So in my first article previewing the major Autumn/Winter trends for this year I featured Sherling, and in particular, Sherling jackets. It is a trend that has actually gathered steam since I first wrote about it, and now I have seen even more brilliant varieties from the high street, including a great version by Zara that was launched this week available for just £79.99. Now that we have moved firmly into the Autumn season now (if you couldn’t tell by all this rain), I thought we should preview another trend which I think will again be slightly more exclusive, a lot like Sherling.
The town meets country trend is more of a way of dressing, rather than an individual item. Here you will be able to use items you hopefully already own in your wardrobe from past seasons, and mix them together in a new way in order to create multiple new looks. Now town meets country is exactly that – a clashing of styles which can produce some amazing individual looks if done correctly.
Country in this trend should be considered the great outdoors, rather than the British Heritage or Queen’s Country trends that are very prominent this year as well. There are elements of tweed, hunting jackets and the like within this new trend, but for now I want you to think more woodchopper/lumberjack than you do country club/fox hunting. This (LUCKILY!) means we have found another way for you to utilise items such as check shirts, boots and popular winter accessories for another year, without them looking and feeling dated. What I love about this trend though, is that it incorporates new trend items we have seen develop this year such as bright trousers and chinos.
This is where the “town” part of the trend comes in. This is all about bringing the great outdoors to the city centre and mixing these heavy workerwear items with modern slim cuts and tailored pieces in bold and vibrant colours. Think about throwing on a great slim shirt and waistcoat under a thick check overshirt OR chunky knitwear layered under a gilet and mixed with slim cut chinos or trousers. The layering is key to this look, and by layering top heavy and keeping the bottom half simple, you create an interesting silhouette and powerful frame within all your outfits. This is a trend for Winter after all, so it is designed to protect you from the elements.
As you can imagine, this layering is key… do not be surprised to see 3 or even 4 layers at a time used. This is however practical – even for us non-lumberjacks – as it means you can strip off layers and add them again quickly and easily dependant on occasion. The final point of note is that this differs from past years trends by the interesting use of colour. As you will see in my breakdown below, the bold coloured chinos or utility trousers add a new dimension and keep it looking lively and modern. It is also a great way of sticking two fingers up to the weather as you brave the rain in camel, berry, bold blue or even white versions. Just don’t forget the important accessories such as big, chunky socks!
So the people who where pushing this trend on the A/W runways were Ralph Lauren, D&G (along with the avant ski trend), C.P. Company and Rag & Bone. The top 2 rows of the image below showcase exactly how this trend should be done as Ralph Lauren was the biggest design influence on the runways this year.
So how do we get the look and what items will we need to get our hands on this year in order to nail this trend?
Once an item recently ridiculed by myself, the new versions on the market have come a long way from the horrible puffer versions available last year. Still not an item for everybody’s taste, it is amazing for layering in this trend, and really hits the whole great outdoors part of the trend. You do not have to stick to traditional colours or styles with these, as the beige Paul Smith and Lavenham tweed versions below show.
The second KEY item to this trend is the new designer hiking/walking boots. What better way to bring the country to the city than with a great pair of hiking boots? This is the clash of styles we are talking about throughout the trend, because the new modern take on the hiking boot is something you would not see everyday and gives you some real individuality. I expect to see many more versions released over the coming months, but for now take a look at some of the latest releases. If you are not keen on these then your standard chunky boots will do the job.
Of course if we are to look the part of a woodchopper or lumberjack, then we need a checked shirt. There are so many varieties and so many styles available these days that you will all have your own personal preference. For this trend I think you should be looking at thicker over shirt varieties and those made of flannel or wool. This means they can be layered over other tees, shirts, long sleeve tops or even knitwear without appearing odd.
Utility trousers or chinos can be used in this trend but you should opt for bold colours. We all tend to stick to the dark monochrome colours when the weather turns bad and the nights draw in, but utilising colours such as beige, camel, berry and white will set you apart from the crowd, whilst still looking amazing when paired with the right top layering. If you are unsure about mixing such bold colours into your look then opt for a slightly bolder blue colour like the Levi’s vintage version below. It is not too much of a step away from your jeans, but still gives you that differential. If you don’t have a pair of chinos/trousers lying around then obviously you can sub in slim or comfort jeans, but you just won’t have such a defining look.
Remember to wear your chinos like you did in the summer with a couple of turns at the bottom hem. Again like using a bold colourway, this is not something traditionally associated with the Autumn/Winter seasons, but you can get away with it by pairing them with big, thick, chunky socks to keep your feet (and ankles) warm.
The accessories are things you can add to your outfit in order to really ram the trend home and make a look your own. Some of you may already own some of the essentials, such as beanies, thick scarves, cut-off gloves and rucksacks – really anything you would associate with being up in the forest going to work!
Two key accessories which bring that country look to the town would be trapper hats and the thick socks. Trapper hats really show confidence if you can pull them off correctly, and look fresh and modern, rather than odd and geeky. Thick socks, as described above, allow you to roll your trouser hem and keep the look fashionable and unique.
Chunky knitwear is perfect for layering in this trend and don’t be afraid to experiment by layering it under just a gilet and ditching the jacket altogether (make sure it’s not raining though please!) in order to form your own makeshift jacket combination. Also try layering UNDER a check overshirt and folding the sleeves up slightly to show the knitwear is underneath. Little touches like this keep things up to date and add some character to your look.
There is so much knitwear out there right now and you probably already own a lot, but I recommend using Fair Isle knitwear because it sums up the trend well and is bang on trend for this year. Cable knits and shawl collars are also great investments which would look great with this look.
Like we mentioned above this trend is not “true” country but that doesn’t mean there aren’t elements that you can mix in. Waxed and quilted jackets look amazing with check shirts, trapper hats and bold trousers, whilst tweed waistcoats and the like make an interesting addition to your layering.
So now we have described the basic items you need in order to create this look, I have provided two outfit examples as it may not be perfectly clear as to how to acheive the desired effect. This first outfit was inspired by a recent GQ style insert but I can’t remember the exact edition or name of it. Anyway they used the camel coloured jean/chino hybrid produced by G-Star Raw and paired it with a plain white long sleeved top layered underneath a brown tone shirt and then finished off with a great check overshirt which had a blue and red base. It looked AMAZING in their editorial and I made a mental note of how to put it together for my own benefit as well as this article.
To finish the look off you need the correct accessories, so I chose to add thick off white socks and grey cable knit cut off gloves as two extra pieces of knitwear. The dark brown trapper hat fits in perfectly with the other earthy tones in the outfit whilst still providing that all important contrast. The Paul Smith hiking boots are truly beautiful and work so much better than a black pair in this particular colour scheme.
This outfit I put together using some of the items we have showcased above. I started with the check shirt because it is such an important print within this whole trend, and I love this version with elbow patches which really gives off that working outdoors vibe. I then picked out the bold blue levi’s vintage trousers because they are not so much of a step away from the norm for a lot of you and it means it really coordinates with the blue base in the check shirt. I picked the burgundy/brown hiking boots by Kurt Geiger as I love the tone and it mixes well with the red and navy base we have built the outfit from. Plus the laces really do make them look like genuine hiking boots, which will look really edgy when worn in your home city.
I picked the tweed waistcoat because grey will work very well against blue trousers, and also provides an amazing contrast against the check shirt. Plus again we really push the traditional country vibe. Finally I threw on the Paul Smith gilet because I love the beige tone, it doesn’t add too much bulk and the double layering of items without sleeves allows the check shirt to be shown off at all times. Finish it off with the navy and grey trapper hat which not only corordinates with the check shirt and trousers, but the grey tones in the waistcoat as well.
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