Ditch the head to toe tweed, DO wear skinny jeans – and NEVER wear brand new wellies. Here's how to look the part on your country getaway

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  • Follow Sasha Wilkins’s simple country-chic rules to avoid rural ridicule
  • READ MORE:  Why you should NEVER wear bright colours, silk dresses or feathered hats to a wedding, by celebrity wedding planner JOHNNY ROXBURGH who reveals the secrets to a perfect guest outfit

The cut of your jeans, the mere act of carrying an umbrella or your choice of luggage can immediately expose you as a townie in the countryside —from the very moment you step out of your car.

Giving the game away is far easier than you think. In my corner of the Cotswolds, not even your dog is free from scrutiny — if he is wearing a coat, there is only one acceptable brand. So, any time you are planning a trip to the country, unless you want it to be screamingly obvious you are not a local, follow my simple country-chic rules to avoid rural ridicule.


Inappropriate footwear is the number one way to stick out like a sore thumb. You must always have sensible shoes in the boot of the car and, above all, never wear trainers. 

You want to look like you get your fitness fix walking the dogs or exercising horses, not in a gym. Invest in sturdy leather boots from Blundstone or Penelope Chilvers.

DO WEAR boots, £160, lechameau.com
AVOID trainers, £55, riverisland.com

L-R: DO WEAR boots, £160, lechameau.com; AVOID trainers, £55, riverisland.com

Those scarlet or polka-dot shin-high fashion wellies might (just about) pass muster on the mean streets of Harrogate or Haslemere, but they are not fit for purpose in the country proper. 

One needs knee-high wellingtons to stop mud seeping in over the top, and sensible grips to the soles to stop you ending up wriggling on your back like a frantic earwig when you slip.

Don’t worry about the brand — Le Chameau and Aigle are chic, but the poshest people are often found in agricultural Dunlops. The worst crime? New, expensive wellies clearly bought for striding through a Daylesford Organic shop.


DO WEAR a gilet, £59.50, bambooclothing. co.uk

DO WEAR a gilet, £59.50, bambooclothing. co.uk

AVOID a puffer, £300, thenorthface. co.uk

AVOID a puffer, £300, thenorthface. co.uk

While we recommend a cosy, down Uniqlo layer under your Barbour to keep you warm, the bedraggled hamster look when a puffer coat deflates in the rain will immediately mark you out as a city visitor.

Buy a gilet instead.

Perfect for swerving incipient hypothermia on visits to unheated country houses, and for dashing in and out of the car without having to keep pulling your coat on and off.

Smart Cotswolds women are wearing By Soren gilets made from recycled pure new wool blankets, and the men are in Schoffel vests or gilets.


DO WEAR skinny jeans. Cape, £525; belt, £125; bag, £295, and boots, £245, fairfaxand favor.com; shirt, £95, and jeans, £185, ba-sh.com

DO WEAR skinny jeans. Cape, £525; belt, £125; bag, £295, and boots, £245, fairfaxand favor.com; shirt, £95, and jeans, £185, ba-sh.com

AVOID flared jeans, £89, hush-uk.com

AVOID flared jeans, £89, hush-uk.com

The fashion pages want us dressed in loose-fit jeans this season, but country dwellers know that there is nothing worse than acres of wet denim flapping around an ankle.

The skinny leg reigns supreme when tucked into boots, and looks neat under a suitably aged Barbour. Stick to classic blue jeans, or try cords.

While stretch leather trousers do have the advantage of being spongeable when they are mud-splashed, they can be a challenging look to pull off. (They’re best paired with a moth-holed cashmere jumper for the perfect dressed down insouciant air.)


As with the redundant umbrella, your hands will be full already and, anyway, you will be driving everywhere, so you don’t need a designer top- handle commuter bag full of essentials for the day.

If you must carry a bag, make sure it’s strapped to your body (try Tusting’s Hettie, or Barbour’s Isla), and no bigger than absolutely necessary — keys, lipstick, dog treats and poo bags covers all bases.

DO CHOOSE a weekend bag, £130, marksandspencer.com

DO CHOOSE a weekend bag, £130, marksandspencer.com

AVOID a wheelie case, £170, antler.co.uk

AVOID a wheelie case, £170, antler.co.uk

When packing for a trip, keep the wheelie suitcase for air travel, and opt for a leather, nylon or canvas weekend bag or duffle. Try Bric’s, Rains, or Marks & Spencer for good examples of holdalls — or mimic every girl at boarding schools across the country and opt for a Pliage by Longchamp.


DO CHANNEL stealth wealth. Jacket, £495, and bag, £275, fairfaxandfavor.com; hat, £89, hicksandbrown.com

DO CHANNEL stealth wealth. Jacket, £495, and bag, £275, fairfaxandfavor.com; hat, £89, hicksandbrown.com

AVOID logos. Crew top, £79, holland cooper.com

AVOID logos. Crew top, £79, holland cooper.com

Think stealth wealth, not conspicuous consumption. Please don’t turn yourself into a walking billboard, advertising a brand by wearing it head-to-toe, complete with flashy logos and interlocking monograms. 

You may think your full Holland Cooper tweed outfit screams country lady, but just pick one well-cut piece — not the entire collection.

Don’t dress like a rainbow — learn to love a colour palette of sludge, greige and browns.

You wouldn’t want to scare the horses, and there is mud EVERYWHERE. Speaking of which, the only white clothes that should be seen in the country are the vicar’s surplice or a wedding dress.


To get ahead, get a hat, runs the old adage, and nowhere is this truer than in the English countryside, where umbrellas are an unnecessary and frankly often useless affectation. You’ve only got to try keeping hold of a dog lead and an umbrella in driving rain while trying to enter the local antiques shop to realise they are best kept in the city. What is needed is a good hat.

DO WEAR a trilby. Hat, £68, reiss.com
AVOID caps. Cap, £95, jacquemus. com

L-R: DO WEAR a trilby (Hat, £68, reiss.com); AVOID caps (Cap, £95, jacquemus. com)

For years I relied on my grandfather’s battered old Christys’ trilby, which I recently replaced with a Rachel Trevor-Morgan felt version for the races, and a fleece bobble hat for everyday. You’ll want to swerve the Supreme beanies or Jacquemus baseball caps.


Unless your dog is a shivery whippet, retired greyhound, or low-slung sausage, country dogs do not wear coats. (In very muddy or Arctic conditions, an Equafleece coat or jumper is just about acceptable.)