Fore Front Fashion
What is Maine style? Christine Mitchell from N’East Style weighs in!
Define New England style in a few sentences
It’s hard to define it in words but I think it comes down to form meeting function. New England is not a part of the country that is very conducive to flighty fashions, one should dress for the day prepared to get into a muck if need be. There is also a lot of respect for traditional style along with supporting local artisans, be it a sweater hand knit in Vermont or a shirt cut and sewn in Maine.
I think there are some nice anglo/gaelic roots in New England style that is unlike other parts of the country. Lots of tweed and wool. It’s also a bit more consistent than the more trendy urban parts of the country. You’ve also got that 5th season, Mud Season, that requires a little something extra in the wardrobe. Like a good yellow slicker and Bean boots.
I think my grandfather’s old L.L. Bean Barn Coat. Its got holes all over, but I love it. If it’s not broke don’t fix it, right?
Do you think fashion in New England is underrated? Or perhaps overrated?
I think that it’s actually getting a good amount of recognition in recent years. Things like fisherman knit sweaters and Birkenstocks aren’t frowned upon anymore. I remember wearing those at boarding school and being labeled crunchy. And not in a good way. There is more respect for the craft and quality behind things like that.
It’s a very honest style. People wear what works for them and their lives, they’re not necessarily trying to impress anyone. But they’re not being lazy about it either.
I think it would be fun to go as a Green Mountain Boy! So maybe I’ll do that this year. But if I were to dress like the contemporary New England stereotype, it would be an outfit consisting of a Patagonia fleece, flannel shirt, Carhartt overalls, and leather clogs.
My family lived in Farmington when I was younger and my grandparents lived in a great old farmhouse in Sedgwick. So I grew up with Maine’s mountains and lakes as well as its coastline. In both places I learned to appreciate the tradition of wearing what works and owning a wardrobe of classic pieces that never go out of style. That along with one vital styling tip: wear layers, even in the warmest months. You never know when a chill will roll in.