It’s an aesthetic I return to again and again— that British country mood. Like you’ve taken a long weekend at one of the great houses. It’s an old mood, rarified and a little crumbly. A little stiff upper lip and a little jolly good fun in the great outdoors. It’s country but fancy country.
I’m not going to trace its roots, because it must be tied up somewhere in peerage and primogeniture. But I will share some of my favorite reference points.
No.1: Queen Elizabeth’s country style. As we’ve learned from The Crown, the Queen loved her time in the country. And I love her unfaltering countryside style.
ELEMENTS OF STYLE:
- A quilted Barbour jacket. Old Burberry suffices too.
- A good silk scarf. Hermès is superior with the quality of silk, the painted designs and the hand rolled edges and the size. Runner ups include Ferragamo and Gucci. But I’ll tell you, don’t fret over the brand or silk— find a scarf you truly love and wear it confidently. It could be polyester and rayon but have the colors and design that makes you feel amazing, and it suddenly is the perfect scarf. And always hold onto your scarves. Amass a collection. You’ll revisit them each over time and revisit some great memories. And your offspring will definitely plot to inherit them when you’re dead.
- Sunglasses. Preferably big.
- Twills/wool/textured fabrics in shades of earth tones. Above all else, this is a utilitarian style. Imagine traipsing about the rolling hills, alongside the sprawling cliffs, wind whipped and lungs filled with cold air. This is obviously a layering moment.
- a Land Rover. Preferably an older one with the back open, filled with colorful wool blankets, a basket of sandwiches and thermoses of soup and coffee/tea. I’m a LandRover lass myself. My perfect countryside ride would be a 94 Range Rover county edition. Let us show our appreciation:
No.2: We must mention Princess Anne.
Because she may be the most casually cool and dramatically undercredited historical figure of style. Whether you’re looking at photos from the 70s or even recent photos of her advanced style, Princess Anne is the sh*t.
No. 3: Vintage Laura Ashley
I will 100% be devoting a whole separate post to the history and significance and sheer delight of Laura Ashley, but for the sake of this post, I’ll briefly touch on one part of the aesthetic. As a child of the 80s and 90s, I never thought I’d see a return to the chintz and ditsy florals of my youth, which is almost synonymous with the Laura Ashley brand. And yet here I am, seeing the threads emerge and cast it in the same lot as timeless figures like, well, the royal family. I didn’t know until today they had a glorious catalog in the earlier days of mail catalogs. Look at those covers!
(And come back soon to see what I have to say about Laura Ashley in longer format!)
No.4: A few of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow with just the perfect British country cool aesthetic.
@lukeedwardhall is just my absolute favorite artist and multi-hyphenate. I’ve loved watching his career explode and also getting a bts glimpse into his life in The Cotswolds.
@amandacbrooks She left life in the city and took to the countryside, where she does all sorts of creative things. LOVELY.
@bibleofbritishtaste I mean, what a mood.
Last note: in a wonderfully strange chapter of my life, I lived and went to university in London in 2002-2003. I lived in an area called Richmond (very posh) in the outskirts of the city. I lived on Queens Road, near the Thames. And it was just a really wild time. The school was an international school with lots of diplomatic kids who came to class, driven in the diplomatic Mercedes 600s with the little flags waving from the hood lights. The Queen’s wood (some of her hunting grounds) were just across the road. I went to some wild parties and dated some rock stars and did my fair share of partying. Thank god it was before camera phones! I regret I never went away to the country when invited. It’s on my grown up to do list now.
Here’s my old school, near the old cemetery and around the corner from my flat (across the street from Richard Ashcroft’s home).