Here in Britain, we’re fortunate to have one of the most eclectic fashion scenes out there. From punk to polish, Dr. Martens to twinsets, so broad is the term “British style” it’s difficult for even us to pinpoint. But that’s what we love about it. After all, fashion is one of the most readily available forms of self-expression, and we don’t think anyone should be limited to one aesthetic.
Still, some pieces feel undeniably British—aka staples that can be found in just about every Brit wardrobe, whatever the other items hanging alongside them may look like. Assemble them, and what do you get? Twelve absolutely British fashion essentials, all of which can be worn in a multitude of ways.
Scroll below to see how some of our favourite UK-based influencers style them and shop the pieces you need to complete your own Brit capsule wardrobe.
1. THE TRENCH COAT
Style Notes: Come rain or shine, the timeless trench coat makes for the perfect Brit-weather cover-up. Worn over everything from ripped jeans to sequin dresses, there’s always a time and a place for a trench coat.
2. THE WHITE SHIRT
Style Notes: Perhaps the most classic piece on our list, white shirting is on regular rotation in Brit closets. It has the power to elevate whatever you wear on your bottom half, which comes in especially handy for the days where leggings and trainers is all you can muster.
3. THE MBD
Style Notes: The MBD (that’s, midi black dress) is often overshadowed by statement frocks, but Brit dressers know there’s little that looks chicer. It’s the piece we can rely on for everything, from weddings to cocktails out, making it the ideal item to don on a whim.
4. STRAIGHT-LEG JEANS
Style Notes: When it comes to denim, we like to keep things simple—a pair of blue-wash straight jeans is all Brits need. Sure, there are plenty of trends to try, which help break up the daily monotony, but we’ll always come back to straight-leg jeans.
5. THE BLACK ROLL-NECK
Style Notes: Layering is integral to British styling, and nothing is more versatile than the black roll-neck. Worn on their own, under lightweight tops, or paired with sleek blazers, nothing has the ability to help you look as chic and keep you as toasty as one.
6. THE SUIT
Style Notes: Brits gravitate toward pieces that provide easy outfit options, which is why the two-piece suit remains so integral to our style. Thrown on with little thought needed other than shoes, it also keeps us warmer in the autumn months than perhaps a dress or skirt would.
7. THE LAYERING NECKLACE
Style Notes: No outfit is complete without the personal touch of jewellery, and layering necklaces are the perfect solution. Sported more regularly by Brit girls than anyone else, we seem to have the art of necklace curation down.
8. THE PLEATED SKIRT
Style Notes: We don’t know why, but we see more pleated skirts on home soil than we do anywhere else. The elegant style is regularly sported by the style set, who often wear them with strappy sandals and racer-back vests for night, or chunky knits and loafers during the day.
9. THE LEATHER BIKER
Style Notes: Tapping into our rock ‘n’ roll heritage, biker jackets have been a firm fixture in Brit wardrobes for decades. So integral are they to British style, that many brides opt to wear them on their wedding days—myself being one of them.
10. THE CABLE-KNIT
Style Notes: Classic cable-knit jumpers are essential for keeping the chill at bay, whatever the time of year, though British girls wear them repeatedly during the winter months. Right now, we’re seeing so many different iterations hitting the shops—go for a timeless sweater or look for details such as zip necklines to give them a modern update.
11. THE LOAFER
Style Notes: It may have originated in Norway, but Brit women have adopted the loafer, using it to add polish to jeans and dresses. Whether your budget is on the shy side, or you have some spare cash to spend, you’re sure to find a pair to suit you.
12. THE WHITE T-SHIRT
Style Notes: While it might not be solely British, no one embraces the simple white tee quite like we do, making it an integral part of our looks as opposed to a mere foundation piece.
Next: Small But Mighty: 31 Pieces From the Coolest British Brands
This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated.