From the Rococo frills of Georgian men’s fashion to modern London’s mod looks and sharp tailoring, British menswear has always been revolutionary. From aristocracy and royalty to street style and punk, England has produced some of the world’s most enduring sartorial icons.
In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through centuries of men’s fashion in Britain, exploring all the traditions that have shaped our nation’s distinctive style—from Red Coats and top hats to Skinheads and rave culture. Let’s dive into the distinctive dress sense of English gentlemen throughout history!
Sticking to the Rules
If you conduct searching on “British Men’s Style” online, What you will discover are a variety of rules which have also been discussed in numerous articles published by The Gentleman’s Gazette; these vary from the basic of how many buttons to put on your jacket, to the length of a tie that should be, to the number of shirt cuffs to wear.
These rules and guidelines and their strict compliance are typical of the British manner of life. It’s part of the same culture, which is the reason for British respect for manners and manners and the existence of an established class system. In the case that “Manners maketh man”, according to the lyrics of Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” we can conclude that the manners of people also affect the way of dressing.
Therefore, if you notice people expressing their displeasure over a violation of the style code in a comment section on the internet, be aware that you are witnessing the direct impact of the British importance of proper attire.
The result is that adhering to fashion guidelines will result in a higher degree of formality. If you want to be appropriate and formal in your attire, you shouldn’t allow the back edge of your tie to hang lower than the front or not button down your collar the way you would like. These examples of sprezzatura don’t conform to classic British fashion.
Greater Structure in Clothes
In our discussion between British and Italian suits, The tailoring originating from the UK is typically more structured. This means shoulders on suits generally have padding that creates a shape that is not similar to the natural shoulder. This kind of structure can be seen in dresses you’ll buy at Jermyn Street or Savile Row in London and have more rigid collars that tend to be more on the firmer side instead of rolling softly. To quote Spiderman With more structure is more formal (see below).
The structure is also evident in layering, typically wearing a waistcoat. It is more common to wear a three-piece suit and an “odd” (unmatching) vest. It’s “structured” because the wearer must put together the outfit and arrange the patterns and colours across the layers, such as an all-over sport coat that has the pattern of a vest and a tie in neutral tones.
Regarding men’s style, the UK has a long and celebrated tradition of great taste. From a fashion-forward perspective, British men often look to classic, timeless pieces that easily transition from occasion to occasion or season to season.
The go-to look includes a crisp white shirt paired with a gold tie (customarily appropriate for daytime events) or a black necktie (perfect for nighttime). With these timeless pieces as the foundation of their wardrobe, Brits can have fun layering other pieces and adding pops of colour for an overall polished and effortless aesthetic.
Whether looking for inspiration in menswear or paying homage to the beautiful traditions of iconic British style, looking to England and its neighbours will put you on the right track!
Dressing for the Weather
British weather can be described as notoriously bad for just one reason rain. While Scandinavian men may be able to dress for winter’s long cold snaps, the men of the UK are proficient at looking stylish despite constantly rainy weather.
You’ll likely find more large umbrellas, Barbour jackets made of waxed cotton (even worn over suits), and headwear, including flat caps and Wellies. I won’t discuss the appeal of Wellies paired with suits; however, a significant part of classic British fashion is practicality, which may require fashion sacrifice.