Guest Post by George Langford (Glitterbird)
aka the NEW Fashion Junior at Large

Fashion and politics don't always mix, but it seems that Mr Cameron's recent arrival at Number 10 has had a significant effect on the style set. It may be 20 years since the Conservatives were last in power, but it has taken about 20 minutes for two very Tory garments to become essential fashion items for young cool scenesters everywhere. The Barbour jacket and straw boater hat, previously the uniform of public schoolboys and huntin', shootin' country folk, are now two of this summer's must-have items.

       The Barbour "Bedale" jacket £179 from

Barbour is an authentic, family owned British brand, which has long been the favoured supplier of outdoor garments to such style doyennes as the Duchess of Cornwall and the Queen.

 HRH Princess Royal showing the cool kids how it is done back in 1988!

The extremely Conservative, upper class jackets are traditionally dark forest green with a tartan lining and particularly pongy waterproof wax coating - so why on earth have they suddenly become fashionable?

This trend has been a slow-burning phenomenon of the power of street style - without any involvement by the brand itself, these jackets have fast become the only outerwear to be seen in, and if you aren't sporting one at a festival this summer, you might as well not have bothered going. Over the last three years, the Shoreditch set have embraced these chunky, hard wearing coats, and Barbour-fever has quickly spread across the rest of the UK.

Boys are rocking the 'Hackney Farmer' look, and smartening up their t-shirts and skinnies by slinging on a wax jacket, whilst girls are teaming theirs with floaty mini dresses and chunky boots for a surprisingly practical festival outfit.  Most bright young things are snapping up second hand Barbours at bargain prices - a brand new one can set you back around £200. However Barbour are quickly producing new styles to keep up with the fickle tastes of the festival crowd - wearing last years model is almost as bad as wearing some neon Wayfarer sunglasses (quelle horreur!). Alexa, Pixie Geldof et al were all wearing their Barbour "Bedale" see below and above at last weekend's Isle of Wight festival, so this trend ain't going nowhere (for this summer at least.) The other Barbour style storming up the popularity charts is the "Antique Coastal Durham".

 Alexa Chung at the Isle of Wight festival in her Bedale

The Antique Coastal Durham, £199.95 from

To get the genuine, country-fied Barbour look, have a look at Oxfam's vintage selection here or get a brand new one from BarbourByMail.
Also making a comeback is the straw boater hat, which has quickly usurped all other styles to be the headwear of choice. Boaters were usually only seen on the heads of very, very posh public schoolboys - they have been regulation accessories at Harrow and Eton for hundreds of years. Apart from a once yearly outing at the (also very posh) Henley regatta, boaters had been consigned to the fashion skip.

Public schoolboys at Henley

A minor celebrity called Lady Gaga wore one last year and kick started the boater revolution - now these cute, easy to wear hats are all over the high street and on the heads of many a style maven.

Gaga in 2009, looking fairly normal, wearing a boater

 CherryBlossomGirl's best pal and fellow blogger, Louise, at Paris Fashion Week.

They are infinitely more chic than the trilby and cowboy styles that seem to reappear every summer, perhaps because they are remain true to a traditional design, just like the Barbour jackets. Gabrielle Chanel originally made boaters fashionable back in the early 1900s - and anything that was good enough for Coco is good enough for me. I bought my own boater from the Angel's Vintage sale way back in March, much to the ridicule of my peers, but look who is laughing now...

If you want to buy your very own boater, check out the Urban Outfitters version here or this classic style from Albertus Swanepoel at Net-a-porter.

Perhaps this move towards traditional British heritage garments is some sort of ironic protest against the Conservative government - a subversive sartorial mockery of the class divide. Wearing a Barbour or a boater is no longer the sole territory of Home Counties residents - everyone is at it! Young, old, 'have' or 'have not', it doesn't matter anymore. Wear your countryside garments with pride and the knowledge that you know you are being ironic, even if no-one else does.

(Images: Wayne Tippet, Rex, Peter Stigter)