Peter Pan Collar Dresses

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (4)

Tommy Hilfiger // 1901 // Shein

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. Add A Bit Of Tweed

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (5)

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Tweed is another staple of British fashion, whether we’re talking about classic or trendy British style.

The fabric will come and go in typical trends, but when we’re dressing British, tweed isalways in. There are so many ways to incorporate tweed into an outfit. You can choose a tweed coat, a skirt, or a blazer. I even love tweed dresses.

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The trick for British style is to make sure that your tweed is always impeccably fitted. You don’t want to wear tweed pants in they’re bunchy or too short.

If you like edgier tweed (such as black and silver), check out River Island. Nordstrom always has more classic pieces in stock.

4. Sweet Floral Patterns

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (6)

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.

Related: 28+ Harry Potter Outfit Ideas For Every Day Style

5. Lots of Layers

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (7)

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

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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.

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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

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (9)

Leather Native // LoZoDo // Cambridge Satchel

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. Neutral Blazers

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (10)

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!

(Video) The Lad: Ep. 1 | The Roots of British Style | River Island | British GQ

How To Dress British: A Guide To Classic British Style (11)


How to dress classic British? ›

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.

What is traditional British dress? ›

Perhaps the most famous national dress in Britain is the Scottish kilt with its distinctive tartan pattern. The kilt is a length of woolen cloth, pleated except for sections at each end. The kilt is worn around the waist, with the pleats at the back and the ends crossed over at the front and secured with a pin.

How do British people dress? ›

What clothes do people wear in England? As the UK is very much a western society - we wear very much the same as any other modern western society - ranging from Jeans and Tee shirts (whether with designer labels or not) to full business suits for office work (if required).

What should a 60 year old wear UK? ›

Buying the basics - your wardrobe essentials checklist
  • Straight leg trousers. ...
  • Shirts and casual tops. ...
  • Good-quality, good-value underwear. ...
  • Non-frumpy knitwear. ...
  • A decent pair (or two) of jeans. ...
  • The ideal wrap dress. ...
  • The perfect LBD. ...
  • A smart coat or jacket.

How should a classy over 60 dress? ›

5 Tips For Dressing in Your 60s
  1. Big patterns, bold colors. By the time you've reached your 60s, your outlook is refreshing—you've learned not to take yourself or life too seriously. ...
  2. Breathable Fabrics Reign Supreme. ...
  3. Embrace the unexpected. ...
  4. Balance timeless with trends. ...
  5. Mix textures and metals.

Do Brits wear leggings? ›

To all the ladies, leggings are a must in England. You can wear them with skirts, giant sweaters, or even shorts, but make sure you have at least three pairs. Not only are a fashion staple and the secret to how to look British, but they will they keep you warm on the colder days.

How do English ladies dress? ›

In general day-to-day European style is more dressy than American style. This DOES NOT mean business clothing. When deciding what to wear in England, think dressy top (or the type of top you'd wear to work) plus nice jeans (dark colors are always a good choice). Slim or skinny fit jeans are the preferred denim option.

What colors do the British wear? ›

The color scheme is also more muted. As you might imagine, traditional British country wear tends to come in a natural palette of greens, browns, blues, and other earth tones.

What is a British coat called? ›

The British Warm sits in within a type of coat known collectively as Greatcoats (including also the Ulster and Polo coats) which are characterised by their heavy wool cloths and double breasted styles.

How can I look more British? ›

"If you want to dress British your look should be smart and include some classic pieces," says Little. The obvious thing to invest in is a tailored suit, but he also recommends pairing a trim blazer (in classic fabrics or prints such as tweed, houndstooth, and pinstripe) with a pair of slim-fitting jeans or trousers.

What is smart dress code in UK? ›

The big "no nos" for anywhere with a "smart" or "smart casual" dress code are T-shirts, jeans and trainers (sneakers). Other than that, you'll find most places fairly flexible for women. For men, "smart casual" means trousers (not jeans), proper shoes, and a shirt with a collar. " Smart" means jacket and probably a tie.

Can you wear leggings in London? ›

What do women wear in London? The stereotypical dress sense for women in London could be anywhere from dark jeans and a nice blouse to a cozy, oversized sweaters, leggings and knee high boots to a cardigan and a dress with tights and flats.

What should a 70 year old woman wear? ›

In your 70s, it's a good rule of thumb to avoid looking too prim, too girly, or preppy. However, it's the perfect time to experiment with arty styles like tailored sweater coats, wide-leg pants, unusual clutches, and colorful patterns.

What should I wear if I am over 65? ›

Choose classic clothes over trendy and bold prints. Highly creative cuts and patterns are difficult to style and combine into different fashionable outfits. Pick clothes that you can easily mix and match and wear for a long time. Prefer high-quality, timeless, and chic pieces that are also uncomplicated and stylish.

What type of jeans should an older woman wear? ›

Let a bootcut or a flare jean balance your curves

Bootcuts are back, and the long fit-and-flare silhouette suits women with hourglass shapes or generous below-the-waist curves. Look for a stretch denim for control and a contoured waistband for no waist gap when you size up for hips, thighs and derriere.

What not to wear after 60? ›

Fashion for women over 60: What not to wear
  • Floor-length floral printed dresses.
  • Muumuus (unless they are for lounging around the house)
  • Long (ankle length), unstructured, A-line skirts.
  • Elastic-waist pants that make everyone look like a balloon.
  • Unstructured pants and suits.
  • Large, oversized t-shirts.

How do you dress classy without looking old? ›

How to Dress Classy and Elegant
  1. Wear the right fit. ...
  2. Choose the right colors. ...
  3. Wear the right materials. ...
  4. Say hello to classy outfits. ...
  5. Avoid overexposing at work. ...
  6. Wear classic accessories. ...
  7. Wear chic undergarments. ...
  8. Don't forget shoes.
Nov 21, 2021

How do I not dress like a tourist in England? ›

Ladies, go for jeans and a button-down top. A dress with leggings plus a sweater and light jacket is also a great choice. Gentlemen, try a sweater over a button-down with a pair of fitted jeans or trousers.

What are pants to Brits? ›

In the UK, pants are women's undergarments. You might also call pants "knickers" or "underwear." In most English-speaking countries, the garments you wear under your clothing are known as undies, underpants, or panties, but in the UK, they're pants — especially when they're worn by girls or women.

Do British people wear jeans? ›

Yes, Jeans are acceptable in United Kingdom and also in other major countries of the world.

What shoes do people wear in London? ›

Most people wear tennis shoes in London or any fashionable boots. You may also love to bring something with elevation to prevent wet conditions. Choose calf-height and ankle boots for the winter. When there is heavy rain, rubber bootie will work well especially if you're exploring the city on foot.

What is Britain's national color? ›

The national colours of the United Kingdom are usually identified as the combination of red, white and blue in that order. These colours are the same as in the flag of the United Kingdom.

What colour is lucky in England? ›

In the UK, Ireland and the US, green is often considered to be a lucky colour because of its association with four-leafed clovers and leprechauns.

Why do Brits wear red? ›

Once a year in November, British people (royals included) honor fallen troops by wearing a crimson poppy. A century-old tradition, the flower has now come to symbolize hope and gratitude.

What do Brits call shorts? ›

The British English term, short trousers, is used, only for shorts that are a short version of ordinary trousers (i.e., pants or slacks in American English).

What do Brits call swimsuits? ›

You might call it a bathing suit. We also say swimsuit and cozzy.

What do British people call sweaters? ›

In British English, the term jumper describes what is called a sweater in American English. Also, in more formal British usage, a distinction is made between a pinafore dress and a pinafore. The latter, though a related garment, has an open back and is worn as an apron.

What is the most attractive accent in Britain? ›

So, want to know which region came top? It was the 'Welsh accent', whatever that is, with 20 points. This was closely followed by the Yorkshire accent, with a total of 15. The top five was rounded out by the West Country (13), Newcastle (10) and Northern Ireland (five).

What does the average Brit look like? ›

Brits are known for their fair skin and inability to tan. A high proportion, around 86%, of the UK is white, whilst the remaining proportion is made up of Asian, black and mixed ethnicities.

How do I get a British tone? ›

5 Tips to Nailing a British RP Accent
  1. Get the period right. British accents have changed a lot through the decades. ...
  2. Drop the R. Listen to what Brits do with the letter 'r'; it gets dropped, but not all the time. ...
  3. Add the R. ...
  4. Practice those vowels. ...
  5. Lean into it.
May 6, 2019

How to dress like a Londoner? ›

The stereotypical dress sense for women in London could be anywhere from dark jeans and a nice blouse to a cozy, oversized sweaters, leggings and knee high boots to a cardigan and a dress with tights and flats. What is this?

What should I wear to the Kibbe Classic? ›

A Soft Classic is still first and foremost a Classic, therefore your clothing lines should be clean, unbroken, and symmetrical, with waist emphasis. Aim for smooth, soft, symmetrical silhouettes with slight shaping. Gently flowing lines that flare or swirl and smooth, horizontal, or diagonal draping are great.


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