Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Jet Set, Go Wardrobe!

I want to try and merge my two loves in life in this next post: fashion and culture. Soooo... I have picked 5 pieces we Brits would call indispensible in a summer wardrobe but which don't actually come from good old Blighty and mashed them all together with some snaps and a bit about where they come from and why we should love them so much. Let the games begin!

1. THE BRETON TOP- Be still my beating heart! I have started with my absolute favourite piece of clothing in the history of the world: yes, yes, I know a woman's first love is meant to her LBD but for me its a bit of Breton allll the way. Coming from the b- e- a- utiful Brittany in France they started out as the regulation uniform for the French navy because the stripes made them easy to see if they fell in! Made famous by the legendary Coco Chanel, who adopted the trend while holidaying in Brittany and immortalised it forevermore on her catwalks, it seems clear this is a trend which just won't budge, not that I'm complaining!

Audrey Hepburn
Coco Chanel

2. THE ESPADRILLE- So if you've done your homework you might see that this is the second time Espadrilles have featured in my blog (does that mean I'm becoming obsessive?), but I love them so I don't care. Originating in Catalan and initially peasant footwear- funny isn't it how great trends never started off with the intention of becoming immortalised on the pages of Vogue? The Espadrille was, coincidentally, another popular piece with Coco Chanel, she was often seen wearing Espadrilles with a wide- legged trouser. I love them because they are just SO chilled- you look at them and they seem to transport you  to a beach or a park... AHHH true love right there

Pablo Picasso

3. THE HAREM PANT- These beauties have been the victim of many a fashion faux- pas over the years (look no further than J- Lo, Fergie and Kylie for evidence). The notoriously awkward Harem Pant originated in India, the most traditional ones being very baggy with a crotch down near the ankles. They were worn originally by belly dancers but are now more widespread. People are anti- Harem Pant because they think they are unflattering but the tip, for me, is not to try too hard. Now, I'm not suggesting wearing them with trainers and a jumper but I think they look best when you look like you are trying to look relaxed and comfortable- wear them with gladiator sandals or cute flip- flops (NOT chunky ones) to create a fresh, summery look.

Chanel 2011

4. THE PANAMA- Amusingly, the Panama comes from Ecuador, not its Latin American neighbour as the name suggests. These iconic hats were originally woven from the leaves of the Toquilla Straw Plant and were made famous when Teddy Roosevelt was seen wearing one when visiting the Panama Canal. The hats were first shipped to a port in Panama before being sent onto Europe and Asia, and the name "Panama Hat" stuck. In the 20th century, when no outfit was complete without a hat, Panama hats were everywhere, favoured especially in summer for their lightness and easiness to stowaway. Panama hats are still popular today, with women and men and, like espadrilles evoke images of summer and crisp white linens.. Oh  goodness, I have to stop before I get too carried away...

5. THE AVIATOR- Last but, oh by no means least, comes the Aviator. Created waaay back in 1936 by Ray Ban, then called Bausch & Lomb, they were chosen as the official sunglasses for the US Army Air Corps in 1999 and were probably made most famous a little known film called Top Gun (sarcasm intended). Nowadays Aviators are used by anyone and everyone and can cost anything from £1 to £200. They look great with swimwear (weird but true) and with Panama hats (see above).

Johnny Depp
Sorry, I just couldn't leave it out!

So there you have it: my rundown of the top 5 foreign wardrobe must- haves for summer. If you disagree with any of my choices then let me know what your top 5 foreign fashions are: as the lady herself Coco Chanel said, "Fashion is made to become unfashionable" 


  1. Love me some aviators, and I'm surprised that I haven't ever owned a panama hat, def. on my to buy list ;)

  2. Thanks for your wonderful comment! I've followed your blog, it's great. I totally agree, Ray Bans are amazing, I love wearing them at the beach! Thanks for sharing! Lots of love from your follower, Veena <3


  3. I think you have very cleverly broken down the key criteria to looking like a member of the jet set! Have you ever seen the "jet set" episode of Mad Men? Do you have Mad Men in your country? I am now following you! Welcome to IFB - I just joined myself! Would you be willing to return the gesture?


  4. Actually I've never seen Mad Men-- What a coincidence! We don't have Mad Men on TV but we can watch it online. I followed you too and I loved your piece on the "real LA"- an interesting insight into a life we hardly ever see in the magazines!

    Keep checking out my blog! xx


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