British Thoroughbred

There is nothing quite as beautiful as a quintessential British style. As always, the runways at London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2014 presented us with a spectacular array of carefully selected timeless British classics, naturally tailored with a thick thread of heritage and patriotism. Imitating the recent creations of Daks, Christopher Raeburn and Margaret Howell (to mention a few), I have thrown together a handful of garments that are essential to a British Autumn/Winter wardrobe.

Christopher Raeburn explored with thick, knee high wooly socks encased in chunky military boots and a rather regimented palette of khaki, camel, chocolate, mocha and nude, with hints of a dark burgundy red. I was also delighted to spot a muff or two; these furry companions are yet awaiting a full revival but in the last few years we have seen them slowly creeping back into fashion. Though 21st Century mufflers hardly display proportions fit for the Duchess of Devonshire or Anna Karenina (no Keira Knightley pattern intended), I am hopeful that soon an 'elbows in' muff will arrive in high street shops just in time for that frosty 7am December horse-drawn carriage ride to the office.

A mixture of brocade, tweed and tartan clad bodies balancing carefully perched tall black fur hats, akin to the Royal Guard busby's, swayed down the runway at Daks. Again using a similar palette with soft browns, beiges, nudes and greens (with a notable addition of a sharp metallic gold), the collection has a strong British military feel. The presence of so much fur in amongst trench coats with epaulettes and lines of shiny gold buttons however, seemed to give it an Eastern European undertone, as if each model had been bestowed with one blow of cold, cloudy breath from the Red Square before being launched into an erratic ballet across the catwalk.

Corduroy. How do we feel about this? For me, the idea of corduroy has always been met with a wrinkled nose and the initial picture of 'that jacket my granddad wears,' but Margaret Howell's collection was rife with it; matching corduroy suits, entire corduroy trench coats... even a corduroy pencil skirt. The feminine cut of all these garments gave the fabric a completely different look, and Margaret Howell's version comes not only in the standard golden toffee hue but also in a smooth chocolate brown. Paired with thick woven tweed, red tartan or a hint of houndstooth, this collection was all British. The palate, together with buckled shoes and fleece-lined aviator jackets also maintained our military feel.

The corduroy trousers I am wearing in this photo were custom made to imitate the uniform of the Women's Land Army for my use during WW II re-enactments which I attend throughout the year. I'm still a little uncertain about this fabric and so I definitely wouldn't wear these when popping out to the shops (not to mention they have quite a funny shape), but when I tucked in a khaki military-style blouse and strapped myself into heavily buckled brown boots, I found myself warming slightly to corduroy. Who knows, perhaps in the form of neat little shorts or a cropped blazer jacket paired with a soft white shirt and aviator sunglasses, this shimmering fabric may become a 'granddaughter thing...'