Gone are the muddy overalls, wellington boots and donkey jackets, replaced stylishingly by a new-found taste for Saville Row tailoring and haute couture. Urban Country represents a wholesale movement of city high fashion to the rolling hills and pastures of rural England. Even the creatures are starting to register surprise at the sartorial upheaval, but those in the fashion business know a good thing when they see it.
Of course, this is not exactly true. If you’re a country dweller reading this who’s just about to check the online newsfeeds in fear of missing the wave of style, there’s no need to worry. But a new countryside-influenced style certainly is taking place on the streets of our cities: welcome urban country.
The style has pratical elements that replace the superfluous lements of most recent trends and has been threatening to sweep the nation for few a years now. It can partly be explained by people tightening their belts, although not purely in terms of financial considerations (the clothes aren’t necessarily cheap) but in trying to seize the spirit of the day. However this is only half the story. After all, it’s when money is tight that people use creativity to achieve boutique looks on a limited budget; think of any period of fashion and you’ll probably see a looming storm or ongoing crisis driving a luscious devil-may-care attitude. You could suggest that fashion designers get an easy ride when their customers are flush with cash, designing for headlines and knowing that those ready to buy will come whatever. However customers hold the cards of power when money is short and luxury purchases are made less often.
So just what is this urban country look? Well “it does what it says on the tin”, the ad men would say, but if you’re after a more rounded review you have to think more of a combination of high street style with countryside practicality. A pair of tight-cut slacks with a wax jacket, sturdy shoes and a sensible hat can be seen as a sort of foundation, but ready to welcome some flair and glitz as required. The downbeat air could even be enhanced by some well placed staining or patching, and if you’re a man you should be thinking of beard if not moustache if the full look is to be achieved.
To achieve the full urban country look, you need to adopt a suitable stance or attitude or even outlook on life. Remember, it’s just a style; you are still a towny, getting through daily life in the big, busy city, surviving on your wits and your networks. You don’t have to pretend you’re fresh off the 8:21 from Countryshire, complaining about the haste of the traffic and asking strangers where you can get the nearest ploughman’s outlet (most pubs do them, don’t worry).
Country style does encroach on the city street occasionally, so checking out a vintage clothing store can be a fun and inexpensive way to start creating your look. Some of the volume high street fashion brands have already jumped on the bandwagon (if that’s your thing) or, don’t forget, you can go straight for original items and find some authentic signature garments from the countryside itself, or at least some of those countrified towns and cities like Dorchester, Harrogate or York. And there’ll be no smelly animals in sight!