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British vs. American Style – Observations from a British Girl Abroad

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A few months ago, I left the University of Birmingham (in England) behind to spend a semester studying abroad in Minnesota, USA.

As you can imagine, studying abroad in America has given me a bit of culture shock. But it’s also been an eye-opening experience. Over the past few months, I’ve spent some time soaking up American fashion and observing how it differs from what we wear in England. And today, I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

Before I get started, I want to point a few things out. First, while I have done lots of research, most of the information is based on my own experiences. Second, most of the research I came across on this subject was very, very stereotypical and because of that, parts of this post may follow suit. Finally, keep in mind that I am studying abroad in a northern Minnesota city. While I love it here, I know it is not the fashion capital of the world. I know fashion differs from state to state, and I’m sure what I see here in Minnesota is a world away from what I’d see in New York.

So, to sum it up, I know there are many, many exceptions to these ideas, and this article is not meant to suggest that everyone in either country dresses the same way. I’m not trying to lump people into categories – my aim is simply to lay out the overarching style themes I have noticed while studying abroad here in the US.

British and american flags
Photo Credit

Emma Watson hit the nail on the head when she said, of British Style:

“It’s so funny because now that I’m in America, I’m more able to define it. Before I didn’t have an awareness of another style.”

This was precisely how I felt when coming to the US. I’d heard that our high street was famous around the world, but as I would shop there on an almost weekly basis, I had no idea that it was so special. I’d heard of fashion elsewhere was different and we were much more eclectic and unexpected in England. But I didn’t realize how different fashion would be until I got to the US.

British Style Basics

British fashion has always been acclaimed for its “fearlessness” and Brits are famed for their individual sense of style. We’re often described as having a “thrown-on” feel to what we wear. We mix prints, patterns and styles and many girls pull this off effortlessly.

In my experience, the key to British style is never looking too polished. The festival look is popular year-round – think bed-head hair and vintage-style pieces. Also, as Emma Watson said in that same interview, we’re governed by the weather in this country. We wear our skirts and shorts with black opaque tights, and flip flops are replaced with plimsolls. Colleen was definitely right when she said British style is “girly but definitely has an edge to it”. This is how I would categorize British style, and my own personal style, too.

British Style Key Pieces

British style basics
floral dress/striped top/plimsolls/trench/leather jacket/blazer/ shorts/tights/pearls/ boots/rain boots/scarf

I didn’t realize until after I’d made this collage, but you could easily mix and match nearly all the items here. The floral dress could be worn with the trench or the blazer or the leather jacket – florals and leather are a popular combination in England. The dress could be worn with tights and boots or tights and plimsolls – or even the rain boots.

If you want more info on British fashion staples, make sure you check out this list of 50 Things Every British Girl Should Own. The tea dress is a style staple – even better if it’s vintage!

British Style Icons

Carey Mulligan

Carey mulligan attends the premiere of "wall street: money never sleeps"
Photo: Pacific Coast News

Recently voted the best dressed woman of 2010 by Harper’s Bazaar, British actress Carey Mulligan mixes classic ’50s chic with modern designer pieces. And her style is all her own – she famously turned down Anna Wintour’s advice to wear a short dress to the Oscars. Carey’s style is tailored, yet ladylike, and her daytime style is simple but eclectic.

Alexa Chung

Alexa chung on the red carpet prior to the elle style awards in london
Photo: Pacific Coast News

Alexa exemplifies the archetypal British style – eccentric, fun and edgy. She mixes her girly pieces with tough leather jackets and always looks utterly effortless. Her festival-chic style really demonstrates the just-threw-this-on side of British style.

Kate Moss

The always stylish kate moss treats herself to some retail therapy during paris fashion week
Photo: Pacific Coast News

And what list of stylish Brits would be complete without Kate Moss? The woman who started the skinny jeans and ballet flats trend is always effortlessly stylish, and yet her model-off-duty look is also completely wearable. She is a huge fan of layers, as well as mixing textures and prints.

British Style Shops

In my experience, the most popular stores in England include, of course, the ultra-famous Topshop. But if you’re shopping in England, don’t forget to check out Miss SelfridgeRiver Island and All Saints, plus Primark and New Look for on-trend bargains.

British Style in 5 Steps

1. Layer, layer, layer.
Invest in a few great jackets- especially a leather one and a blazer. Scarves are always a great accessory for keeping you warm as well as stylish. Also, wear tights with everything!

2. Always be prepared for rain!
It rains a lot in England, so if you’re spending some time there, always pack a cute umbrella and make sure your shoes are waterproof!

3. Add edgy pieces to a feminine look.
Wear leather boots with a lace dress, a studded bracelet with a prom dress or a leather jacket over your tea dress. Even after all these years, British Style still has an element of punk left in it.

4. Never look too “done.”
Keep your hair messy or your eye makeup slightly smudgy to get a real festival feel. Don’t worry if you have a run in your tights- wear them anyway! Mix and match unexpected patterns and textures for a “I just threw this on” look.

5. Be brave and have fun!
My favorite thing about British style is that we’re not afraid to have fun with fashion. So wear bright tights instead of black, or pair two loud-print pieces together instead of keeping one simple. Incorporate catwalk trends into your everyday look, and don’t be afraid to rock outlandish items with confidence.

American Style Basics

From what I’ve gathered in my time here, American style is much more classic and much less trend-focused than British style is. The style here is much more casual, comfort-focused, and laid back.

To me, American girls just seem to wear simple pieces with impeccable style. A simple black tank or white t-shirt is always made to look much more interesting with the addition of accessories. Plus, American girls (and guys!) really know how to rock a pair of jeans!

American Style Key Pieces

American style basics
hoodie/plaid shirt/white shirt/blue tank/jeans/shorts/flip flops/cowboy boots/sneakers/tshirt

First and foremost, I have to talk about denim! Americans have a way of wearing jeans so they don’t look like a last resort; they look effortless and casual. I especially love the way American girls dress up jeans with heels and a nice top for a night out!

Above, I chose pieces inspired by clothes I saw on campus here. All the pieces I chose are incredibly versatile and simple, but also cute and classic. Denim shorts seem to be a staple over here in the summer, and of course, the denim jacket is, too. I love that you can do double-denim in a completely cool way, without looking too try-hard! Cowboy boots had to be included, too – we Brits can never seem to wear them without looking like we’re trying to be ironic!

American Style Icons

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer aniston in good spirits after appearing on the popular breakfast show "good morning america" in new york
Photo: Pacific Coast News

Jen’s style is so timeless – it’s simple, yet elegant, and feminine without being too girly. She always looks perfectly polished, whether she is at a premiere or walking her dog. She also always wears classic pieces and chooses dresses that show off her figure, without being too revealing.

Whitney Port

Whitney Port
credit

We all love Whitney’s style because she takes risks without trying too hard. Her look is fun but sophisticated. She loves to mix prints but still has that cool Californian laid-back look, and she can rock a pair of short shorts like none other! Of course, she likes to follow trends, but she knows what suits her and has fun with it.

Katherine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn
Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio (work for hire) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

You College Fashion regulars will know we all love Katharine Hepburn’s style. Her look is a mix of old Hollywood glamour and never-outdated menswear-inspired style. She is the epitome of taking something simple, like a plain white button down, and making it look amazing.

Katie Holmes

Katie holmes looks like a woman on a mission as she exits a building in nyc
Photo: Pacific Coast News

For me, Katie is the epitome of the all-American girl. She doesn’t try to be a style icon, but she makes a fantastic statement in everything she wears. She rocks a casual look better than nearly anyone else! Her style has definitely evolved from awkward teen to Hollywood royalty.

American Style Shops

American Eagle, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Target

American Style in 5 Steps

1. Keep it classic.
Go for simple pieces but make them your own. We have two great posts here and here on wearing a simple plain white tee in unexpected ways. Simple pieces do not have to be boring!

2. Invest in key pieces.
I wrote a piece on the twenty modern classics every girl should own (part one and part two) and I think these pieces are essential to having an easy-to-navigate wardrobe for any occasion. These pieces are the ones you can easily mix and match to create something new and fun, without having to constantly shop. This simplicity is definitely a big aspect of American fashion.

3. Don’t follow every trend.
One thing I love about American style is that everyone seems to be so comfortable in their own style – they know exactly what suits them and how to wear it well. To me, American style is all about finding out what suits you and looking good in it, instead of always being swayed by the catwalks. Of course, experiment with trends, but stay true to yourself and your style.

4. Think simple, laid back, and cute.
Americans get a lot of flack from Europeans about their style being “boring,” but I love its comfortable and effortless simplicity. It’s more about style than fashion here in the US. In America, it’s not so much about what you wear, it’s about the way you wear it.

5. Think (and shop) outside of the box.
The local mall here in Minnesota is an uninspiring array of preppy and plaid, so I love to see girls on campus who dress outside of this. One of the first posts I ever read here at College Fashion was this one, and I also think this one is fab for finding your own style. I have found it’s easy to shop in the same places as everyone else, but I have also found there are amazing items available online in stores you might not have nearby (for instance, Forever 21). So if you find all the stores nearby are too “American” in style, try new places!!

Your thoughts?

What do you think? Are you a British girl loving American style, too? Are the majority of your style influences a different nationality to you? What fashion experiences have you had in other countries? I’d love to hear what you think!

Posted on on November 12, 2010 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , ,

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159 Responses to “British vs. American Style – Observations from a British Girl Abroad”

  1. 1
    November 12th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    This was very interesting to read. It’s nice to know that not all Europeans think we’re slobs! I liked your point about how Americans don’t focus on the runways as much, because I certainly don’t. Runway fashion is often impractical, and it’s not very expressive to copy runway looks. Since you’re only in Minnesota you don’t get to experience the diversity of fashion, because different regions in the US have different feels. Nevertheless great post!

  2. 2
    November 12th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I think the pieces you chose are definitely a very Midwest look. I went to school in Chicago last year, and that was the uniform! You’re right though, I’m from around NYC and the style is very different there. If you ever visit anywhere else in the US, I’d love to see your impression of that area’s style!

  3. 3
    November 12th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    very interesting! I think the American look you pinned down is very college-girl, in its way–college campuses in general tend to be pretty casual places! but I agree on the basic differences between the styles. I noticed this when I studied abroad in Europe.

  4. 4
    November 12th, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I love british style! Yay you used one of my Jen pictures :)

  5. 5
    November 12th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks for this, I’m heading off to study in Pennsylvania in January from my University in England and one of the main things I’ve been worrying about is obviously what to pack. I’m glad to see my style is already very American and casual, whereas I always feel underdressed in jeans and a T-shirt and struggle to stay constantly on trend here in England I feel my style would be much more suited to America now.

  6. 6
    November 12th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I’m from Iowa, and I would say that you’re much more likely to find girls here wearing what you had in the collage for England, rather than what you had posted for the US. Many people in small towns do dress like what you’ve seen in Minnesota, but anyone in a real city has more options (like Forever21). There is a HUGE variety of fashion in the US. And I would say that the posts on CF are a great representation of what we do wear here. Great post though!

  7. 7
    November 12th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Wow, I love this article! I live in the US and I am surprised to see how similar I dress to the British, haha. Which is relieving for me because I will be studying in London next semester and I did not want to stick out like a sore thumb! Thanks for this article!

  8. 8
    November 12th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I am an American but having spent quite a bit of time in the UK I would say you’ve nailed the “typical” styles which girls from each country sport. While I maybe American I certainly feel and dress more British. I would rather mix up my prints, layer clothing, and am always prepared for the rain (where I go to school in the US it rains at least twice a week if not more), plus Topshop is my favorite store! Although the American style which you wrote about is very midwestern, I appricate that you actually like our style (it seems like most Europeans don’t)! However, I also think their are some of us who do love to defy stereotypes- I mean I’ve always felt a bit overdressed in the states but in England I fit in completely. Great post and looking forward to reading what your observations are on living in the states, being British, ect. :)

  9. 9
    November 12th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    AMAZING POST! Although, depending on the place you go in the US, the style is very different. I went to an artsy high school so we definitely tended more to the girly punk and alternative/grunge than plaid abercrombie shirts (although there were lots of those around too). Loved all of the british looks and the ensemble you put together! I’m looking forward to reading your posts!

  10. 10
    November 12th, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Eh, I’m up in Boston, and that’s basically the staple, good jeans and well fitted T’s which you can dress up or down depending on the occasion, what’s nice about it is that its very body conscious in some ways…its all about how style and fit work for you and your body.

  11. 11
    November 12th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I love this article! I’m from germany but I spend one year going to high school in Texas, so I got a pretty good impression of those two styles. I really love the “european” style ,which is what im wearing, too, but i sometimes find it annoying that you have to always have to be wearing the newest fashion trends to keep up with the other girls…at least thats what it feels like to me sometimes. girls in my school even judge other girls by what they’re wearing!! so i really liked that people in texas didnt care so much about what everyone was wearing but stil had an incredible and in an awesome way casual style..like they wore jeans and sweater but it looked really well put together…i still dont know how they’re managing it :D

  12. 12
    November 12th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    This was awesome! And the denim point is SO true, Americans practically live in jeans. Minnosotian (is that would you’d say..) style seems to be a lot more country-western. Everyone where I’m at in Florida is EXTREMELY bohemian. Lots of little braids, dip-dye, flowy skirts. :)

  13. 13
    November 12th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    WOW! great post!
    I went to the UK two years ago, and I LOVED THE SHOPPING!!! you were spot on with Topshop, but I LOVED Miss Selfridge and even Shue, New Look, Primark, Accessorize, and River Island, none of which I was really familiar with before. I love my RI jeans :)
    And you were spot on with the “unfinished” look, smudgy makeup was big there, messy ponies, unkempt hair with cute headbands, bows, etc.
    LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

  14. 14
    November 12th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Wow, this is great. I think i dress more “british” than french, and kate moss, alexa chung and carely mulligan are 3 of my favorite dressers!

  15. 15
    November 12th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Yeah, you pretty much nailed it. I love British style though, I wish we had Topshop here in the US!

  16. 16
    November 12th, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    All I can say it was a great eye opener to see across the pond fashion I love Kate Moss she always has this boho chic and always so stylish even in the rain looking forward to see more of your post

  17. 17
    November 12th, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I live in rural Ohio, but my style is definitely more on the British end than the American end, at least in colder weather.

  18. 18
    November 12th, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Dude, I’m in Minnesota right now! Wondering if you were at my college…lol anyways i dont think so coz my school is really in the middle of no where… if it’s not in the middle of some corn fields…lol I was very shock to see some girls in my school wear PJ pants to class…and most ppl here wear sweat pants and sweatshirt ALL YEAR LONG… oh dont even get me started to complain… whenever I and/or my friends dress as NORMAL, ppl will think we dress up too much and staring at us/asking why we dress up lol And I had to put away all my high heals coz ppl think im crazy wearing them to class… sigh* …

    but it’s just my school. As soon as you get away from it… i mean even ppl in the Twin Cities dress better and the Cities are not big cities.

    Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my school! Just when it comes to fashion… we need some serious improvement….lol

  19. 19
    November 12th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    What I’ve learned from this post: my style is more British than American. Haa.

  20. 20
    November 12th, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    I think the reason everyone on here seems to dress more “British” is because we’re the kind of girls who read fashion blogs and are more interested in fashion than the majority of the US population.

    Even though I’m Canadian, our style is very similar to American style, which is why I liked this article. I was in Europe this summer and I noticed that absolutely everyone seems to live in heels and seems so runway all the time. I loved it! Then I come home and go back to my government job, only to see women wearing runners for the commute to and from work.

  21. 21
    November 12th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    This was so interesting to read! I think it would be a great opportunity to write articles focusing on different countries’ styles (Spain, France, Japan, Mexico, etc.) or even regions of the U.S. (South, Midwest, West, New England etc.).

  22. 22
    November 12th, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    wow
    i love the british style

  23. 23
    November 12th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    that’s the way i used to dress when i was in high school so i guess it’s true for the most part. now that i go to school in nyc i’ve been exposed to many different styles (that have probably been influenced by the british of course, along with many other countries’)!

  24. 24
    November 12th, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Thank you for all the positive feedback guys!! I was really nervous about this post!!]
    Vivian- I’m at UMD in Duluth :]]]
    Do any of you have any idea for future posts you’d like to see on the English Girl in America theme? I’d love to write more like this :]]]

    Charlotte xxx

  25. 25
    November 12th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    omggg i absolutly loveeeee this post!!!! i love looking at the differences in fashion from different places…

  26. 26
    November 12th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Charlotte!

    I loved this post!! Small world- I studied at the University of Birmingham in 08-09 and I now go to school at the University of Minnesota. Small world!

    It was really interesting to read your descriptions of the two different styles. I noticed my own style changed significantly during my year in England. And then it went right back to American when I got back. I’m sure you’re experiencing the same thing :)

    Allie

  27. 27
    November 12th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Lol! I live in the Southern California Desert and the Minnesota fashion is spot on, for us, too :D We’re pretty laid back. Jeans, hoodies and flip flops (or sneakers) are our fashion basics. I agree that here in the US it’s more about style rather than fashion. I seriously don’t know *anyone* who watches fashion shows or knows what the current trends are. Everyone I know say they just go to the mall and shop for what they like. Since I live in the country, and we only got one small mall, we tend to dress really alike. To us “fashionable” is Forever 21, lol. Humph, the British Fashion looks kinda city-like to me. Like stuff I saw people wear on my trip to San Francisco (with the exception of the dress).

    I have always wanted to travel to England. I really enjoyed this post and found it very interesting. I would definitely like to see more great posts comparing US/UK fashions! :)

  28. 28
    November 13th, 2010 at 1:48 am

    This post made me want to travel to England! (: In my opinion, I favor the style there rather then what we have here in the US. And of course, who doesn’t love Emma Watson? :) I thought this was a well-written post, and I DEFINETLY think you should continue a series similiar to this, but focusing on perhaps different countries & regions!

  29. 29
    November 13th, 2010 at 2:48 am

    This is a great guide! :) THANKS!!!!!

  30. 30
    November 13th, 2010 at 3:20 am

    I looooved this blog like u have no idea! It is probably my favorite so far. I’m also abroad in America, so i see the style differences, im not from europe though hah im from south america and there is and our style probably also needs an article to explain! But anyways, awesome post!

  31. 31
    November 13th, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Annie- we totally do have a Topshop in the US! One opened up here in NY not too long ago and I think they’re hoping to open up another one somewhere else soon. The one in NY is huge- 4 floors and a giant shoe section.

    This was a fantastic read- I loved hearing about another country’s perspectives on our style. Though, like someone else pointed out, I feel like the American style shown is pretty specific to the Midwest. Big city style in America is.. interesting. I’m not even sure how to define the style in New York lol. I wouldn’t call it British exactly but it’s definitely a far stretch from Hollister/Abercrombie. I wish Charlotte would just visit and describe it for us! =)

  32. 32
    November 13th, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Jennifer Aniston, a style icon? Huh? But, the outfit’s you talked about fit high school girls more than college girls. (Washington State). Pretty much, in HS, hoodies, sneakers, flipflops.

    But, in college, things start to change. Especially on the weekends. Lol.

  33. 33
    November 13th, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Very refreshing and interesting

  34. 34
    November 13th, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I am live in connecticut and i definitely agree that americans dress like this. Everyone in my high school does. I love British style though! I want to go to London so badly!!! Love Kate Moss as well.

  35. 35
    November 13th, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I prefer the British style than the American style since it is really funky rather than the casual pieces because I like to stand out even though I am an American in the United States. I love Kate Moss:)

  36. 36
    November 13th, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I live in Florida and I can definitely say that this is pretty spot on for the way girls dress around here! This was a very interesting article to read.

    I would really love to see an article on how British boys dress compared to guys in America :)

  37. 37
    November 13th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    i remember being struck by the british style in angus thongs and perfect snogging! (wait, it WAS british right?)

  38. 38
    November 13th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Kathleen totally hit the nail on the head:

    “I think the reason everyone on here seems to dress more “British” is because we’re the kind of girls who read fashion blogs and are more interested in fashion than the majority of the US population.”

    I doubt any one of you can honestly say that the majority of the population of females on your campus, with maybe the exception of NY, do dress like the author of this post summarized. It was completely dead on. Great job! That is 100% the Average American Girl wardrobe.

    Great post, extremely interesting, would love to see more!

  39. 39
    November 13th, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    So true…though funny enough I am still a bit mystified as to what city/country/style I dress like. I’m very girly, classy, lots of dresses and tights and heels, quirky-vintage and colorful but never punk/edgy – much softer than that. And how you found a way to actually admire typical, plain American collegiate style, I the detail-oriented will never know, but kudos to you.

  40. 40
    November 13th, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I’m Canadian and I find that most people’s styles that I’ve observed (and my own) seems to be a blend of British and American style, similar to how our humour is similar to both (some say we have a British sense of humour but still appreciate American humour). It probably has something to do with the weather though, perhaps it’s that in the colder regions, people layer and layer and it becomes a sort of style with the people.

  41. 41
    November 14th, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Funny, the way you set this up I expected to be offended (as an American). Totally didn’t happen. Though I don’t really fall into the American fashion category, I’d say you provided and accurate portrayal of average American fashions.

  42. 42
    November 14th, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Hmmm. While I loved your take on both styles, I feel like the American essential samples you chose is a bit of a misrepresentation. That is very much the kind of clothing the girls wore in high school and very similar to university campus style. Any ladies who have matured their style (more city colleges) really straddle closely to the European staples with still an American casual attitude.

  43. 43
    November 14th, 2010 at 1:27 am

    I go to college in South Florida,but I’m originally from Brazil. What you see in the school where you are is pretty much what I see here. I rarely see someone in my school dressed like the girls from “the look on campus” column. I think the way they dress around here is comfortable, but I prefer to dress up a little bit more. Actually, when I went to college in the Brazilian northeast, most girls were wearing jeans (pants) and a cute tank top, sandals (mostly flats or wedges) and big earrings. I think the earrings are kind of a Latin American statement piece.

  44. 44
    November 14th, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Living in Seattle, I feel like my style is much more “British” than it is “American” – I try to stay away from that, haha!

  45. 45
    November 14th, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Living in Seattle, I feel like my style is much more “British” than it is “American” – I try to stay away from that, haha!

  46. 46
    November 14th, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Charlotte, this is such an awesome article! Love the angle! Duluth’s style is very different from Minneapolis/ the Twin Cities, partially because Duluth is a small town and probably also because we have the Mall of America here in the cities! :) Definitely think you nailed it, though!

  47. 47
    November 14th, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I love this post!
    I’m an American living in Germany, and it’s great to see this kind of comparison. Some of the things you mentioned, I’ve seen when I run into groups of Brits and Americans here on study abroad; sometimes you can guess who’s from where based on their style!
    I’m from the western US so when I came to Germany, all I wore were jeans, and that’s what I was used to seeing. It seems like all the girls here wear skirts with tights or leggings, and it was a small fashion culture shock. I definitely mix German and American style, especially layering and people’s love of hats here.
    Again, great article, it was really fun to see and read :)

  48. 48
    November 14th, 2010 at 10:07 am

    I’m actually studying in London right now but I’m from California and I must say you did a really good job on capturing the over-arching American and British styles! I love being in England because I feel like I can express my style more and not feel like I’m doing too much (most college kids wouldn’t know personal style if it slapped them in the face) or trying to hard. I feel much more at home with the style here as opposed to back home in California. However, I am excited to go back and look even more out of this world to my fellow colleagues at school haha

  49. 49
    November 15th, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Wow, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts ! This is so true !
    Every time I go to another country I try to define what is different in their style and where its essence is. I always notice immedietaly that it’s different and when somebody is trying a style from yet another country. I gathered more experiences in Asian countries (China, Korea and Japan in particular, very distinct ways of styling) though, but from my stay in the UK I recognize British style at once (I only know American style from movies though, but it’s just like you said).
    Laying out the differences in style is not easy, I can explain it with naming essential items, but describing the message or attitutde behind it is the next step and I can only do it when I spent some time in the country or when I dealt with its fashion for quite a while (like China, Korea, Japan and the UK).

    thanks again :)

  50. 50
    November 15th, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Wow~ this is very very impressive. lol!
    I’m Korean Sookmuyng Women’s UNIV student interested in fashion.
    Then you made me love british style =) I’ve never been to England, but it will be so helpful to look out! Thank you!

  51. 51
    November 15th, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I’ve always been amazed with British style and often wonder what are the essential elements and subtle differences. This post truly nails it (:

  52. 52
    November 15th, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    this british girl is far too wrong. that crap she describes as American style is cheap and ugly. i think that americans do dress in both the ways that she described. if she had gone to a LA, NYC, Seatle, or any of our other major cities, she would find that our stye is what she’s used to. I think this post is an insult! You can’t base american style off of what you’ve seen in a non-major city.

  53. 53
    November 16th, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Sandy-You over reacted. Charlotte wrote in the third paragraph, “keep in mind that I am studying abroad in a northern Minnesota city. While I love it here, I know it is not the fashion capital of the world. I know fashion differs from state to state, and I’m sure what I see here in Minnesota is a world away from what I’d see in New York.” Maybe you want to read other’s article carefully before you say something rude…

  54. 54
    November 16th, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Hey! I’m an American (Midwesterner) currently studying abroad in Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). I completely agree with everything said here! I could never have defined “American vs. British” style differences until I was here, but now it’s really clear. I’ve watched my own style change over this semester, and I can’t wait to get back and share it with my friends. I especially love your British rule 1: Layers!! I knew that was “stylish” in the UK, but being so far north here it’s absolutely vital – I would literally freeze to death in Edinburgh if I didn’t layer. I cannot find a coat that can single-handedly keep out the damp chill of November. And I would definitely like to think I’ve picked up the signature British ability to make it look good as well. :) Thanks again for this article! Hope you’re loving the States as much as I’m loving Britain.

  55. 55
    November 16th, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I love the idea of this article, but when I scrolled down to the collage of “American style” I cringed — please, please, PLEASE leave Minnesota (fashion wasteland) and travel so you can see that American style is not so easily defined.

    I’m from Chicago, a surprisingly stylish place, and I had a bit of culture shock myself when I came to Missouri for school. Just a state away, fashion and style are vastly different.

    The U.S. is so large and such a great mix of cultures (our country was founded as a “melting pot” of backgrounds) that it’s very difficult to define style here. Yes, that “Western” plaid-shirt-and-cowboy-boots look is American, but I never saw anyone wear that until I went into the rural, country areas. I just hope you don’t leave thinking that we have no style! :)

  56. 56
    November 16th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    @ Annie – We do have Topshop in the US! The store’s in NYC and you can shop online here: http://us.topshop.com/

  57. 57
    November 16th, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    I love Duluth! I use to go there all the time as a kid to visit my grandparents. The air smells so good and piney there and I love to walk around Lake Superior! The clothes you picked out for American is totally how we all dressed in college. I went to school in a small town in Wisconsin. I think that the weather in Minnesota hinders what people wear. It is so cold, you dress for comfort, for most of the year. You are lucky though, because UMD has skyways. Where I went to school, we had to walk to class in the snow. BURRRR!!!!! I live in Florida now, but I don’t think people are any more fashionable, just different, because we are always trying to beat the heat. The shopping was way better in Minnesota. I lived right by the Mall of America.

  58. 58
    November 17th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Amazing post!! :)

  59. 59
    November 17th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I think is a really insightful post, Charlotte! I disagree with some points, and like other commenters said, American style changes by region and whatnot. Other things though are very spot-on :) Looking forward to more observations!

  60. 60
    November 19th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    i am from england and i think what you said is really quite true. a lot of people at the moment are going for the ‘individual’ look and so vintage and charity shops are really popular. (also alot cheaper to shop this way)
    i really agree with the bit about the festival look being fashionable all year round, its so true. messy undone hair and just thrown on colthes that dont match perfectly
    i love having british style, its looks quirky and rockish and although its not the best plavce to live in the world, i love being recognised as british because of the clothes i wear.

  61. 61
    November 20th, 2010 at 8:00 am

    i like the british style :way more cool!:P

  62. 62
    November 24th, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I feel like the British fashion is really close to what we wear here everyday in Seattle. And I know for sure that the American fashion is what people wore when I lived in Texas…

  63. 63
    November 25th, 2010 at 1:43 am

    I have more of a British style than American and I’m from New York lol.

  64. 64
    November 25th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Cool, I’ve got a fairly British style! :D I seem to be a bit more cutesy and slightly 80s, but I bet I’d lovelovelove the shopping in Britain! I hope Germany’s got nice clothes, since that’s where I’d most likely do a school exchange to (going to Swansea wouldn’t make sense, since one of my majors is Germanic Studies! xD).

    I’m from Canada, but you definitely see a lot of the typical American style in Vancouver and Victoria. It made me really sad: my highschool’s yearbook a few years ago had a section debating the pros and cons of uniforms, and concluded that our school already had one – jeans and a hoodie. Uni’s a lot better, but some people still think I “dress up” just because I never wear jeans. :(

  65. 65
    November 27th, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    @ashley
    I go to Swansea uni! Small world- Germany is quite well dressed but not quite like British style.
    Charlotte you got it spot on alot of the exchange students I meet do find British style more ‘unique’!
    Love all yoru articles :)

  66. 66
    November 28th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I’m from Minnesota myself, Minneapolis to be exact, and I tend to love British styles. I’m just too lazy to dress the part, or else it’s too cold like it is right now to dress in something other than three pairs of tights and some sweatpants. You have it worse though, it gets so cold in the north!

    UMD, huh? That’s where my boyfriend is planning to go next year :) I’ve heard it’s a pretty neato school, but I’ve also heard the dorms are the worst things ever created, which is why I’ve decided not to go there.

    It makes me sad some people are bashing Minnesota D: I don’t really like a lot of the popular styles here (I’m more of a prepster, basically one of a kind at my high school) but we’re pretty good when it comes to style.

    Thanks for the awesome post, I never knew you were so close to me!

  67. 67
    December 5th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    As a Canadian who has visited both countries, I thought this was pretty accurate. I liked this article because it made me think about where Canada fits into this. Like most other things, I’d say were a mix of British and American, but with some of our own key style items, too (chunky knits winter accessories, for example). I think that I lean more towards the British style, but I’m not as polished – when I was in London, I don’t think I saw a single person in jeans!

    I’ll stop rambling now. Amazing article Charlotte.

  68. 68
    December 9th, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve been so in love with the british style of clothing. It’s always so thrown together, edgy, and punk-like. I want to go to England someday! I admire the fashion there and of course I want to see the sites! I would have loved to live in england back in the 70′s or 80′s.

  69. 69
    December 9th, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Charlotte – I love this article, I am a Wisconsin girl who dreams of traveling to England. :) So cool that you are at UMD! I’m going to college in Superior, Wisconsin right across the bridge. I love the British fashion and wish that I could pull it off here, unfortunately living in a town like Superior, where it’s very much laid-back, it’s a bit tough. But my style is comfortable but unique and cute. At least I hope it is. :)

  70. 70
    December 29th, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    I am Irish, live in Dublin and spent the summer in Toronto, Canada. I believe you were quite accurate in your article. However, you forgot Urban Outfitters as a British store to shop in. Also, although it is true that in Europe eveyday is seemingly a fashion show, we do sometimes, wear sweats. Jack Wills? For the days when you are lounging around? I believe the equivalant in the US is Abercrombie and Fitch. I favour a classic/trendy look: shirts, skinny jeans, woolen jumpers, scarves, barbour jackets, oxford shoes, wellingtons, long jumpers with leggings or tights etc. Also, I found (in Toronto) that people in general didn’t tend to dress up to the same extent when going clubbing. Here, we wear dresses etc. There, they wore jeans and a top.

  71. 71
    January 5th, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I live in southern cali and we are very similar to what you described. I also think that boots are in every girls closet over here. Not snow boots but simple gray and black scrunch boots for the chilly days! We also love cardigans! I think that every girl has a few of them in purple, black and gray. Tanks and v neck tees are also staples here! A lot of girls also have pea coats because you can wear anything with it and it looks cute and pulled together.

  72. 72
    January 12th, 2011 at 1:28 am

    I love British style clothing for the part that it is elegant, classy, and cute. I have worn nice clothing by following British trends in America and it’s more of a question mark look on other people’s faces, I think cause everyone in America does focus on like you said, laid back, and cute. But I do wish more people dressed in British style clothing maybe than we wouldn’t have people who wear their pants to their ankles, or girls who go around in a skirt that shows to much and a very low cut top. Thanks for the post :D!

  73. 73
    January 16th, 2011 at 1:32 am

    i love love love british fashionn,,especially from london everyday is like a catwalk with u guy andd i admire thatt,,the greatest superrmodell cam frommm naomi(my namesake )and kate of course. anyways i think the american style you potrayed is pretty acurate for like midwestt,,, come to new york and u will c where the style is at lol..

    alsoo for any british people does anyone watch the tv show skins ..i just started watching it and they sstyle is pretty acurate to wat u postedd..

  74. 74
    February 18th, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Ah I just love both *-*

    I was wondering if there’s an actual fashion style in England, something similiar to preppy?

  75. 75
    February 20th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I wanna go to the UK so baaad. Europe in general, actually.. :( Hoping to do an exchange to Swansea third or fourth year!

    @(other)Ashley: I’ve noticed the same thing, too! And, it’s kinda scary, but my highschool yearbook did the same thing one year. Wonder if we went to the same one.. (o.O)

  76. 76
    March 25th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Honestly, with how much more advanced Brits are in style and fashion, you guys really don’t need to worry how to dress. We Americans will look up to you. Or at least I would. Of course, that might be all we do, your high class looking style might make us a bit intimidated.

  77. 77
    April 1st, 2011 at 8:07 am

    hahah I live in new jersey and go to boarding school in switerland, and here eveyone dresses like the british style but actually looks up to the amercian kind of style… i think a lot of americans do pull the look off and still look chic, and everyone wants to be able to do that

  78. 78
    April 2nd, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    A little late to post – but I loved this article. I think you nailed the “basics” of each style – and I think that was all you were intending to do – get the “basics.” It seems like so many commenters are trying to “place” themselves into one of the categories, British or American – and that is one of the great things you mention: You don’t have to place yourself in a category! Fashion is fun! One day, you can rock a pair of blue jeans and a wife-beater (I know, terrible name) with a sweet flashy necklace and Rainbow flip flops and one day you can throw on some tights, a pretty, frilly, floral dress and a leather jacket. You look great either way as long as you are confident. Maybe, as an American, I am proving your point about American not wearing trends but instead wearing what works and rocking it. Also, I will say styles definitely differ depending on where you are. I know where I am, in DC, wee love to rock some frilly dresses, but we have pretty good weather, so we don’t wear tights or leather jackets – we just have to decide whether to dress it down with flip flops or up with heels :) Either way, great post, I love it. Thanks!

  79. 79
    April 2nd, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Also, I forgot to mention I studied abroad at Cambridge University so I feel like I have a little experience with British style. Also, I would add to your list of American stores – the ones listed are definitely the general American style, and definitely mid-west and college student. I would say that anyone interested in looking into American style, especially in the southeast, would like J. Crew, Vineyard Vines (uber-Americana), Tory Burch, Hunter (which has UK roots), Ray Ban, etc.

  80. 80
    May 1st, 2011 at 7:37 am

    This is a great post. I’m American and I visited London last year for the first time, and frankly I was horrified by the way people dressed there. I thought everyone looked so sloppy and uncoordinated, and all the girls were wearing flats with tights and short skirts which is a style I HATE. But after watching the Royal Wedding and scoping out the high style fashion scene in London (especially the hats!), I became curious about how other people perceive British and American fashions. And doing a bit of research on the subject has really opened my eyes! Especially after reading British peoples opinions about American fashion (A lot of people from the UK consider American fashion to be extremely boring), I am suddenly quite intrigued by British fashion. I’ve been looking at this blog about street style in London and I am so fascinated by the way people dress! I used to think it was awful but now it’s like every outfit I see is so wonderfully creative and fun and colorful and to be honest, I wish I could adapt more British influence into my personal style. I think we Americans do our clean, preppy plain style well, but mad props to the UK! I <3 British fashion!!!!!

  81. 81
    May 21st, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Just reading the comments here has enlightened me that even in Minnesota alone, there are many varying styles – depending on your city and how accessible different shops are.

    I know that a lot of girls in the Twin Cities can be extremely stylish, while most girls in St. Cloud have this trendy but relaxed vibe going on, and up north (from what you’ve posted) it definitely looks really Midwest-ish.

    Very cool.

  82. 82
    June 20th, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I really enjoyed this post. It’s really nice to know that not all Europeans think we’re bland and boring. I live in Minnesota and I like the way you see us and represented us. From what I’ve seen of British street style blogs, the fashion scene in Uptown Minneapolis is not too different though defiantly more casual. I know I dress very casual (Though I would never get caught dead in cowboy boots. EW!) yet my best friend wears a dress or a skirt almost every day. I’m going to take a trip to England in a couple months and I don’t want to stick out as a stupid American. This has given me lots of good ideas. Thanks!

  83. 83
    July 23rd, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I’m a 21 yr old born and raised californian, with my maternal grandma& aunt being from england, so that’s the source of my perspective. I was curious to see if british women wore mostly slacks instead of jeans and fit the steriotype of dressing prim and propper. I am happy to learn that british style isn’t as formal and cookie-cutter as i thought, and actually seems very much like what i see in the SF bay area, although we definitely wear jeans as a staple, at least i know i do, even when i worked at Forever 21. I loved this article the only correction i would make is that the tennis shoes you picked out are only worn in urban areas from my experience, converse,vans,flats,and sandals are common all over CA , heels and nike are cool in urban areas and citys. hope this gives a different perspective

  84. 84
    August 3rd, 2011 at 10:54 am

    My style is much more British than American! I love layering and mixing up prints, textures, and styles. And I have to agree with the “boring” comment. I hate wearing just jeans and a simple t-shirt, or a dress without a ton of accessories–I just feel so under-dressed and, well…boring!

  85. 85
    August 10th, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Haha, that American collage is so “typical college student”.

    When I studied in England, fashion was very, very different, but I was surrounded by rahs. Uggs, mini-skirts, and blonde hair.

  86. 86
    August 17th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    That was really insightful!! In American films I always wonder if that’s how they really dress (probably because films always make us out to be all posh in suits and dresses) and this was a really interesting piece :) also, I was wondering which course did you do at the University of Birmingham? I’ve always wanted to go there and one of the courses I read about mentioned the term in America and the course sounded AMAZING :)

  87. 87
    December 19th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I think what it all boils down to is dressing appropriately for the environment where you live. I loved what you said about Americans being more interested in style than fashion–I think this is true in general for the average American girl, but others who commented that styles differ vastly by state or city are also right. For instance, in the Miley Cyrus song, “Party in the USA,” she sings about arriving to LA from Nashville, and everyone staring at her for “rocking kicks,” when all the other girls were wearing stilettos. Sometimes I think the amount of pavement available is directly proportionate to a women’s inclination to wear heels–lol. I’m from small town Mid-Michigan, so my style is very much like the look you painted for the typical American girl–and I LOVE flip-flops (which I’ve read is a total don’t in Parisian Chic). The Parisian style is one that I admire, but I think I might die if I couldn’t wear flip-flops in the summer! Also, I love heels, and have at least half a dozen pair collecting dust under my bed right now. Reason being? There just never seems to be enough opportunity to wear them practically (or comfortably) for my lifestyle. People here are used to super hot, humid summers, where we hang out on lakes, have barbeques and go to bonfires at night. We also have freezing cold winters with sledding, chili cook offs ON the frozen lakes, ice skating, snowmobiling and hot tubbing…many of us just stay inside til the weather warms up–lol! I know my favorite spot is by our wood burner downstairs ;) The point is there’s not much room for high fashion in the average Mid-Michigan life style. What there is room for though is NOT dressing like a slob, but being comfortable and stylish in clothing that is durable, practical and cute–hence the ease of wearing denim so effortlessly well. I love being American, AND dressing in a way that works for how I live, but I do very much admire my European ladies and their beautiful fashions…I just think I would fall over and break an ankle trying to wear them while running around my countryside–especially with the extremes of both seasons, and the mud of the in between!!!!

  88. 88
    December 23rd, 2011 at 1:43 am

    I live in Michigan and i am in LOVE with British styles! I honestly cant stand the fashion here, its so boring. At my high-school basically every girl just wears yoga pants and an abrecrombie tee Every Single Day! I dunno, it just seems kinda trashy, you know? and abrecrombie is soo expensive! I would love to be able to be fearless with my wardrobe, haha i still do, i just get alot of flack from my friends for it (but i know some people with similar style sense who give me compliments so its all good haha). I do go to canada alot though and they seem to have more European styles there, its alot of fun:) Ripped tights, leather boots, mix matching, “bed head hair”<3 oh, and thats another reason why i wish American fashion was more like yours. I have the most perfect kind of wavy/curly messy hair without even teasing it but it still looks nice, just not in America :/ haha i have to iron it till i see smoke instead

  89. 89
    January 6th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    I bumped into this as a 55 yr. old American from rural NY, looking for English style dresses (upcoming wedding, need a mother-of-the-bride dress). I really enjoyed reading your insights into another culture. Your assessment of American essentials are typical for western NY for the most part. I have often thought our use of jeans is almost universal, across most ages, almost a uniform of types. There was a time that was not so. Jeans went from men’s workwear, as Levi Strauss made famous, to fashion in the late 60′s and early 70′s. Prior to that, a girl or boy in jeans was likely to get picked on in school. (Those earlier ladies jeans were also side-zipped.) Denim bell bottoms started showing up then. However, the whole designer type, desirable name brands were a bit later. I think Jordache was the first of those. Patches went from necessity to fashion somewhere in there. Along with that came the rise of the t-shirt as a sort of billboard, not just a work clothes item. Oh, yes, “sweatshirts” were also a work item, now named hoodies. I thought maybe you’d enjoy knowing that. All those clothes were the things of working men originally, especially in the country. Farmers would wear jeans or overalls, t-shirts with plaid shirts over them, and sweatshirts, and still do. Country style still employs all those elements. Time to keep dress shopping.

  90. 90
    February 2nd, 2012 at 5:02 am

    This was a very well written article. I’m glad it didn’t come off as skewed as to “one better than the other.” Schtick that I so often see. So refreshing!

    I tend to think that here in the Pacific Northwest with lots of rain we tend to dress much like the Brits but as you roll out further into suburbia it becomes more midwest style. I find that I have always been a tights wearing girl, as they tend to dry out faster than jeans if you get a splashing.

    I hope to see more of your writing.

  91. 91
    February 21st, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I think style in America is specific to what state you are from. America is so large that I do not really think there can be “American Style”. I am sure British style is the same.

  92. 92
    March 19th, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Hello there! I hope you enjoyed your time in Minnesota. ;) IMO I would say that British might have a better sense of style since it is in my teacup to look more professional; However, I do agree with your observation with American style. I would say that it is more of college-style rather than a general sense of style, but you are right that we are more about comfort and laid back. Great post!

  93. 93
    April 6th, 2012 at 10:34 am

    The American clothes look like something I’d wear to hang around at home.

  94. 94
    April 23rd, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    1) I am from Minnesota but I am studying in London this semester
    2) I am doing a paper on British fashion and your blog is really helping my research! (i will cite don’t worry!)
    3) I really like how you stated where you are in the USA because like you said, Minnesota is most definitely not the fashion capital of the world :/

    Alright, thanks for the extra help!

  95. 95
    April 25th, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I’m a freshman in high school. I live in a very rural part of Virginia, the poorest county, in fact. Anyway, what you described as American style is pretty spot-on for here. I’ve been to Atlanta for a weekend and it seemed just a little more polished, though not by much. I’ve been to NYC a few times, and it’s vastly different. But it’s also a city, and I’m sure fashion in London is far more varied than say West County. I don’t know this for a fact, but it seems reasonable. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to hide your post b/c apparently I dress very “British.” My friends’ve got more than enough jokes on if I really am American or not. You see, somehow or another I got a an Estuary-ish accent, though I’ve been told it sounds RP when I’m angry, and Cockney when I’m excited. What the crap?

  96. 96
    May 19th, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    wow this was amazingly helpful! I am from the twin cities and studying abroad in oxford in september. this was exactly the kind of information i was looking for! thank you! I’m still kinda nervous about not looking too american! haha i was told flip flops are kind of a give away? thanks so much!

  97. 97
    May 29th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I’m a Minnesotan as well, and I don’t know how entirely I agree with representation of American style here. I think it represents a high school student’s wardrobe more so than a college student’s. However I do think some college students do dress this way in smaller towns/ less urban areas. I’m from the twin cities area, and I’d say the British look is more accurate at my college. The hipster look is HUGE on my campus. The only difference would probably be that the American hipster look is a little earthier than the British pieces shown here. There are definitely many college students that don’t dress in that style though. I’d say a typical American college girl’s wardrobe would have a pair of flat riding boots (and in Minnesota I’d add a pair of Uggs), a pair of darker wash skinny jeans, a pair of yoga pants, a great sundress, and a college sweatshirt of some sort. After that, I think it varies from area to area and state to state. There are so many different styles and. cultures here that I think its hard to pin down what a typical American style would be. I don’t know know much about British day-to-day dress, but knowing their big designers, I’d say American style is less quirky overall.

  98. 98
    June 6th, 2012 at 4:52 am

    This article is pretty close!! I live in Pennsylvania and most of the girls here wear all of the pieces you mentioned as being American. We always wear a bunch of dresses and jumpers (well a British jumper is a sweater, I believe, and I really don’t know how to explain an American jumper. Maybe there’s another name for them but I can’t think of it at the moment LOL) we also tend to wear heels in the spring and summer (as well as flip flops and sandals) but stick to sneakers and boots in the winter and fall.We do wear a lot of jeans, though, but we wear them in a THOUSAND different ways. Umm…..we don’t really layer, but that might just be a comfort thing. I have a lot of denim skirts and jackets but I do have one leather jacket that I wear all the time! Edgy over here pretty much means girly and sweet with simple jewelry and up-dos. I dream of visiting London one day, but I hope I don’t get looked down upon if I stick to my American fashion!

  99. 99
    June 23rd, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I am American currently living in London. British fashion is totally amazing. Just walk around central London and be amazed by the style and variety of fashion worn by normal people.

    People I work with shop at “charity” shops and come into the office wearing clever ensembles of old and new ….amazing ideas all the time.

    I LOVE the lifestyle as well as the fashion, every American who wants to see how to really live with accessible stle for all should visit here, Brits are great once you get to know them, so different from Amarican boys, self-depricating and not self-obsessed with their “wealth”.

  100. 100
    June 28th, 2012 at 12:34 am

    I think a lot of the English girls have great sense of their own style because most of their mothers and grandmothers lived through the sixties, which began a fashion revolution. We weren’t afraid of wearing gold coats, coloured stockings and bright floral dresses.
    I am now in my sixties and still love dressing up and standing out in a crowd. That is what fashion is all about, being an individual and not looking like everyone else.
    I would love to be young again but it doesn’t stop me following the fashion trends from around the world and still spending money on clothes.
    Remember, it’s not how much you spend on an item, it’s how you wear it and what you add to it. That is real style.

  101. 101
    July 1st, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Okay, first of, Minnesota is not a fashion wasteland. I happen to go shopping up in Minnesota and South Dakota alot. .-.
    I live in Iowa- in a small town.

    The thing about America is that everyone tends to wear the same thing- mainly when in school. I have some very fashionable peices [Very British] that I would never wear around town for the fear of being laughed at.

    In England you can be yourself- you can dye your hair purple and no one would give you a second glance, but here in America [Not typically in the cities but in smaller towns] you can’t even dye your hair a different shade of brown without getting the third degree form some twat in your school.
    So Brits can wear two patterns at once and not be considered crazy.

    Also, girls in my school are very sporty [I am too, but I don't dress sporty outisde of sports ;p ] and they wear shorts and Under Armour sweatshirts everyday. So you have to have to dress like that if you want to fit in.

    And you’re so lucky, I used to not do my hair in the morning and go to school with bedhead, but I got told I needed to straighten my hair.
    And I’ve been trying to find a floral Bralet, but Topshop is all sold out of the ones I like and no store sells them here.

    One more thing- If you go and walk around the Malls in Minnesota the teenagers are mostly all wearing hightops and snapbacks and poorly fitting jeans. x]

  102. 102
    July 4th, 2012 at 10:33 am

    other things that have come into british fashion are peplums, floral blouses, embroidered peter pan style collar necklaces, chinos and brogues. im trying to look for really cute peplums and so far i have bought some really nice white lace peplums from new look. This post is really good…and i have to say that you are pretty spot on. i am proud to be british, but one thing about british style now is that it is really hard to keep up with the latest fasion trends in england. they change all the time, plus my stule is very much girly more than the vintage british look or the casual american style. my wardrobe mostly consists of floral dresses with colour pops, vintage style jewelery, oversized waist-high belts, dolley shoes, brogues and boots, clutch style floral coloured small bags and a couple of skinny jeans and floral blouses. i definitely would not fit in with the american teens my age. so i am dofinitely more british.

  103. 103
    July 6th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    i noticed that i have a little bit of both countries in y wardrobe and i never realized that until now.

  104. 104
    July 6th, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    *my

  105. 105
    July 18th, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I am an American teenage girl and I am currently visiting London. I was completely shocked at the difference in styles here and felt really out of place in my tank top, faded jean shorts, and flip flops. At home that Is what everyone wears and here everyone seems so trendy, edgy, and dressed up. There seems to be a lot less bright colors than in America considering half of most girls clothes are bright and colorful I not neon. And also everyone always wears tights or skinny jeans with flats or converse which is a style that in america is usually only seen on a more artsy type girl. That is my view. :)

  106. 106
    August 7th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I find your selection quite funny. I’m from Tennessee in the U.S and I go to school here. Your picture of the items from the U.S. look like what I wore to High School, in Autumn, and when I was on my period. I know that sounds funny. I’m in college now and the only time I wear those items are Monday and Wednesday at my 8 am class.. I think it might be the area you were at. If you were in the city then you would see a lot of trendy styles. A lot of people in their 20s and early 30s are doing this Hipster look.

  107. 107
    August 7th, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    fyi, America is a huge melting pot..You can’t exactly label a style on the U.S..if you know what i mean..But its all about HIPSTER.

  108. 108
    August 18th, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Hi I know this is late late but I loved your post. I live in America but I spend a lot of time in the UK and think you got the style just right. If you want to see a bit of different American style go to California. We dress different more of a beach look !

  109. 109
    September 11th, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I think this was a very interesting article and you really hit the key points, you did an amazing job.

    But one thing you missed is what is special about the US is that everyone is very diverse, and many people have their own styles. If you walk down the street in LA for 5 minutes you’ll see the typical skater, a girl walking in high end fashion and heels, people dressed in suits, and even colored hair. Minnesota might not be as broad as LA or many other large cities in the US, so it may lack the diversity. But that’s what makes it really unique. In LA if you give two people the same garment most likely they are not going to be wear them the same way. And most people do wear a played down version of runway fashion, they just are not aware of it. If you spent just one day on the streets of LA you definitely would know what I meant.

  110. 110
    September 16th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    This is all I have to sat about fashion:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15S0g8pG6HU

  111. 111
    September 29th, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I am glad you experienced our fashion climates. Check out eastern Europe for the next moves and trends.

  112. 112
    October 15th, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Yeah, I’d say the American trends are far more diverse than those in England, especially because of the different geographies and diversity of ethnicities. For example, I live in a big city in Florida, and trends are definately much sharper and flashier than what you had seen in Minnesota. I’d even venture so far as to say the U.S. is just a tad bit ahead in terms of fashion styles.

  113. 113
    October 17th, 2012 at 4:45 am

    HI!! I stumbled upon your article today and could not believe it! I went to UMD and studied on the 2010-2011 trip to University of Birmingham! Crazy what a small world it tends to be. Anyway, great article! I am living back in the UK and found your article to be poignant and informative!

    Glad to meet a fellow Minnesota/Brummy!

  114. 114
    October 21st, 2012 at 11:47 am

    great experience with this site…
    amazing…

  115. 115
    November 6th, 2012 at 3:21 am

    I love british style

  116. 116
    December 14th, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    This is so true! Even though the pictures on the American style look nothing like california style, (they can be REALLY slutty sometimes) the descriptions sound almost perfect! Nice job!

  117. 117
    December 17th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Their ate so cute and fun to play with a baby oh yeah.

  118. 118
    January 4th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Really interesting article! I’m from New York. You’re not too far off from how I see a lot of girls dress here- but there are a lot of other styles as well! Anyway, thanks so much for the article! I’m going on a trip to London next month with school, and I really don’t want to stick out like an obnoxious American tourist!

  119. 119
    January 15th, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I moved to Florida in 2011 from UK , and the clothes in comparison was exactly like you described . Casual in America and edgy but girly in England :) it really defines why I wear my clothes differently to other kids in high school .

  120. 120
    February 3rd, 2013 at 5:02 am

    As I myself live in England but have been on holiday to America seven times now, from Washington to New York to San Fransisco to Honolulu to Florida to Boston and finally to Los Angeles. I can vouch that America has much different style than England. In England we have River Island, Topshop, New Look, Miss Selfridges, Next, Debenhams and Primark. America has Forever 21, Topshop, Victoria Secret, American Eagle, American Apparel, Macy, PacSun, Bloomingdales and Hollister.

    America has a much more original sense of style with every shop selling a different form of style. England however, once something becomes in style it’s sold everywhere – for instance if you wanted some Doc Martens, and they were ‘in’ you could go to any store and find the real ones and the stores version. However if thy weren’t in? You would have too look online, England lacks originally. Peplum is everywhere right now, finding a plain top is hard work!

    Personally I wish to see more American Stores! Not only for the good quality, the amazing look but also the price!

  121. 121
    February 5th, 2013 at 2:22 am

    Unfortunately there are three essential factors in your US interpretation, you witnessed a very Minnesota/midwest look, you saw much of it on a college campus (unfortunately a lot of American college students tend to favor comfort over dressing well), and it was an article for 2010. As someone who has barely ever left her home state I was kind of surprised to recognize a lot of your Brit pieces from my own closet. I have a whole section dedicated to (faux) leather jackets.

  122. 122
    February 9th, 2013 at 1:27 am

    OMG, your article totally made me understand the style of my country, Singapore. It’s a mix of American and British fashion style. We go casual (more american) in the heartland malls, and sometimes in town, but we are labeled as sloppy if we wear shorts and slippers if we go town that way..but then there’s the other half that dresses in leggings plus dresses, high heels (more formal) etc (more of the british style), and then those are labeled as well-dressed. ahhaha. (no offence!)

  123. 123
    February 17th, 2013 at 6:02 am

    I am a fan of both kinds of style,I live in England but have been to the US a few times and love shopping in American Eagle and Forever 21. One of my best friends is from Georgia and definitely talks about the differences in style she has noticed mainly that “British style” is exactly how you describe! There’s also a difference I’ve noticed within the UK mainly the North/SOuth divide;e.g in Newcastle,Liverpool there is a real focus on the fake tan,fake lashes,tiny dress,massive heels sort of glamour but further South the style is more casual and individual.I do have to agree that I think some shops are too trend driven in the UK, but you can still find some lovely pieces if you look hard! I personally favour ASOS and H and M for style classics and a cheap price. I would love to see a piece perhaps on different European or Asian styles.I know there have been some in regards to study abroad but I think more can still be said!

  124. 124
    February 22nd, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I think you had an accurate description of what people dress like in Minnesota but not the United States. I don’t mean this in a rude way, I still enjoyed what you wrote and think it was spot on for what you evaluated. I don’t know if any other Americans mentioned it but many American’s may dress like that, but many of us also don’t. Fashion does really depend on area like East Coast vs West Coast. It also depends if you’re in a major city or less developed areas like Minnesota. In the cities you’ll find way more people dressing like the British girls you described. You’ll also find edgier clothing. In L.A/Chicago/New York/Atlanta (major cities), that’s where you’ll see it a lot. A lot of us like being fashion forward, and I wouldn’t consider hoodie or flip flops fashion forward. Some people in here dress like British girls, including myself. I would say the British are more open to certain fashion styles than Americans are. It won’t be average for where I live (Michigan) for girls to wear combat boots and floral dresses. I still see it though. I would also that hip-hop definitely has some influence on the fashion over here from previous decades. I also noticed some trends in British girls that I notice Americans don’t do as much.

    -Middle parts, and pin straight hair. Sure a lot of girls do it but I’ve noticed way more British girls rocking the middle part

    -Jeffrey Campbell’s and other similar shoes. Some of those shoes are really bold and I don’t see many American’s rocking it unless you’re in a city like I stated.

    -Super dark defined eyebrows, even with very blonde hair. So many girls I see in the UK have tatted eyebrows or darker ones. I think it looks cool but a lot of the people here don’t have that.

  125. 125
    March 23rd, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Amazing article!!!!!!! I live in Ukraine and heard a lot about creative British style, but never got to know much before your article. My favourite store is New Look, I am glad to know it’s among most popular clothing stores in Great Britain!

  126. 126
    April 24th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    This is a good article, even as an American from Northern California who loathes flip flops and likes mostly timeless French styles. Pretty much what you wrote is pretty dead on, with typical 2010 American fashion- casual, country/ western look. I basically wear plaid shirt and jeans when I’m on a hiking a trip or when I am painting. I know for one, the greatest contribution to American fashion is sportswear (Katherine Hepburn is a great example).

    Imagine mixing in typical American style with the British style: Cowgirl boots with floral dresses. I wore my cowgirl boots with spring dresses, I look like a country singer, lol.

  127. 127
    May 29th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks for this post! I’m from california and I just returned from studying abroad in England. California almost epitomizes that “casual” look and style, so your post seemed to reflect almost exactly my experiences and impressions of the different styles in the two countries. I remember thinking everyone in England looked sooo hippie and Bohemian, but I’ve started to realize that’s just how the style is classified!

  128. 128
    June 4th, 2013 at 8:43 am

    really interesting article! you were basically spot on for both styles, from what i can see. i’m from florida and everyone around here wears denim shorts or jeans with flip flops and a basic shirt or tank top from hollister or something so you got that whole collage pretty correct. i personally love the british style more than the american one, even though i am american, but if i started dressing that way people would probably start judging me cos i’d stand out so much! haha but i’d really looove to study abroad someday!!!

  129. 129
    June 10th, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Great read! I know exactly what you mean about not realising the UK has its own style until you go somewhere else. After living in Germany for a few years, I’m a lot more aware of UK style, haha!

  130. 130
    August 22nd, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I’m late to the commenting party but what a delightful post!

    As an American, I love the “typical” UK fashion but being from NYC, we have our own as well. I really appreciated that you did not represent American college style as a bunch of lazy slobs (although these definetely do exist haha).

    I too, didn’t realize it until you mentioned it up there…we Americans do love our denim and basic cotton tanks for layering. Gotta love classics! I also fully embrace wellies, trenches, and blazers, but I think that’s also because NYC has such miserable weather sometimes too.

    Cheers,

    Rebecca

  131. 131
    October 10th, 2013 at 1:20 am

    American culture through pop music influenced Brithish style and music. Yes your article is very stereo typical. Shorts with tights is very American 80s as well as the leather jacket. Add that Hollywood is very trendy and the world is influenced by it. Flashy clothes, money cars and looks. So you can’t really call it or give it to the Brits when America had the roaring 20s then the 50s with a huge culture change because of popular music such as Elvis before that England was restricted with properness from the Queen. Your article is very biased and in America we dress and have and start many trends. Go to LA. California alone is bigger tham England.

  132. 132
    October 12th, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I agree with mj, a lot of the styles the Brithish wear are totally American, for instance the fedora is totally American, leather jacket, shorts and tights. Grunge style with black boots started in Seattle washington. What your showing as American style is part of it, country look. But we have many more styles especially the pieces you are showing for Uk, which are American trendy. We have more shopping options and are very American: Wet seal, zumiez, journeys, forever 21, urban outfitters, bannana republic, , abercrombie &fitch, hollister, express, dillards, macys, bloominggdales, guess, ralph lauren, to name a few….there is more.

  133. 133
    January 6th, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    This was really interesting. I never looked at American style from a British perspective. I also think that British style is way way WAY better than American style. Weird, huh?

  134. 134
    January 26th, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Ah i hope you dont think that i am underestimating or puting down the way the american girls do wear , yes alot they wear casual and alot wears very nice dresses , but the british fashion girls style it has its own taste of style , i mean if you go to an nice english party you will relaize the beauty of the style of the british girls by the hats they wear , or if you go to an horse race track in britain you will also see how the brit girls and ladys dresses and the fashion of the hats , i mean it like each girl or lady got her own hat i can not see few of thim or couple are wearing same hat model , and they chose the perfect hat that goes with the dress , even when they dress in casual too , offcourse dressing have to do with the occusaion and the place going too , im an amale i wear suit when its time for a suit and casual when its time and place for an casual wearing , but even if you agree with me that alot of known name brands american and british have also some type of casual clothes for both ladies and mens which very good , such as hacket london have the one of the best suits and same time casual wearing and its both worth it paying for , also for example jack wills for ladies girls and mens they have the best in dressy and casual , also the american name brands such gap , guess , tommy hilfiger , polo ralph lauren , and alot other brands , i always have in my mind that the style wearing chosing have to do with person girls or guys age and education and offcouse the occuassion or were we going to
    Some times we feel like dressing up some times time to be casual
    But the fact that the british girls are the best dressing in fashion and style girls and mens also thin the american girls and mens
    I hope you dont get me wrong in her because love to wear both in mens clothing british and american
    And you can never get tired of the both each year fashion comes out to see the collection

  135. 135
    March 9th, 2014 at 4:47 am

    This was an interesting read. I should point out that my comment is very much from a London perspective since I live right outside London (in Hertfordshire) and I visit London frequently. Maybe you based your observations on Birmingham fashion but I want to point out that walking around with a run in your tights is considered trashy and a major faux pas in the UK – who, or what, on earth, gave you the idea it’s fine to do so?! Also, flip flops look cheap and tacky, and not classy at all; best save them for the beach :)

    There’s only one person I know who sports – and rocks – the bedhead look. She’s really the exception – every other girl I know has neat, well-groomed hair. I really don’t know where you got this strange idea about UK girls having messy, unkempt hair and smudged eyeliner?! Anyone planning on visiting London, just go to Oxford Street or ride around on the tube for a while and you’ll get an idea of regular people/London fashion. Another tip for international visitors: invest in a coat with a hood. Umbrellas are rendered pointless when coupled with 70mph+ winds.

  136. 136
    March 16th, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    lol so freaking awesome, Im from Phoenix and all we wear here is definitely summer clothes year round. You could literally catch a girl wearing shorts in February-November thats how hot it is here, out winter only lasts for two-three months and it only gets about 45 degrees minimum. I definitely love the British fashion better than where Im from its so awesome. Sadly you could only dress like that for two months cause then it gets too hot for a scarf. Wish I could go to London
    :(

  137. 137
    April 21st, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I believe Audrey Hepburn is the original one to bring the skinny pant and ballet flats to fashion. That look is iconic. Pre dates Kate Moss.

  138. 138
    May 1st, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Hi^^,

    I’ll just start by saying that I love this blog! Especially the articles on studying abroad (I’m leaving for Verona in a few months, you guys are lifesavers).
    Now for something more relevant: I’m writing a paper on British street fashion (I’m not British, I’m from Belgium, but I love the style). I was wondering if you had some tips on finding other sources?

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