Fashion in the fast lane

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Driving clothes go further back than the advent of the car, to a time when people travelled in horse-drawn carriages and appropriate outerwear was required to protect one's clothes from the dirt and dust from the road.

Fashion in the fast lane

The introduction of the motor car led manufacturers to create clothes targeted at car owners and their passengers.

In the early days of motoring, it was suggested some people spent just as much on driving attire as they did on their cars. Extravagant as that sounds, motoring at the turn of the century wasn't exactly the warm, dry experience we have today.

Heavy fur coats, warm hats and even goggles were commonly worn to protect drivers from the elements and, as so often happens, the clothing worn became a status symbol - the plusher your coat the fatter your wallet.

While windscreens and roofs have become the norm, the trend of dressing for driving hasn't gone away and there are some items of clothing which will always be synonymous with getting behind the wheel.

Glamorous gloves

 Driving gloves

Gloves remain intrinsically linked with driving, a link which goes right back to the early days when it was desirable to have the right type of glove for every occasion, whether in the car, out of the car or working on the car.

Now we're more likely to associate them with classic car owners or professional racers. For the former it's more of a fashion statement, a nod to the history of driving, for the latter, gloves are essential for safe driving.

Films like Drive, starring Ryan Gosling as a mechanic/stunt-man/getaway driver, show driving gloves aren't just for the Sunday afternoon gent. If you fancy getting your hands in a pair (see what we did there?) sites like Tom, Dick and Harry are worth a browse.

 

Dapper driving jackets

Driving jackets

Not to bang on about Ryan Gosling, but his scorpion embellished satin number in Drive is everything you'd expect from a driving jacket. It's coffee-coloured satin with a yellow scorpion on the back, it doesn't exactly scream fashion, but then Gosling does have a way of making any outfit look good.

The original driving coats were known as dusters (because they kept dust off your clothes) while the satin bomber gained popularity during the 1950s. The shiny satin jacket has lost some of its sheen over recent years (thankfully) and in its place we now have leather, sheepskin and matte polyester.

If you're interested in indulging your inner driving champ then visit Superdry or ASOS for inspiration.

 

Sophisticated shoes

 Driving shoes

No outfit is complete without some fancy footwear; looking good is important, but safety and comfort are key when it comes to driving shoes.

Driving shoes came to prominence in the 1960s and were popular with wealthy gentlemen who were concerned about the soles of their shoes wearing away. It was also thought regular shoes may be a tad wide for driving so driving shoes were born, narrower than a standard shoe and knobbly on the bottom.

Driving and boat shoes (also known as deck shoes) are similar in style but it is the distinctive bobbles or bumps on the soles which make them ideal for driving. If you want to step in to some stylish daps then head to Russell & Bromley or Modern Gentleman to find out how to make your footwear fancy.

 

Heavenly head scarves

 Driving head scarves

Nothing quite says chic like a lady wearing a silk headscarf. They're most often worn to protect perfectly coiffed hair from the elements when heading off on a leisurely drive with the roof down.

From Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Bridget Bardot, to Bridget Jones and Thelma and Louise, wearing a luxurious scarf wrapped around your barnett serves to keep your hair in check while managing to make you look super sophisticated.

If you're looking for the perfect print for you, then head to Accessorize where you'll find a pretty extensive collection. Team with a pair of cat-eye sunglasses for the ultimate Thelma and Louise look.

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