For Christmas, Jill Pirate gave me the book Luella’s Guide to English Style. A weighty tome, tan-coloured with gold lettering and a hot pink elastic, and a David Bowie quote on the back cover: “They’ll never clone ya”.
How true to the spirit of English style’s idiosyncrasies.
Luella is not a brand that I have ever taken much notice of, and after reading the introduction to the book I am seriously kicking myself for this oversight, as I’m not sure I’m going to get the chance to rectify my mistake – in Luella Bartley’s own words, her fashion business “just went belly up”.
Ms Bartley and I apparently share a love of all things intrinsically English, including grannies and geeks (I know these 'subcultures' aren’t exclusively ours, but I guess I am saying that the English ones are the classics), tweed mini skirts, and The Clash.
Here are some quotes from the book that really resonated with me:
“… those contrived subtleties and that blatant contrariness that make British women so staggeringly adept in the art of expression through style”.
“Style is the best way of expressing things about you that are really hard to verbalise”.
“The English have this knack of putting together the weirdest combinations of clothing and accessories that somehow – with their warped sense of good, bad and just plain weird taste – inspire the rest of the world. English style at its best is totally natural, fiercely individual and girlishly contrary”.
“Being English is not about being obvious or sexy – it’s about being interesting and illogically brilliant”.
“My personal theory is that British birds tend to get more eccentric, more individual and generally cooler with age”.
“The English girl is a multi-faceted dresser with an unrivalled eye for irony”.
Now, I’m not typically one for unfounded patriotism or nationalism but when it comes to fashion I am intensely proud to be English. In my style choices I try to embrace a lot of the characteristics Luella outlines above, but I’m going to make it one of my 2011 resolutions to imbue more of my ensembles with that distinctive English vibe.
The accessories in these photos are two of my bargains from the Urban Outfitters sale. A brown ostrich suitcase (£48 reduced to £22) and a pair of leather driving gloves (£38 reduced to £10). I thought that both fitted the classic English theme rather nicely.