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Differences between British and American fashion

(209 Posts)
VintageRainBoots Tue 16-Oct-12 18:00:25

Hi, all.

I'm new around here. Currently, I'm in Los Angeles, but my husband recently accepted a job in Guildford and we're in the process of moving to the UK.

I'm curious about the differences between American and British fashion tastes. For example, I've heard that British women tend to wear clothing closer to the body (i.e., more fitted) than American women; is this true? I could certainly see how it could be the case. "Baggy" clothing, especially t-shirts, are commonplace in the US. Few people bother to get their clothes tailored unless they're work clothes (e.g., suits for the office).

Also, Americans tend to dress quite casually (e.g., blue jeans and t-shirts), though I avoid t-shirts myself. In addition, people in the US tend to wear lots of "active" clothing, like yoga or jogging pants, even when they're not exercising! Is that done in the UK?

Finally, I have a closet full of Ralph Lauren polo shirts in a rainbow of colours (my berry coloured polo is my favourite!) and a large number of casual trousers (e.g., khakis and cargo pants). Would I stand out as the obvious Yank in such attire?

And, just for fun, what makes an American stand out as an American? Like, when you see someone walking down the street and you can just tell that they're American...what is it that they're doing/wearing that makes them us stand out?

lisaro Tue 16-Oct-12 18:09:49

Your clothes sound fine but not yoga(?) or jogging pants as casual wear.
Your other question - how do some (not all, granted) Americans stand out? Err volume is a common one. Not actually realising they have left the USA ie trying to pay in dollars. But lots are lovely, I'm sure you'll be fine.

Mooq Tue 16-Oct-12 18:14:44

Amercians are more likely to have bleached teeth, big hair and brightly-coloured clothes (from my experience of living in Hollywood and San Francisco).

Other than that, it's all pretty much the same, I think.

expatinscotland Tue 16-Oct-12 18:15:33

Neither one of them has any fashion sense.

Mooq Tue 16-Oct-12 18:18:14

American men's dress-sense is a bit 'loud', compared with Brits.

I agree that neither nationality is as stylish as some European countries!

Mooq Tue 16-Oct-12 18:18:54

Oh, and a lot of American men have a penchant for side partings. I never understood this!

mathanxiety Tue 16-Oct-12 18:19:23

A lot of British people wear clothes that only black people would wear in the US. There is a tendency on the part of younger, more middle class women to wear converse sneakers and a sort of peter pan style of dressing, involving top, skirt, teenage type jeans, studiously undone hairdo, worn with converse, boots, other non-reebok-ish footwear. Many older women in the UK dress much younger than older women in the US do.

Look at the difference between LLBean and Boden and you will get a flavour of what you're in for. You would stand out as LLBean with your particular wardrobe. Get some skinny jeans and some funky looking tops, scarves, necklaces, dresses, boots to be worn with dresses. Look for darker colours than you would necessarily feel like wearing in CA. The British put more effort into accessorising and seem more dressed up as a result even when dressed casually.

What makes an American stand out is khaki pants, hair that looks well tended and thicker than everyone else's, light coloured sneakers, in fact wearing sneakers out at all apart from when exercising, wearing clothes that their middle aged mother might also wear....

ToastedTeacakes Tue 16-Oct-12 18:22:45

I'm waiting for the Parisian thing to derail this thread entirely. grin

cocolepew Tue 16-Oct-12 18:23:34

You're leaving LA to come to Guilford shock?

lisaro Tue 16-Oct-12 18:26:32

To be fair mathanxiety I've never seen an adult female dress like that. It's a ten age phenomenon. Expat is correct-none of us are stylish in a chic way.

aladdinsane Tue 16-Oct-12 18:29:21

Its the teeth and large camera that makes them stand out for me
I visited a friend and was looking at photos of her grandkids displayed on the wall. I could pick out the US grandkids easily- I needed sunglasses to look at the even, white teeth

VintageRainBoots Tue 16-Oct-12 18:43:41

mathanxiety: Yes, I'm totally LLBean. I can't even count the number of LLBean (and Ralph Lauren) items in my closet. And khakis, and chinos, and cargo pants, and...

I do have three pairs of skinny jeans (black, grey, and blue) that I purchased recently. I've double-checked, and everyone agrees that I can successfully pull them off (which can't be safely assumed, no matter what your age, when you're a mum!).

I also recently purchased a raincoat ("mac"?)...from LLBean, of course. I considered getting a Burberry one, but thought that might make it seem like I'm trying too hard to fit in wink.

As far as shoes are concerned, I have a penchant for leather, collegiate-style loafers. Hubby hates them, though. He calls them "old man shoes." Any recommendations for sensible (read: cozy) relatively flat shoes? I'm 5'9" tall, about 175cm...I don't need to be any taller.

I already have some LLBean rain boots---I can't part with them, even if they do make me look like an American tourist grin---but no ordinary boots. (Speaking of boots, Uggs are huge here in the US, but I can't stand them...there's no way I'm going to wear Uggs).

Also, what's up with Per Una? In the what-does-your-mum-wear thread, lots of ladies confessed that their mums wear Per Una, but it didn't sound like a good thing.

Francagoestohollywood Tue 16-Oct-12 18:46:21

Oh dear, baggy clothing is what actually imho makes Americans stand out... grin

VintageRainBoots Tue 16-Oct-12 18:47:09

Yes, cocolepew, we're leaving L.A. to move to Guildford. We've been in L.A. for about 7 years now, and I'm very happy to leave. I hate all the sunshine in Southern California and the lack of seasons. It almost never rains here, one of the reasons I didn't already have a rain coat ("mac")! It may sound silly, but I'm so excited to live in a place that regularly gets rain.

Francagoestohollywood Tue 16-Oct-12 18:48:30

OK, OP: no Burberries, please. And step away from Per Una!

Swap loafers for brogues, they are quite stylish at the moment.

OctaviaBrennan Tue 16-Oct-12 18:50:52

Hi OP, you know the 'Desert Wear' style that's rather popular in the Indian Wells/Palm Desert type of place - well that's what Per Una reminds me of smile

VintageRainBoots Tue 16-Oct-12 18:51:27

Franca, I can live with brogues, I think. Thanks for the recommendation.

Also, what's so bad about Burberry? Burberry is very big here in our neck of the woods (Brentwood in west Los Angeles); I assumed it would be at least as popular in the UK...

Schrodingershamster Tue 16-Oct-12 18:52:47

Brits have fashions , Americans seem to have a general casual syle that takes on what Brits have been wearing for years.

noddyholder Tue 16-Oct-12 18:53:11

NY women are very polished and stylish

EdgarAllanPond Tue 16-Oct-12 18:53:48

"top, skirt, teenage type jeans, studiously undone hairdo, worn with converse, boots, other non-reebok-ish footwear"


jeans {check}
fitted top {check}
skate-style adidas {check}

hair....{double check}

i hate being a cliche.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Oct-12 18:54:53

Ralph Lauren polo shirts with khakis or cargo pants --> screams "American"!

Wait until you get to England - there are shops there!

Francagoestohollywood Tue 16-Oct-12 18:55:59

Nothing is wrong with Burberry, but I have never seen anyone wearing a Burberry in 8 yrs I lived there. I think Burberry might sort of give you a class connotation, but I hope that genuinely British people will correct me!

I agree with Noddy that lots of women in NYC are very stylish. But then NYC is not the US. Or at least that's what is said.

Francagoestohollywood Tue 16-Oct-12 18:56:42

(for "I lived there I meant Britain)

Francagoestohollywood Tue 16-Oct-12 18:57:34

Yes, there is plenty of shops in Britain... it will be fun finding your fav ones!

Sneepy Tue 16-Oct-12 18:58:09

Keep your rain boots. You'll need them. In fact, keep your whole wardrobe until you get here then see what you feel comfortable in! Guildford and surrounding areas are teeming with Americans (like me) and people from all over really.

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