A British Woman Walks Into Nordstrom—13 Items She'd Buy (and 13 She Wouldn't)


(Image credit: Imaxtree)

While our obsession with effortlessly chic French-girl style is an enduring one, I find it's the Brit girls who take more style risks, embody an edgier aesthetic, and are decidedly individual in their style choices. Call me biased (I am British after all), but I always find the outfits across the pond exceedingly more interesting and exciting to observe. There's a certain eccentricity within a Brit girl's wardrobe, a quirkiness that manifests itself in the form of chunky handmade sweaters, heritage fabrics, elements of vintage, and off-beat accessories. It's where convention and rebellion meet head-on. This much is true: There's outfit inspiration to be found wherever you go in England.

While there's no doubt the lines are blurred when it comes to global fashion nowadays, there are certain markers of British fashion that feel unique. In part, it's due to factors such as the weather, its history, and the ever-changing zeitgeist.

As someone who grew up in England and observes British fashion a lot, I thought it would be fun to share the cool pieces British fashion people would buy (and what they're likely to bypass) should they find themselves wandering into a Nordstrom. I'm keeping things hypothetical since there are no Nordstrom retailers in the UK yet. If you're curious, keep scrolling for plenty of shopping inspiration.

Buy: Chunky Black Boots

Skip: Western Boots


(Image credit: @katherine_ormerod)

Stylish Brits favor comfy, practical, and cool lug soles (particularly in versatile black) that are easy to walk in and ideal for the British weather. They'll pair their chunky boots with everything from floral dresses to jeans. 


Buy: Straight-Leg Jeans

Skip: Yoga Pants


(Image credit: @_jessicaskye)

For everyday dressing outside the gym, the Brits forgo yoga pants in favor of jeans. While we see the whole gamut of denim styles in England—from Kate Moss–inspired skinny jeans to trendy baggy jeans—it's the versatile straight-leg styles we see on cool fashion people time and again.


Buy: Leather Jackets

Skip: Varsity Jackets


(Image credit: @francescasaffari)

From oversize leather bombers to biker silhouettes and blazers, a black leather jacket remains a British staple, encapsulating the rebellious rock-and-roll era of the '70s and '80s and the off-duty-supermodel style of the '90s. 


Buy: Floral-Print Midi Dresses

Skip: T-Shirt Dresses


(Image credit: @jessicadiner)

Whether layered with chunky boots, cardigans, and coats in the winter or worn with sneakers and sandals in the summer, floral midi dresses are an item the Brits embrace with a fashion-forward spin and wear no matter the season.


Buy: Granny Jumpers (AKA Chunky-Knit Sweaters)

Skip: Logo Sweaters


(Image credit: @monikh)

Cozy, charming, and eccentric—colorful hand-knitted sweaters and sweaters that at least look like they could have been handmade are an integral part of dressing for the colder climate and add a nerdy quirkiness to everyday basics. Brits generally favor these a lot more than sweaters emblazoned with logos.


Buy: Longline Coats

Skip: Statement Puffers


(Image credit: @nlmarilyn)

British fashion people don't let the gray skies and year-round rain jeopardize their style. Puffers are certainly a part of a British person's wardrobe, but when they want to look polished, they'll opt for a long wool coat to brace the weather in style.


Buy: Relaxed Blazers

Skip: Cropped Blazers


(Image credit: Imaxtree)

One staple you'll always find in a stylish British woman's wardrobe is a relaxed, slightly oversize blazer in a timeless neutral hue or heritage-check print, which they'll throw on over everything from dresses to graphic tees. Classic and cool.


Buy: Relaxed Crew-Neck Sweaters

Skip: Fitted Workout Tops


(Image credit: Imaxtree)

A relaxed crew-neck sweater is an essential staple in a British wardrobe and serves as the backbone to outfits featuring statement prints and accessories. Stick with classic and neutral hues that have the utmost versatility.


Buy: Statement Prints

Skip: Highlighter Hues


(Image credit: @lucywilliams02)

Cool Brits know how to cleverly integrate statement prints, from plaid to leopard, into their outfits to add interest and excitement to their looks. Whether it's a skirt or scarf, skip the neon highlighter hues and opt for a vintage-inspired pattern instead.


Buy: Trench Coats

Skip: Shackets


(Image credit: @harrietstewart)

If there's one item practically every woman owns in the UK, it's a trench coat. Not only is it ideal for the rain, but it's also a stylish and versatile topper to wear over your work or weekend outfits. 


Buy: Loafers

Skip: Peep-Toe Shoes


(Image credit: @lizzyhadfield)

Whether a classic silhouette or a chunky sole, loafers are the flats of choice for stylish Brits wanting to add a polished and cool touch to their everyday outfits.


Buy: Tailored Trousers

Skip: Leather Leggings


(Image credit: @emmarosestyle)

British women love to pair loose tailored trousers with heels and sneakers alike, adding a smart touch to even the most casual of ensembles. A statement accessory will finish the look.


Buy: Retro Sneakers

Skip: Flip-Flops


(Image credit: @alexachung)

The UK predominantly has a walking culture, so when it comes to comfortable footwear, the Brits skip the flip-flops and opt for retro and vintage-inspired sneaker styles to complete their casual outfits.


Next, A French Girl Walks Into Nordstrom—11 Items She'd Buy (and 11 She Wouldn't)

Judith Jones
Senior Fashion Market Editor

Judith Jones is the senior fashion market editor at Who What Wear who specializes in shopping content and trend stories with high-affiliate impact. She shares the coolest, most desirable fashion market finds and brands for every budget. Previous to working in fashion, Judith worked as a TV host on the PBS travel show Globe Trekker (airing on Netflix and Amazon Prime) sharing her passion for travel and culture.