British vs. American Style – Observations from a British Girl Abroad( Collected)


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 Icons

Carey Mulligan

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 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

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

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 Selfridge, River Island and All Saints, plus Primark and
New Look for on-trend bargains.

British Style in 5 Steps

1. Layer, layer, layer.
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.
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.”
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!
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

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 Icons

Jennifer Aniston

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

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

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.
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 
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.
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.
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.
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!!