Patriotic dressing for the classy woman
Let’s be honest; Brits do a great number of things well but patriotism isn’t one of them.
St. George’s Day is celebrated annually on the 23rd of April to remember St George, England’s patron saint. This day marks the anniversary of his death (around AD 303) and is seen as England’s national day. According to legend, he was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess.
Despite this day not being openly celebrated in England, we do have a few annual days that could be deemed patriotic. As such, it is quite difficult to find any sort of style advice or inspiration on how to dress up for an English holiday that doesn’t include a cringy costume. Moreover, if you are anything like me, dressing up to celebrate your country is fun but you don’t want to be too literal about it. After all, looking like your countries flag is rather tacky, don’t you think? This is why I just had to incorporate this English holiday in to my 31 S/S Dress series. However, as patriotic dressing can be rather difficult to address, my tips take in to account any patriotic holiday, regardless of your culture and country.
To put your patriotic pomp on dragon-slaying level during St. George’s Day (or any other national celebration), practice these fashion tips on how to be stylishly patriotic without looking like an English flag.
The vibe – Soooo Bloody English.
Taking your outfit to literally with your national colours and pattern courtesy of your countries flag can result in a look that screams Cheapville. You don’t have to be overly obvious for others to get what you are all about. Opting for something more discrete will still allow you to celebrate the national holiday.
Chose one colour
One of the biggest reasons one can end up looking like a walking flag, is that they take their dressing approach very literal. Whilst there is certainly nothing wrong with anyone’s dress choices, (as long as they are not in offensive attire) if you are aiming for something more discrete it is in your best interest to chose one colour. In this case, as I am celebrating an English holiday, I am limited with colours and thus, had to go with red. Similarly, if I was dressing my West African boyfriend, I’d have to choose green. However, if I was dressing myself for a British holiday, I could choose navy blue or red… or both!
What I then did was ditch the white and opt for black accessories instead. This is because I felt that styling up my red dress with a pair of white boots and matching handbag would not only decrease the quality of my designer dress but also resemble too much of the English flag. By opting for a different neutral colour, my outfit is instantly toned down but still feels ‘English’. This is due to the dominant pop of red. I could however, opt for an outfit such as this. Although wearing a pair of navy pants and a red and white pinstriped shirt is rather casual, in terms of colours it is a great option for a patriotic look. This is because it doesn’t look obviously like a British flag and the outfit formula holds classical, timeless elements. Therefore, if you opt for timeless silhouettes in your countries colours, you can achieve a sophisticated outfit that still feels patriotic but also has all the right elements of elegance.
Implement in to your Makeup
If you are a beauty guru or love experimenting with your makeup then I would really consider focusing on this area of your discretely patriotic get-up. If my dress wasn’t already the dominant part of my outfit, I could have really worked on a glamorous beauty look instead. If you love the idea of focusing on only your makeup look but don’t know where to start, then I recommend looking at Youtube videos for the World Cup. There are countless beauty gurus sharing their ideas on how to celebrate your country through Makeup, which you can experiment with and twist around as you desire.
Get clever in the details
Every national holiday, regardless of the country, will have an important symbolism intertwined. This is worth paying attention to as you can use this symbolism to your advantage and work it discreetly in to your outfit. For instance, St. George’s day is associated with red roses. This is due to many Catalonian men originally presenting their female relatives with roses. Therefore, incorporating a rose or two in to your outfit is a great opportunity to incorporate a part of the holiday into your outfit. Avoiding all resemblance of your countries flag in the process.
The only issue with this particular holiday is that you can look very Valentine. Hence, why I chose a dress that incorporated flower embellishments that weren’t obviously roses but could potentially be perceived as such. I also wore a rose pandora charm on my bracelet as another discrete example of how to incorporate a small patriotic detail into my look. Some other ways I could have approached St.George symbolism is with a basic red dress and a statement rose printed bag. Similarly, I could have done a fancy hairstyle with rose hair accessories or gone totally discrete with rose gold jewellery!
Shop St. George’s Wear
Opt for the Theme
If you are a total creative such as myself then perhaps following the theme of the holiday could be a great alternative. As this particular holiday originates from a Knight slaying a dragon and rescuing a Princess, narrating every fairytale story ever, this could be a great theme to follow. I’m not suggesting you dress up as a princess for the day in a ball gown- although that would certainly be fun! In terms of following this fairytale theme, you could opt for a tulle skirt or a modern day Disney princess such as Snow White. Style should be liberating and expressive, so why not approach patriotic dressing as an enjoyable experience that is completely open to interpretation?
Have a look into the origin of your national holiday and see what you have to work with.
Regardless of the national holiday or how you’re planning to celebrating the day, it certainly doesn’t hurt to dress festively. There are countless ways to tackle patriotic dressing and hopefully with my style tips you can do so in a way that feels comfortable and authentic to you.