I have never felt more alive and more under dressed. A little under a week ago I arrived in the United Kingdom to study abroad and have been noticing the differences between my fashion and others’ fashion. For anyone that knows me, this will come as a complete shock, as I am usually being told off for dressing “too nice” for any given occasion. Prior to coming to the U.K., I had heard rumors about how fashionable Brits were, and I can honestly confirm those rumors are true.
Chester, England is an utterly quaint and historic city of about 77,000 people, known for it’s ancient Roman architecture, decadent Cheshire cheese and diverse retail scene. I have already popped into a number of European retailers such as Zara, Topshop and Asos, and it is evident that the British caliber of dress on any given day is quite a bit higher than Fargo, North Dakota.
Even in the few days that I’ve been living in Chester, I’ve noticed quite a few fashion hacks/trends that I absolutely love/want to incorporate into my everyday style. Among the many trends included are cocoon coats, faux fur accents, oriental inspired garments and the classic mini skirt.
Just to clarify, these fashion trends are not specific to, nor did they necessarily originate, in the U.K. However, I do see diversity within fashion, specifically high fashion, being more readily accepted here in Chester.
1. Cocoon coat
Essentially, a cocoon coat is an egg-shaped jacket that typically has a wide collar and tapers in very slightly just above the knee. Although it sounds incredibly unflattering, the straight line of the jacket elongates the body, giving the whole look a sleek and sophisticated vibe. Because they resemble a long blazer, many people wear them causally both inside for style and outdoors for an extra layer of warmth. These jackets can be found online at Asos, Topshop, New Look and Zara.
2. Faux fur
Faux fur is honestly everywhere in the U.K. Although it can be worn in full jacket form, it is most commonly seen as an accent on winter, trench, bomber and leather jackets. This guilt-free accessory also adds some extra insulation for the cold winter months and can be casually worn throughout autumn. It is more common for people to dress up in slacks, dresses or skirts here in the U.K. Also, it is more acceptable to see people being a bit more radical within their fashion choices, hence the faux fur fixation.
3. Oriental inspired garments
Although oriental inspired pieces have been trending throughout the past few seasons, it seems to be more commonly accepted throughout major retailers this season. Floral embroidery, wrapped garments, silk, dragon embellishments and pajama-inspired garments are all components of this eastern inspired look. The key to mastering this bold look is to incorporate these accents in small doses. Try pairing a wrap dress with a silk scarf or throw on an embellished blouse with a pair of high-waisted skinny jeans.
4. The classic mini skirt
It is so easy to tuck in your favorite sweater to any neutral mini skirt, and now you instantly have a “smart” look without trying too hard. Mini skirts are also a great college investment, as they are usually fairly affordable (Forever 21, Target or H&M are your best bet), and you can easily transition them from summer to winter. Even if you’re feeling a bit lazy (as most college kids could attest to), try layering your mini skirt with an over-sized sweater and some tights for a very relaxed, comfortable look.