Style

Socks and sandals: they must be British.

sock/sandalIn the eyes of the world Brits seem to have in inimitable sense of style, for reasons both good and bad. In recent years Britain, and London in particular, has been lauded by fashions finest as the world’s most stylish city, be it for the casual experimentation on the street, or for the innovation of up and coming designers.

However, one immaculately manicured and bejewelled hand may hold fashion’s finest, but in the other hand we find the chipped nail varnish and watch-stap tan lines of non-fashionista Britain: those that still resolutely wear socks and sandals when abroad, maybe with a battered straw handbag and peaked cap to match. This style comes into it’s own in the (normally) fleeting summer weather, when many Brits find themselves quite lost by the thought that they might not need a raincoat. It’s style like this that makes Brit-spotting abroad so much fun – ask anyone in a tourist resort, and chances are they would be able to spot a Brit a mile off. Lucky us…

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However, while it might be easy to spot a Brit abroad, looking at what the locals wear can be equally fascinating. It’s by looking at their outfits that you realise how many little things are different to how people dress in England. Walk down the promenade in a Spanish city and certain trends and themes seem slowly to emerge.  Where the English hold a tendency for more muted tones and patterns, the Spanish don’t shy away from the daring. The streets are awash with blindingly bright colours, combined into eye-watering, mesmeric patterns. Clashing seems no issue and prints are worn together with a confidence and flare that would be difficult on a slightly drizzly day in the midlands. Geometric pink and green squares are teamed with polkadots, pinks with reds, and reds with more reds! Things that seem absurd written down are just done. No problem, it just works. The more daring items that might raise an eyebrow in Zara suddenly make a lot more sense.

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The world of high fashion may be blurring boundaries between cultures, with people wearing the same designer items from Shanghai to Berlin. However, with such a variety of personal style beyond the boundaries of fashion magazines there is, and hopefully will remain, a distinction between each of us as to who would buy what.

Harriet Brown

Image: maryrpamintuan

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