Waistcoat sales up as Gareth Southgate sets trend at World Cup

For years, football fans have been able to emulate the look of their idols with replica shirts, but this World Cup something different is happening: supporters are rushing to buy replicas of Gareth Southgate’s England waistcoat.

Marks & Spencer, which has been the official suit supplier to the England team since 2007, said demand for waistcoats has risen 35% thanks to what they say is “the Gareth Southgate effect”.

A full replica suit will set fans back £265. For an additional £25, fans can also pick up the red, white and blue tie that the England manager has been wearing during the tournament in Russia.

The suits, which were unveiled to little fanfare back in May, are made of merino wool woven by the Alfred Brown mill in Yorkshire which also supplied the fabric for England’s 2014 World Cup suits, and for the Team GB uniform for the 2012 London Olympics.

The trend for adopting more formal wear has been described as “reverse casualisation” – a reaction by a younger generation to their parents opting to wear casual leisurewear into their forties and fifties.

The look may not be ideal, however, if the UK’s heatwave continues. Before England’s match with Panama in the heat of Nizhny Novgorod, Southgate joked in an interview that the light-blue shirt he wears on the touchline might be very revealing of just how much he was sweating.

The popularity of Southgate’s waistcoat has sealed his reputation as one of the more stylish managers at the 2018 World Cup – although he has not escaped some fashion criticism.

The bottom button on a waistcoat is traditionally left undone – apparently a style adopted in deference to rotund monarchs being unable to fasten them – but Southgate has been pictured with all his buttons done up.

Despite that, Southgate has greatly improved on his previous highest profile fashion moment for England. The much-maligned “grey” away kit that England wore for the first time in a competitive match at their Euro96 semi-final has become synonymous with the image of a dismayed Southgate after he missed the crucial penalty kick against Germany.

England’s Gareth Southgate bows his head after missing from the spot during the Euro96 semifinal

England’s Gareth Southgate bows his head after missing from the spot during the Euro96 semifinal. Photograph: Lynne Sladky/AP

The grey kit was designed by Umbro in that colour, specifically to go well with blue jeans. With the Southgate-inspired resurgence of the waistcoat, we wait to see what effect this trend may have on future England kit designs.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more