When travelling, most Brits abroad try to fit in with the locals, but what does this look like when it’s the other way around?
Personalised clothing service Thread surveyed 200 Brits in June to discover the top British wardrobe essentials of 2022 to reveal our clothing staples as a country.
Top 10 British wardrobe must-haves
It’s no surprise that these staple trousers take the top spot, with 37% of people voting this as a major British wardrobe essential.
Jeans come in all shapes and sizes, perhaps making them so popular amongst Brits. It’s about finding the perfect style for a straight leg, slim fit, or skinny.
It can be impossible to find the perfect fit for jeans, but here are some pointers that can help you nail the ultimate wardrobe classic from Thread stylist Toby Standing:
Measure your waist like a professional: For straighter, looser fits (which tend to have a higher waistband), wrap a measuring tape at belly-button height. Don’t breathe in to get a true-to-size fit. If you prefer a slim or skinny fit, drop the tape a couple of inches, nearer to your hips but above your buttocks.
Think in threes: Even when working in inches, not all denim brands cut their jeans to the same size. A 34-inch from one company might be more generous than the same size from another. This means that when you’re experimenting with a new brand, it’s worth picking up a pair on either side of the waist measurement you think will fit.
Take them for a spin: Try them out to test the sizing. Still, feeling snug? Size up. Conversely, if the denim has a lot of stretches, that will get baggier, so consider that. Note: if they’re raw denim, they’re also likely to stretch a size or half a size.
Another versatile staple is the humble trainer, the perfect shoe for a morning commute on the Elizabeth Line, a light jog through Hyde Park, or simply dressing down an outfit for a trip to the pub. A quarter of respondents deemed these essential to their year-round wardrobe, and we can see why.
The best thing about trainers is their inclusivity. They are a non-gendered product, and the shoe can suit any owner. If you’re looking to follow current trends, chunky dad trainers are crucial if Bella Hadid’s summer uniform is anything to go by. Scrunch down some thick white socks and pair them with anything; this look works with pretty much any style.
Considering the British climate, boots are an essential wardrobe staple, so their 3rd place spot makes practical sense.
Hardy boots are great for withstanding all conditions – snow, rain, mud, you name it. Not only that, but they’re a fashion statement in their own right. Chunky boots can add a grunge element to any fit, from dressing down a summery mini dress to styling a casual trouser.
Tied with boots in 3rd place is the year-round staple Knitwear. The perfect summer throw-over on those long nights sat in the open air provides an essential layer of warmth for those bitter winter mornings.
Chunky cable knits are a pinnacle of British style from the trope of the English romantic lead to a beloved grandparent in their perpetual cardigan.
Sweater vests have made a big comeback in 2022 too. Sport the item with a tee underneath or on its own with a pair of relaxed, high-waisted trousers for a cool, on-trend look.
A fundamental to any wardrobe: a pair of pyjamas. Operating less according to trends, pyjamas are all about personal preference and comfort.
For the winter months, fleece-lined pyjama sets are crucial to chilled evenings spent cuddled up in front of the TV, not to mention being a classic stocking filler come Christmas time. Summer, however, calls for breathable materials (like linen or cotton), shorts and vests for the warmer evenings.
The split between genders
Interestingly, perhaps unsurprisingly, there was some gender disparity in wardrobe-essentials.
Men and women agreed on the top spots, with jeans and trainers remaining consistent. However, the belt was the third place for men, as 20% of respondents deemed this much more important than boots. A belt sat in third place for women and bronze overall.
In contrast to the results, a belt can be a great staple in women’s clothing and the perfect way to cinch in the waist of a baggy outfit or tie in the colour scheme of your overall fitness.
Women voted ‘leggings’ in sixth place with 19%, which may explain why belts are significantly less important to their wardrobe than men’s. Only 3% of men voted for leggings in their love for belted trousers, which significantly improved the wardrobe staples.
Leggings are for everyone and are often coined as the ultimate slouching trouser. Men can easily style these, too, paired with their comfiest slider and warmest hoodie for those low-key days.