Top of the Shops: A Guide to British Fashion on Newbury Street
By L. Angel Morales
Boston is often referred to as the smaller version of London, and it is for good reason; many British fashion brands find themselves opening new stores on Newbury Street, Boston’s own High Street.
Men’s British fashions have long represented the epitome of good taste. The influential trends are seen on a global scale throughout history. Paris is the epicenter of women’s couture, while London, particularly Savile Row, is the center of men’s tailoring. The British invasion, which is emerging anew, is a contributing factor to the popularity of British mens- wear. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who were some of the musical bands that brought the youth quake movement to America. These bands threw the rules of fashion out the window and experimented with vintage looks, the use of patterns, and boutique shopping, which inspired uniqueness and originality. The Mods, Teddy Boys, and Peacocks were some of the styles popularized by this movement. The return to the stage of some of the old-time influential bands has encouraged some of these styles to make a comeback. British music is still very much on trend, with bands like Mumford and Sons, Muse, and Coldplay topping the billboard charts while presenting a unique fashion image. To bring the British look to your wardrobe, check out the top British stores on Newbury Street.
Legacy and heritage are words that have been associated with this brand. Since its inception in 1856, Burberry has been a go-to destination in the men’s fashion world. The British Royal Forces commissioned the gabardine, a waterproof fabric, during WWI. Burberry is best known for its trench coats and its tan, white, black, and red plaid. The brand was repositioned in the late 1990s. Burberry had a facelift of sorts; it became a fashion brand when a new creative director was hired to show at London’s Fashion Week. Burberry is priced at the lower level on the luxury goods scale, making the apparel affordable for the upper middle class. The clothing includes investment and timeless pieces that can be worn at any life stage. The shop flanks Newbury at its intersection with Arlington Street, making it the ideal place to start a stroll down the fashionable street.
Of the top shops on Newbury, Ben Sherman is the only store that is completely geared to men’s clothing. The United Kingdom flags remind customers that they have stepped into a Brit store. Ben Sherman offers a wide array of clothing, including dress and casual button-down shirts, suits, oxfords, polo shirts, and much more. The apparel is geared to the new-age Mods. The silhouette is tapered with authentic British cuts. The moderate price point is appealing for men who are looking for the Brit look but don’t want to break the bank. Ben Sherman is a must see and is found at 154 Newbury.
Fashions in this shop reflect the essence of preppy style. Within the store, the collegiate lifestyle is displayed everywhere, with realistic dorm displays that invite the customers. The clothing is geared towards basic student needs and includes such items as hoodies, sweats, oxford shirts, cable-knit sweaters, and polo shirts. Even though Jack Wills is a university outfitter, the apparel is made with quality fabrics.
One British element in this brand is the logo, a pheasant wearing a top hat and carry- ing a cane. The pheasant is a symbol of civility, but its accessories add humor. Jack Wills is located at 179 Newbury; make sure to stop by and see how “fabulously British” Jack Wills can be.
Imagine walking into an Alice in Wonderland setting, with teapots spouting tea from the walls, faux pastries, and green animal- shaped shrubs. That is the setting this whimsical store provides its customers. Ted Baker is located at 201 Newbury. The shop offers polished yet casual looks for men that are daring without being clownish. The clothing is colorful and has many patterns and textures, but the cut and silhouette are classic. The apparel is priced for professionals, with polo-style shirts selling at $125, while sport jackets range from $325 up to $998. During the holiday season, the festive mechanized window displays are sure to catch the attention of passersby. These displays are a fun mix of whimsy and humor, as is everything in this store.