During these long winter months, when the ground is icy and the sun shows little sign of appearing, the English have honed a tried-and-true approach to imaginative cold-weather dressing. Channeled recently by brands including Gucci and Chloé, the look is an artful balance of practical outdoorsy pieces — quilted jackets, tweed suiting, sturdy sweaters — and whimsical touches, such as Laura Ashley florals and oversize velvet hair bows. Here, taking cues from the recent collections, we break down 10 ways to reimagine your winter wardrobe in a more romantic, and distinctly British, light.
1. A Tartan Suit
Traditionally Scottish but beloved by the English, tartan is always in season, and it made notable appearances in the recent resort collections by Gucci, Erdem and Fendi. The tailored silhouette of this wool skirt suit gives the traditional checked fabric a youthful look.
2. A Saddle Bag
Named for the leather panniers slung across a horse’s back, this equestrian-inspired handbag style is now a classic shape, thanks to brands such as Chloé and Dior, which both create new versions each season.
3. Riding Boots
Equally practical for the stable or the subway, a sturdy pair of leather boots is indispensable year round, but especially in the colder, wetter months.
4. Fanciful Pearl Earrings
A piece of pearl jewelry always adds a romantic and elegant note to a look. These three pearl earrings each put a whimsical spin on a classic style.
5. A Velvet Hair Bow
Accessorizing your hair is an unexpected way to elevate a look, and an oversize bow, like this soft velvet version, is especially charming.
6. A Modern Fair Isle Knit
A cozy knit is a necessity as the temperatures drop. Try a sweater with a subtly colorful pattern, like this Tory Burch pullover, a modern take on a traditional Scottish Fair Isle knit.
7. A Layered Floral Dress
Printed prairie dresses are easy, airy and suitable for both summer and winter (just add boots and tights). Alexander McQueen and Gucci have both showcased them in recent seasons; this multitiered look by the latter brand recalls the ditsy prints of the beloved British designer Laura Ashley.
8. A Practical Quilted Coat
Originally made for country pursuits — most notably by the traditional British brand Barbour — quilted coats are now a (mercifully practical) fashion trend, as seen in the resort collections of Calvin Klein and Burberry.
9. A Ruffled Skirt
A long, layered skirt is modest without being stuffy and can be styled in myriad ways. In the winter, try it with a cozy knit sweater and tights.
10. A Victorian Blouse
A crisp white blouse with a ruffled front always feels fresh. This dramatically billowing top by Antonio Berardi calls to mind frilly 19th-century shirting, while Chloé and Gucci have versions with a more subtle ruffle.