We’d all recognise a true Scottish chap from his distinctive kilt blowing (not too high though, we hope) in the highland winds, we would easily distinguish the characteristically eye catching bright colours and gracefulness of the sari as an integral part of Indian life, and who wouldn’t be on familiar terms with colourful serapes or scarves, big sombreros and embroidered shirts marking out a Mexican (el) torero from a mile away (with or without the accompanying bull; Andale Andale!).
But what about the rest of the world?
Can we differentiate between a Frenchman and an Englishman via their attire? Would you know a German gentleman purely from his sense of style? Would you recognise a charming Italian signora (ahem, lady) from the way she put her outfit together? How do other countries that don’t wear a traditional costume mark out their individualism through the way they dress, and are there any differences between us all in terms of what floats our boat fashion wise?
We got in touch with 9 of our favourite fashion bloggers from all around the world to get them to let us in on their fashion secrets, and what styles are typical of their home countries… Part one below, enjoy!
Who: Omari McNeil
Omari is a life & style blogger and recent masters graduate living in Southern California.
Where are you from: USA
Let me start by saying, there is no easy way to classify fashion across all of the United States simply due to the weather differences and style influences that vary from coast to coast.
But in my opinion, the key to classic American style is the merger of luxury and simplicity. Think about it, we’ve successfully learned how to make jeans a staple in every wardrobe and completely suitable for any occasion, casual or dressy.
I think of it this way; the goal when getting dressed is to be put together and polished while showing you don’t take fashion rules too seriously. If you see a Hollywood starlet, she’ll look perfectly polished until you reach her head, which will be the most perfectly dishevelled hairstyle – don’t ask me why or how, but it just works.
We’re all about bringing a little fun to every style moment.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t resort to a classic t-shirt and jeans look, and at this point you could’ve guessed; we’ve perfected how to make t-shirts fashionable and perfect for formal wear as well. So there you have it, the United States; land of T-shirts, jeans, dishevelled hair, and a good time.
Who: Jamie Daniel
Jamie is a 24 year old politics graduate currently working in retail management on Oxford Street, London.
Where are you from: England
You can’t get more British than a classic long-line trench coat, championed by iconic British brand Burberry the trench has become as quintessentially British as the brand itself. Originating as a key piece of uniform during the First World War it has become a modern example of a timeless wardrobe necessity that is effortlessly stylish.
The thing I love about trench coats is their ability to stand the test of time, over 100 years strong and their iconic design remains unchanged yet completely desirable. Burberry has managed to propel the trench coat to an almost cult like status, it has become an aspirational item that represents style and sophistication.
Tweed is without a doubt the most quintessentially British fabric used in fashion, for over 200 years the Scottish cloth has played a prominent part of fashion within the United Kingdom and further afield. A long-time favourite of the British elite tweed has filtered down on to the high street over the past thirty years; it has recently seen a huge resurgence in popularity hitting the runway in many A/W14 collections. Once used solely for suiting and outerwear it has become more versatile recently especially within menswear, there’s definitely a big future for tweed.
The origins of skinny jeans are rather disputed with countries all over the world claiming responsibility for their creating, however Britain has the most legitimate claim given the punk rock revolution of the 1970’s that catapulted skinny jeans to their currently cult status. Bands such as the Sex Pistols created a grungy appeal to skinny jeans that made them cool and trendy, the constant association between the jeans and global bands have ensured their continued popularity. The indie trend is a global phenomenon and it has its British roots to thank, and so do skinny jeans.
No man’s wardrobe is complete without a solid collection of shoes after all ‘shoes maketh the man’ apparently. No shoe is more versatile than the trusty brogue, an absolute wardrobe necessity with a history dating back over 200 years. Characterised by the perforated wings that span the side of the shoe brogues are easily recognisable around the world. I think brogues owe their continued success to their versatility and adaptability; they still look perfect with a crisp suit but look just as good with a pair of skinny jeans and plain white T. For me they are my go to shoe no matter the outfit or the season.
Who: Manuel Pires
Manuel is a designer/architect and C.E.O & blogger of www.ArcStreet.com webzine that he created. He also worked as an illustrator for various projects and magazines before starting his own blog.
Where are you from: France
The essence of fashion design in France is all about elegance, as said Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent. An elegance that we do not necessarily find in garments, but more in the attitude we have every day. It’s an elegance of heart and mind that gives you this little touch, this little “je ne sais quoi” that is also style. It is also cultural; an intelligent & elegant culture that gives you the substance to succeed.
In France, we are not ‘fashionistas’ but people with a subtle attitude, guardians of a certain sobriety and good taste. We do not need to dress with very fine couturiers fabrics; it is a question of structure and specially composition as well in architecture. We have no need for the “bling bling” ostentatious style, because with a little nothing you can create great looks.
No doubt, “simplicity is the keynote of true elegance”. We just need specific lines, sober shapes, and a strong gesture from the designer which can sometimes take a lot of courage. All of these elements are essential for a sublime design.
More than fashion, that is not necessarily very important for French people, I’m still convinced that style and attitude are the correct words.
You can have beautiful clothes, but if you do not have personality and attitude then you have no style.
With attitude, you can mix a great designer fabric with a cheap & basic element that can be bought for 10 euros, and the result will be perfect. “Fashion is what goes out of fashion”, constantly revisited, there is no real trend but style proposals, and it’s only with your creativity and attitude (personality) that you can make & transforms simple fabrics in great design. That’s what French people like to do, more than fashion – that is a word that means nothing to us.
As a French man I love sobriety. For that reason I wear some pieces from ami by Alexandre mattiussi, A.P.C, Givenchy, Balenciaga and sometimes fabrics from women’s-wear collections to complete the look and give a versatile touch! I love the accessories of Maison Martin Margiela. Now I’m focusing on European fashion designers also. I love the work of Alexandra Moura, Ricardo Dourado and Pedro Pedro (Portugal), David Delfin (Spain), Astrid Andersen, J W Anderson and Christopher Shannon (UK) and a lot of French ones!
Who: Victoria Simpson
Victoria is an Arts & Business Graduate who also holds an Image Consulting certificate from George Brown College for Fashion Techniques and design.
Where are you from: Canada
No, we don’t live in igloos. No, we don’t have beavers as pets. No, it’s not below -40°C all year round. The truth is, Canada has four very different seasons, all of which are beautiful in their own right. Another bonus is that we get to quadruple our wardrobe to dress for each season. Sounds heavenly, right?! It is!
In the fall, Canadians tend to layer up with a few tops, either a leather jacket or sweater (or both!), and a scarf. Our pants are usually tucked away into our boots, and we may wear a toque and mitts. This is probably a season favourite among Canadians because it leads to the most versatility in terms of style.
In the winter, Canadian stereotypes tend to make an appearance – parkas, toques, mitts, scarves and boots. Why? To avoid frostbite, that’s why! This is the season that can get brutally cold in Canada (depending what province/city you live in – Vancouver doesn’t usually drop much below 0°C).
This is also the season we get a little patriotic. Come to Canada in the winter and you’ll see a lot of red mitts with Canadian flags on them. In the spring, Canadians are eager to shed the layers because +5°C feels like +30°C when you’ve just gone through a cold winter. Weird, I know…but it’s a fact. Boots tend to disappear and are replaced with flats or loafers, and parkas and wool coats are retired to make room for lighter jackets and trench coats.
In the summer, Canadians are the most relaxed and casual. It can get really hot during this season (sometimes around 30°C), so the less clothes the better. Shorts, light tops, skirts for the girls, flip flops, and flats are very common. Colours tend to be brighter, and fabrics tend to be lighter. The many seasons and cultures in Canada create for exciting fashion all year round; however, we are most known for parkas, toques, Canadian tuxedos (denim on denim) and plaid. These are all stereotypes that hold true to Canada and we welcome them with open arms!