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The rise of the toff – fashion inpired by the aristocracy

There’s no doubting that the past couple of years has been pretty good for the British Royal Family.  The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee event was a massive success generating huge global interest and renewed royal tourism in London. This was followed shortly afterwards with the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  Kate in particular, has revived interest in the Royal Family around the globe  and more importantly for this blog, what they are wearing has become a hot topic from New York, to Paris and Sydney.  Kate’s love of fashion has boosted sales at high street brands like LK Bennet and Zara as fans seek to emulate her style, but it could be a different and slightly unexpected Royal, that leads the latest fashion craze this autumn/winter season…

Prince Harry’s, latest exploits in a Las Vegas hotel has sparked simultaneous disapproval and applause on a world wide scale, but the media focus on Harry and his Eton toff brigade has also created an unexpected interest in the whole lifestyle of the aristocracy. It’s a focus that has led to numerous clothing brands using images of country houses, and upper class pursuits to promote their autumn/winter ranges.

For some of these brands it’s an image which is a good fit for their customer demographic of high earning (or already monied), middle to upper classes who see the quality of their clothing as an extension of the quality of their status or standing in society. However, for some of these brands I can’t help but wonder if the fit is quite as good, with many attracting a less well off or less privileged shopper.

What is clear however, is it’s a fashion trend that will be huge this winter and I predict that by May next year, you’ll be seeing everyone from gang members in Manchester to bankers in London, all wearing tweed jackets and deer stalker hats as they picnic by the river with their equally kitted out chums from schooldays.

Check out some of these e-commerce websites offering a slice of Eton chic for the country gent in all of us:

Tommy Hilfiger UK
Tommy Hilfiger UK website

Ted Baker
Ted Baker UK website

Jack Wills
Jack Wills UK website

Will we see cockneys rowing down the Thames in a straw boater and stripey jacket

and it’s just as big across the pond:

Tommy Hilfiger US
Tommy Hilfiger US website

Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren website - is croquet the next big thing

Maybe we’ll see Prince Harry leading next year’s trend by wearing oversized basketball t-shirts and dollar sign bling as he cruises around Chelsea in his lowered Bentley?

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2 comments on “The rise of the toff – fashion inpired by the aristocracy

  1. Heather Strang
    September 17, 2012

    Love this! Was just reading in O mag that tweed is all the rage.

    But don’t you think customers are going to get a little bit burned out if every retailer is trying to make us look like the royal fam? Should be interesting to see how this all unfolds for the fall…

    If you get a chance, check out the Retail Design Diva ( – we’ve got a whole new look.

  2. sparkstoneweb
    September 18, 2012

    Maybe I was a bit premature in my guess that it’s Prince Harry who’ll be stealing all the limelight this Autumn/Winter. After topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge hit the news this week, maybe her classically elegant style will triumph over the more traditional tweed & tartan look as the media coverage of Kate grows over the coming months.

    Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see how the upper classes react when street gangs and chavs end up wearing golfing plus fours and flat caps as they loiter around Peckham High Street.

    Will Prince Harry and his chums stick to their guns with a confidence that their own tailoring stands out as obviously superior, or will they adopt a new style in an effort to distance themselves from the riff-raff?

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