Last month, Bristol and Bath based magazine, Folio, asked me to define Bath’s style. Quite a challenge you might say!
So what is Bath’s style? Is it unique, or is it the same as every other city? Immediately I conjure up images of stylish ‘ladies who lunch’, with Orla Kiely handbags, Seven For All Mankind jeans and designer sunglasses, but I know there’s more to it than that. I explored Bath’s history, talked to local retailers and put together my own outfit, to give you an insight into Bath style.
The city is packed with stunning historical architecture and tempting boutiques, all intertwined and set amongst beautiful, quintessential English villages. The cities boutiques provide locals with unique pieces and vintage items to create an effortlessly stylish and classic Bath look.
Bath has always been a ‘must-see’ on the tourist trail. Leah, of Pink Lemons boutique told me that “most of our customers are tourists especially in the summer season”; combining retail therapy with sightseeing.
In Georgian times, Bath was the fashionable place to visit. Rosemary Harden, Bath Fashion Museum’s curator, spoke to me about Bath’s history; she commented that “unlike London, Bath has never been a centre for the production of fashion.” She went on to say, it was however, the “centre for the procurement of fashion. Fashionable items and textiles were bought by visitors holidaying in Bath; their clothes would be tailored while they were there, and then worn in the evenings to show off. Bath was very much the place to see and be seen”
So is Bath style all ‘ladies who lunch’ and designer jeans? Walking around the city you’ll spot yummy mummies, twenty something fashionistas, and classically stylish Batholians. No different to other cities? However, unlike other cities which also boast universities, Bath’s style isn’t studenty; it is more sophisticated, individual, and boutiquey. Leah has another Pink Lemons boutique in Bristol and comments that “Bath plays a much more relaxed approach to fashion” unlike Bristolians who “tend to have a bit more of an edge in fashion and are more open to new things”.
My own ‘Bath style’ outfit would have to consist of individual pieces from the exciting boutiques. First I’d go to Prey, where I spot a Marilyn Moore ‘Moira’ dress in a fab floral print. Bang on trend for autumn/winter 09, perfect for dressing up and down, and so Bath. Next I want a bag, so onto Sassy and Boo in Margaret’s Buildings; a treasure trove of vintage items, and contemporary designers. The vintage snakeskin handbags take my fancy, as do a pair of large vintage sunglasses. Pink Lemons is my next stop, with their collection of funky shoes, bags and jewellery. I take home some coloured opaques to change the look of my new dress, and can’t resist a piece of statement jewellery that I know will transcend the seasons. All I need now is shoes. A pair of boots catches my eye in Lux, on Bartlett St. I also pick up some foldable pumps by Redfoot; they fit nicely in my new bag and are perfect for tackling Baths steep, cobbled streets, after a night out.
Bath a more relaxed take on fashion. Its style is individual and classic, contemporary and quirky, very much reflecting Baths own mix of old and modern architecture.
To read the full article; ‘A style history of Bath’, pick up a copy of the October issue of Folio magazine