This time of year, we’re happy for any excuse to slip into a Barbour® jacket made by the much-loved English outerwear brand that—with its waxed cotton fabric—basically created the concept of “weatherproof” back in 1894. The same family has run the company for 119 years, making us even more enamored of this storied label (which now counts Kate Moss and Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner among its fans). Naturally, that got us thinking about other things from the UK that we think are positively ace.
1. Uncle Harry’s Coat
It would be downright irreverent to mention Barbour without name-checking the oldest known jacket in the brand’s archive. This all-purpose, double-breasted outdoor coat protected three generations of the MacPherson-Fletcher family starting from 1910 until it was donated to the Barbour archives at its home base in South Shields, a coastal town in northern England.
The thick, low-lying mist that rolls through the English countryside and blankets London streets rendered Barbour’s waxed cotton jackets a necessity. And, probably because we don’t have to live with it every day, we find it romantic.
3. A Cuppa
Tea, that is. We like to think of high tea as an excuse to eat tiny cakes and scones whenever our hearts desire. But the “high” didn’t originally mean fancy at all—it actually referred to the tall (or “high”) tables workers sat at during the Industrial Revolution to enjoy their hearty evening meal, complete with a freshly steeped cup.
4. The Smiths
And The Beatles. And The Buzzcocks. And Nick Drake. And Adele. And M.I.A. And Duran Duran. And Fleetwood Mac (Surprise! Explains why Rumours is spelled with a “u.”). And Roxy Music. And Arctic Monkeys. And Dusty Springfield. And The Cure. And Queen. And Led Zeppelin. And David Bowie. And The Rolling Stones, etc.
Why, sure, we have the English language in common, but they pull from an entirely different dictionary—one that includes words like wazzock, naff, buggered and jammy. Just brill.
6. The Ridiculously Cool Women
From Kristin Scott Thomas’s silk pantsuits and Jane Birkin’s high-waisted denim to Kate Moss’s ubiquitous cutoffs and Marianne Faithfull’s floppy hats, we’ve taken plenty of style cues from across the pond.
7. James Bond
There’s plenty to love about Ian Fleming’s dashing, globetrotting spy, but maybe at the top of our list? He worked, in the last seven films at least, for a woman: M, the no-nonsense Head of Secret Intelligence Service, who was flawlessly portrayed by Dame Judi Dench.
8. The Iconic Red Telephone Booth
Some trivia about it: It’s called Kiosk No. 6 for its place in the prototype design sequence, and since many are no longer used as phone booths, they’ve found new life as libraries, art pieces and, odd but true, as easy-access storage for life-saving equipment on street corners of Scottish towns. And Brits now have a chance to own one: British Telecom has put decommissioned boxes up for adoption for just £1.
As in, “to stand in line.” Doesn’t it just sound more civilized? After all, you know what they say: Keep calm and carry on.