So close and yet so far: TV pundits at the FA Cup
The tailoring that four TV presenters were wearing this weekend - to host the first FA Cup semi-final - were an interesting illustration of what I think men find challenging in tailoring today.
For non-English readers, the FA Cup is the big knockout football competition. It’s not as big as the league, or as winning the European competition - the ‘Champions League’. But it has a certain prestige. It’s been running since 1871 and the semi-finals and final take place at Wembley, the national stadium.
More importantly, it’s one of the few football competitions that doesn’t require a subscription. Many games are on public TV, and so they draw a large audience - Saturday’s semi-final in particular, because it featured the two biggest teams in the country at the moment, Liverpool and Manchester City.
It was a national event, and the four presenters clearly felt they had to make an effort.
As my Dad and I sat down to watch the game (he’s a lifelong City fan) we began to talk about what each one was wearing.
The ex-City player Micah Richards (above) looked pretty good at first blush.
He was wearing a blue suit with a white shirt and plain navy tie. There was a navy cardigan and a subtle, folded over pocket square. It looked pretty classic, the cardigan an effective touch.
The problem came when he was pitchside, standing up. The skinny trousers - not a great option on such a muscular man - finished in black leather sneakers, styled like a dress shoe but with a branded loop sticking out the back.
It was a shame, because otherwise the look bordered on elegant. And while I understand that people want to wear comfortable shoes, I suspect the motivation for wearing them is that it’s felt they modernise the outfit somehow.
They don’t. All that happens is that trousers puddle on top, and the soft, bulbous lines of the shoe jar with the sharp, clean lines of the tailoring.
Alan Shearer, perhaps the most senior of the pundits, had made a bold choice: a grey waistcoat under his suit.
There were obvious echoes of formal dress here, where contrasting waistcoats are a common feature under morning coats. And actually while I expected to dislike Shearer’s one, it worked fairly well. The colour was spot on and it made a clear statement that this wasn’t any old match, and he wasn’t wearing any old navy two-piece.
Unfortunately it was also let down by the shoes, which were dark-brown derbys. Not a bad shoe generally, but too casual really for a dark worsted suit, and certainly out of keeping with what the waistcoat was aiming for.
The jacket, on closer inspection, also had a white lapel buttonhole. Rather a cheap touch. It always looks like a gimmick, or more importantly as if the designer had such little confidence in the suit that he had to resort to eye-catching distractions.
It’s just not what tailoring is about. You’re not playing to its strengths.
Danny Murphy, the last of the three pundits being interviewed by the host, Gary Lineker, also made a good first impression.
Mid-grey jacket, white shirt, woven silk tie: there was something of the father of the bride about it, but otherwise it was hard to fault. (And I wasn’t trying to find it. Honestly, nothing would make me happier than seeing elegant menswear beamed around the country.)
The issue was that the jacket looked like one half of a suit. You couldn’t tell the material of the trousers (if anyone could, perhaps with a 50-inch and HD, let me know) but the jacket was certainly a hard worsted material, and looked orphaned from a lost bottom half.
It would have been much better as a suit, or with a jacket that was clearly a blazer - something with more texture.
The brown shoes were also a bit long and pointy, but that was minor.
Lineker showed them all up. Not by dressing spectacularly well, but by doing everything simply and correctly.
Dark suit, white shirt, dark tie with a subtle pattern, black polished shoes (below). You wouldn’t hold him up as a style icon, but he managed to show how each of the others had missed the mark in one way or another.
I thought this was worth covering because these are all things men commonly get wrong. Wearing parts of a suit separately; mis-matching formalities; going for gimmicks rather than subtleties of cut and fit.
There are many things wrong with the concept of ‘rules’, including the fact they have far less relevance to casual clothing.
But they're good at encapsulating pieces of advice for dressing smartly, better. And that’s why they can often be a good starting point.
I also think that as guys wear fewer suits to work every day, they will need more of this advice, not less. Because when they feel the need to dress up - as these four presenters clearly did - they won’t have a uniform to fall back on. They’ll be less sure what to wear, or why.
Hopefully PS (and PS readers) can carry on helping them out.
P.S. Sorry you lost Dad, but you’ll win the league anyway. You had to give Liverpool something.
The big watches on display don’t help much either Simon.
Very true. Always undermines elegant tailoring
Very interesting article. I often see some of the news presenters on the BBC or ITV News wear beautiful blue suits with a distinctive sheen to the fabric… maybe Studio Lighting. Look at Robert Peston, for instance, sometimes he seems to wear a rather distinctive velvet jacket… very stylish. I noted a weather reporter recently wear a blue /turquoise jacket and what seems a light beige pair of trousers. His jacket had white stripes on the arms and side pockets…. quite remarkable. I often wonder if Savile Row tailors are used by these presenters. All in all, very fascinating.
To be honest I don’t like the sound of most of those other outfits, they seem a bit garish. But happy to change my mind if you ever have any images.
I know Shearer uses Sam’s Tailor in Hong Kong, so not exactly not exactly top drawer. But other presenters do use bespoke – Huw Edwards is great friends with Douglas at Fox, for example, and has used Brian down there as well as other tailors. Had a chat to him about it during one of the pop-ups.
Good call on Huw, Simon. I’ve noticed for a while his attire/style, particularly in recent years, is always a notch or two above. Helps that he appears in great shape of course as well. Testament to your views on staying slim through the years.
At the other semi Ian Wright had a very cool tan suit, black knit tie and white shirt. Slightly unexpected but very cool. Couldn’t see his shoes though.
As an aside Stanley Tucci has looked great on his Italian food documentary, obviously buying Italian smart casual very well.
For a horror show check out Dragons Den – Touker Suleyman, “fashion entrepreneur”, whos business idea is invariably, I can make this cheaper in China, looks like a disaster. Peter Jones comedy shoes and socks, and cheesy handkerchiefs prove money doesn’t buy style.
Yes, Wrighty is often the best of the bunch. At the very least, he knows what works for him.
Yes, Ian Wright has has a great sense of style I think. I am always interested to see what he is wearing, and I follow him on IG for that reason.
Great article Simon. You’ve combined two of my greatest passion’s football and menswear. I very much look forward to seeing similar articles perhaps how more and more managers are dressing less formally both domestically and abroad. Wrighty has his suits made at Timothy Everest, I’ve bumped into him twice there and he also doesn’t use a stylist as you questioned below.
I can’t overstate how much I enjoyed reading this.
Thanks, and good to know on Wrighty, cheers
Interesting article. My question: Does a derby really never work with a suit or is it rather more the suede brown derby pictured above? I quite often wear black or dark brown leather derby’s to my navy or grey suit. Something like this: https://www.cheaney.co.uk/cheaney-old-classic-derby-in-black-calf-leather-p37
No, it’s not that it can never work Markus. It’s just always a more casual style of shoe than an oxford, and you should be aware of this when you’re deciding what shoe to wear.
In fact, this is a good example of where it’s important not to think of the rules, but to be aware of what they’re trying to say and then applying them yourself.
You know a derby is more casual than an oxford, so you’re suggesting it in a smarter leather – you understand the logic. You may also realise that with a more casual suit (eg cord) a derby can be fine.
You know all this, it sounds like, so just look in the mirror before you leave and think whether you think it looks right or not – or good or not.
If Shearer can understood, he would probably have looked in the mirror that morning and decided to swap for a black oxford.
To stick with the examples given – would Micah Richards have been fine wearing a dark brown derby? I think so.
Maybe. He would have looked better in an oxford, preferably a black oxford too. Brown often struggles with stronger blues like that, aside from the formality question.
But all those would have been better than a sneaker.
My view is that we’re looking at this all the wrong way. I agree that the little details are somewhat off (white buttonhole stitching etc), but think your view on formality is wrong in the context of a football game. Black oxfords are about as formal as a shoe gets, and when worn with a black suit, as suggested, they become way too formal, especially when standing on the grass at the side of the pitch.
So for me the better reference would be Bayfield, Wilkinson or Woodward at the Rugby equivalent. Far more appropriate to the context.
And don’t forget the Southgate three piece; totally out of place.
Personally I disagree Lawrence. Lineker on the left does not look out of place presenting the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. The event is important. When it comes to the final, managers too will usually wear suits, despite how active they will be on the touchline the whole time.
I don’t think anyone has suggested wearing a black suit.
OK let’s agree to differ.
Sport is sport. Black oxfords are the most formal of all shoes. Formality is driven by context. Appropriateness is driven by circumstance.
Absolutely Lawrence. We only disagree on the importance of the event.
Stats suggest that average audience size for Six Nations games are more than three times the size for the Liverpool vs City game.
Thanks Lawrence. I’m not sure size is the best guide here though. The FA Cup is in the same bracket as Wimbledon, or Ascot, as a national event. Of course, that’s also the reason the final always has to be on terrestrial television.
If you’re suggesting that I’m afraid you are mistaken. Research any “society” events and you will find Ascot, Wimbledon, Henley, and others, but the FA Cup does not feature among them.
I’m not suggesting it is a society event. I’m saying that in the public eye it is of more significance, hence why it is included among those broadcast events, and why presenters always dress up to present them.
Good evening Simon
Many apologies if I mistook the meaning of your comments.
I read them to mean that the FA Cup final was in some way as important an event in the summer calendar as Henley, Ascot etc.
But I am still not sure, given that you mentioned them, how it fits in terms of their importance.
No worries Lawrence.
The FA Cup is not a society event, but then many of those events only affect a very small part of the population. From the wider public’s point of view, the FA Cup final has always been a special event on television, and presenters (and coaches and others) have always dressed up more smartly.
From that wider point of view, it is more similar to Wimbledon, and most might not even have heard of Henley.
Oxfords don’t work as I have a high instep. Any suggestions on what to ear doe more formal occasions? Thanks
If an oxford isn’t a possibility, then probably a black leather loafer?
I second the comment about watches. Big and even medium-sized watches throw tailoring out. Smaller ones, regardless of the man’s frame do not unecessarily draw the eye on a specific point of the outfit (as a white buttunhole indeed does), have the advantage of slipping easily under cuffs, and are often even more masculine. Drawing back images of 1950s or 1960s men, adding just a light touch of ambiguity. Just my two cents, it’s obviously personal.
I think a fair amount of that is pretty objective to be honest Gab – it’s not just a question of taste, it’s a question of things working harmoniously together. There’s no point having a sharp jacket sleeve and cuff, if they bunch up against a massive bit of metal.
Bond usually looked good in his tux’n’sub
Personally, no, I don’t think he did. It too looks out of keeping with sleek tailoring.
If it wasn’t Bond I think people might look at it differently too.
Mainly Bond wore Seamaster, which is not really a sub. Much sleeker altogether, and actually the watch regularly worn by Prince William.
I think Connery wore a sub, the Seamaster came later
Quite right about Connery, but he made his last Bond movie in 1983!
At the risk of turning this interesting discussion into a bore-off about Bond, I believe Bond wore a Rolex of some sort in the novels – Fleming was most likely thinking of his own Explorer. So Connery’s watch choice was faithful to the source material. The Seamaster connection is purely a financial one thanks to the Omega sponsorship. Personally I agree with Simon – neither of those watches should be seen peeking out of a tuxedo cuff, although I suppose it’s somewhat excusable for Connery to do be wearing a Sub in Goldfinger as he was in a wetsuit moments before and most dress watches have at best 30 meters water resistance.
I think you will find Connery also wore Breitling, and of course Moore and others wore Seiko.
If the Duke of Cambridge is happy to wear his Omega with both Black and White tie, then I would be too.
Out of interest Lawrence, why do you admire the style of the Duke of Cambridge? He doesn’t dress badly, but I don’t think there’s that much which would make me want to copy what he does. Unlike his father.
I am not sure I said I admired his style. I think I was saying that if he choses to wear a Seamaster with black tie, that seems fine to me.
Personally, I always chose to wear a PP at Livery company events, be they black or white tie ( some while ago!!), but was happy wearing my Submariner at rugby club black tie events.
Hope that clarifies things. All about context.
The point I was trying to make, Lawrence, was that the fact the Prince dresses like that isn’t a particularly good reason to do the same, given his style isn’t something to admire.
Put another way, if you don’t admire his style, why follow his lead?
I’d go by longer traditions instead, and go without a watch. Or simply the logic that a sports watch isn’t really fitting with the most formal of tailoring.
Thanks Simon. I don’t think I said I followed his lead.
In person, William is a relaxed, confident and pretty self-effacing guy who is clearly comfortable in his skin, and I think his dress sense perfectly reflects that. I have certainly never had the impression that he feels it necessary to dress “in a particular way”.
Thanks for an interesting discussion.
No worries Lawrence. By saying you followed his lead, I meant the fact you use how he wears a watch as a reason to do the same.
Got it, thanks.
Next time I speak to him I will say that Simon Crompton says you should not wear your Seamaster with black tie.
I think I know what his response will be.
What a shame to resort to insults. Oh well, nice chatting to you Lawrence
Lawrence is just here to let everyone know he finds football beneath him, and that the event is deserving of a tracksuit and sneakers. Take solace in your point, Simon, as very few of the proletariat outside of England pay a lick of attention to posh Henley or brahmin 6 Nations. But we watch the FA Cup and the EPL with great intensity. As Lawrence says, “check the numbers”.
Thanks Sean, but that’s a bit needlessly personal. Please try and avoid that in future comments.
In a way i can understand his choice of wanting to wear his Seamaster on every occasion as it was a gift from his mother. But it does absolutely nothing from a style point of view. I think both Prince’s care little for clothes and style as compared to Prince Charles who i would like to emulate but sadly do not have occasion often enough to justify.
Interesting article, and nice to see analysis of how people outside the menswear industry dress. I do wonder, and perhaps I am being generous, whether the choice of outfits for the pundits may have been made by stylists rather than the pundits themselves. Of course, if such were the case you would hope for a more elegant look. However, as can be seen on the red carpet at many events, following fashion irrespective of whether or not it works for the person seems to be the default for some.
True. I doubt these were mostly questions of following fashion, but I can see how others could have affected their choices
Mr Murphy appears to have committed the unforgivable sin of leaving the tacking stitches in place on his jacket’s vents.
Oh dear. I didn’t notice that. Amateur
Hi simon curious how you would dress on the top as micah if you had to keep the black trainers on for practical reasons (kicking a ball, standing on wet grass etc)
I wouldn’t wear tailoring, but perhaps some good chinos and a sweat – as shown here?
Or an oxford shirt and hardy chinos, as here. Both with paler trainers if I could though.
Just do it like Becks, I reckon
Micah is usually a well dressed guy,but,I agree,he often wears trousers that are too tight. I think he is going for the athletic look he usually wears, but forgets that tailoring is different .
Do you think their shirt collars were all on the large size?
You mean as in height? Probably not – Danny’s is fine and Micah’s seems to sit well with his jacket, as does Shearer’s. Lineker’s is tall, but actually not bad in relation to his face. Just could do with a taller collar on the jacket.
They’re minor points compared to everything else though
Good morning…well Simon you do consulting……there you go…..they are calling for Simon …..HELP…Well aware of the FA CUP….even though I am a New yorker i am supporter of ManU..my team needs to rebuild …its lacks team speed..if Rinaldo does not score. They don’t win…The Permanent Style family…..stay safe and enjoy your day and week..peace
No self respecting supporter of Manchester United ever refers to the team as Man U.
It would also appear that Danny Murphy hasn’t removed the press stitch from the vents of his jacket.
Yes, that’s quite revealing
Nice piece, as always. I’ve been watching the second semi-final on ITV, and the people in the studio were dressed generally much better with Roy Keane being perhaps the best. But they were sitting behind the table, so it is possible that the most problematic areas were just hidden beneath it.
Thanks Simon for a good and useful post. I agree on the observations and that Lineker looks relatively smart except that his trousers are too skinny.
No worries Raheem
Raheem Sterling is a PS fan?! :O :O :O
Great article Simon, had a little chuckle at this one, both on account of your writing, which draws a laugh occasionally (I think that has to be intentional on your part) as well as the points raised.
I’m far from laughing at the pundits themselves, I enjoy watching all 4 of them when MOTD etc. is on the TV, it’s just the fact such small changes would make the world of difference, echoing the sentiment of so close yet so far. On the verge of elegance.
Danny – remove the vent stitches, complete the suit, maybe reconsider the shoes. Micah – more relaxed leg line below the knee (even slightly), reconsider the shoes. etc. These are four guys with financial means far beyond many PS readers, I suppose though we all appreciate that has little to do with true style.
Thanks CK. Assuming you’re laughing at the bits where I’m trying to be funny, then yes it’s certainly deliberate
Very important article. Fortunately none of them were wearing the “formal” leather shoe with the off-white rubber sole.
Thanks for the insightful article. Since shoes often seem to be the problem for these Gents, there appears to be a great opening for the likes of EG, JL, GG or CJ to supply England’s finest dress and smart (casual) shoes. Obviously, for football teams, the sponsoring costs will be likely prohibitive, but there could be other avenues, such as the national team or individual sponsoring. For instance, outfitting Gary Lineker would go a long way given his large presence on TV.
As far as I could remember, Lineker is very close to the Glasgows at GC and he must have been well catered.
Great review of common mistakes by people who could easily have put some effort into getting it “right” or more certainly better.
The reality is they probably spent more money for it to look worse.
I thought Gary looked perfect. The perfect blend for the occasion, carried off very well. In fairness he dresses very well – at least he has done for last decade. Maybe not so much before that.
Except for the skinny trousers, surely.
Simon, I agree with many of the comments but for me seeing four men wearing jackets and ties at least sets a good example to the millions of people watching about the power of dressing elegantly. Work to be done on some of their choices but a good example nevertheless. It gives me some hope that all the articles about the tie being dead etc.. may not be accurate. Hope you had a relaxing Easter !
Thanks Thomas, well apart from spending too much time analysing football pundits, it was great thanks!
Yes I agree, we should applaud the fact they were wearing suits and ties at least. This was a special occasion and they did all seem to recognise that.
I just don’t think suits work in this context. It’s not a wedding or a high society party, but a sporting event in a concrete open air stadium with plastic seats and a passionate tightly packed crowd. They would look better in smart robust casual wear, the sort that can withstand a sudden shower or soft drink spillage . I can’t imagine them suiting up to attend games normally, so this looks a bit unnatural to me.
I think in general there’s a point there Phil, but not for a game like this – as I said, it has a particular import, it’s a national event. If you’re on TV presenting it, you would be expected to be smarter than normal.
I’m quite certain Gary Lineker won’t be sitting next to Tom, Dick and Harry having lager spilled over him in the 12th row.
They are there in an entirely different context than the rest of the crowd in attendance.
Hi Simon….outside of these 4 what are your thoughts on how some of the other soccer pundits dress, specifically Jamie Redknapp who wears alot of Thom Sweeney and Rio Ferdinand. Thanks Colin
I don’t really watch enough football to say I’m afraid Colin. The only thing I watch is Match of the Day (as noted, I’m not a big fan so don’t have Sky etc). On MOTD, I think it’s an interesting exercise in wanting to appear slightly smart without wearing a jacket – collared vs crewneck knits, shirts that are interesting without being cheesy etc
Simon, I appreciate your style of critiquing without attacking. I think it makes the information easier to digest (especially for some guys who might do the same things as these presenters.) I think it’s funny too, compared to their American contemporaries, these four look much better dressed. Thanks for the article!
The biggest faux pas was Danny Murphy not cutting the cotton from the side vents!
Is the problem with the shoes that they were trying to pair “outdoor smart” shoes for the pitchside with tailoring for the cameras?
I don’t think so – they weren’t running around the pitch, merely standing there for a few minutes. The rest of the time they would have been inside, not on grass etc
Now that’d be a look: suit and football boots!
Maybe this is more a question for a separate post, but what percentage of the population, in your opinion, would even remotely notice these things? Without even noticing the details, how many people can actually say that a person is better dressed than another, when there’s an accumulation of details that we find obvious, but may not be so, for the vast majority of people. I’ve noticed that the overall impression you give of being a “well-dressed guy” is vastly more important than the difference we think quality clothing makes. I’ve worn really expensive and nice shirts and for the most part, didn’t get more compliments than with very cheap shirts — all things being equal. My question is: how many people would actually notice a difference if these men did everything right?
So I think there are two questions there – one, the relation between cost and style, and the other, about whether people notice these details.
The first is an interesting one, and something I’ll definitely cover separately.
The answer to the second is that no, the vast majority of people would not notice the details. But, they would think the person looked particularly good/elegant/smart, whatever word they would use, if they got all the details right.
In exactly the same way as some people will say that these guys do look good because of the things they have already done right. Like Micah’s cardigan for example.
I suspect that if asked and pushed a little people would be broadly be able to say who looked best put together. But I think would find it hard to say why and I’m not sure, unless asked, they would particularly notice who was well dressed vs less well dressed. I’d imagine most people would be focussed on what they were saying.
True, and obviously that’s the point of them being there. I don’t think anyone would say clothes are the most important thing, merely that they are important.
I think the details and the overall appearance are important because people mostly remember impressions. The details, then, are important when giving a good impression. It’s well documented that people’s looks have a (large) effect on the perceived expertise and intelligence and the like. Nobody will admit that “I believe Mr. Expert because of his strong jaw and tidy haircut”, but it’s pretty much what they do.
They don’t need to realize if something is a bit off for that to have an effect. They don’t need to be able to articulate that Mr. Pundit’s trousers were too long, or that his neon yellow G-Shock didn’t work very well with his dark brown suit.
I think that all of these details are extremely important. I’d even say they more important than the content. That is, average content excellently delivered (including everything related to public presentation) leaves a better impression than excellently knowledgeable content clumsily delivered.
I’m not sure that in general people would say clothes are important but that once a basic bar is cleared it makes very little difference. They might be wrong and I think you’d say actually the small details, cumulatively, make quite a big difference to the overall impression. Or to put it another if you’re reading this site (and especially writing for it) we can be pretty confident you’re overweighting the importance of clothes compared to the general (and presumably football watching) population.
Somewhat relatedly there’s some nice quotes in this GQ piece (https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/fashion/article/gary-lineker-style-interview-2021) from Lineker:
“I’m on TV every weekend. When you go into people’s living rooms, which I obviously do, I think it’s just respectful to try to look relatively tidy”
I think that’s spot on. And one I hadn’t thought about which does add a degree of complexity to dressing:
TV is difficult to dress for. When there’s a green screen, you can’t wear green. You can’t wear white and you can’t wear any patterns. You’re so restricted so you end up going through ten of the same shirt. I’ve seen myself on shows before in a colour I definitely wasn’t wearing, because the green screen distorts everything.
Thank you, nice quotes
In my BA studies (History) the most important class to understanding the craft was the basic period seminar, where we read texts in small groups and analyzed every sentence in context. This piece reminds me of the method taught. These were my favorite classes.
Nice article, Simon. More of these would be great. It’s easy to be labeled a critic but there are a lot of us out there who genuinely need help and you can provide it
Agree with all your comments but would like your views on trouser width. Even with Lineker that skinny look just seems wrong. That material puddles up and doesn’t flow or break well.
Fashion over style surely?
Length and width perhaps different there – Lineker and Richards kind of have the length wrong, which causes the puddling, and means you can’t see the narrowness very well. But yes, they would both suit a slightly wider leg. Trousers do vary over time, but the extremes are always short-lived fashion.
The biggest problem with these fits are the pants, period. Some are worse, but they are all bad… really bad
Personally, I think linekar’s best look was in boxers after Leicester won the premier league. 😂
Critiquing the style of sportscasters is shooting fish in a barrel. Though you have to wonder, since they all have professional stylists, if the rules they’re breaking are not consistent with the taste of the average viewer—and are therefore moot.
Do you know they all have professional stylists Ben? In my experience most don’t.
And the piece doesn’t just criticise – as you say, it’s easy pickings. Rather, it points out that this particular occasion highlights issues that don’t otherwise come up often, and that they are doing a lot of things right, just missing a small number of elements.
This isn’t the case with all ‘sportscasters’, particularly in the US.
You don’t think the presenters for the FA Cup have access to a stylist—that the BBC has people considering (n.b. not dictating) wardrobe for one of their biggest sporting events? What about Oscars or BAFTA nominees, who disregard if not flaunt rules like “mismatched formalities” regularly on the red carpet?
Events like these suggest that the “rules” of classic menswear do not necessarily conform to the taste of the average viewer. And elegance may not even be the point.
No Ben. As mentioned above, I’ve talked to presenters myself about this, and indeed been in the BBC and presented a couple of times. Wardrobe often comes up.
There will certainly be stylists involved in big shows like Strictly, for example, but even then the presenters’ outfits are usually down to their own choices. Oscars and BAFTAs even more so.
Thanks for the link though, that’s great!
Do men not realize how foolish they look in these outfits? Especially the skinny trousers with the tight openings. How could so many men be lead to believe such ill-fitting clothes were stylish or even comfortable? At 75 I still admire and dress in the style of the icons of my youth in the 60’s…Sean Connery in Goldfinger and Michael Caine in Alfie. Get Carter, and The Italian Job….timeless style just as relevant today as 50 years ago. I only hope my Italian tailor who is a few years older and has been making my suits for decades lasts as long as I do.
When you said Richards had a white shirt, I was staring at it for several moments. “no he doesn’t, he has an incredibly loud blue shirt with pink and white dots OH HOLD ON”
Haha! Another thing I didn’t notice
Really enjoyed this article, a good bit of fun. For ex-footballers who have no doubt been exposed to a huge amount of dubious fashion influence I thought they did pretty well. Check out Graeme Souness on BT, he spent time in Italy and it clearly shows. Never a suit, always separates and always elegant.
Now let’s talk about weather men…..
So many of the media lovies make me cringe at their dress/clothing choices but then some of it is to add to their star ‘look at me’ quality. Many seem influenced by the internet peacocks who make me cringe even more….. That being said, it bothers me not a tinkers cuss because its them not me and if they are happy then more power to them, the only thing(s) that bother me are; not cutting/opening vents etc and those coloured buttonholes (or double lapel button holes), the single odd coloured sleeve button is a particular nasty one… its like a wart on the headmistress’s nose, once seen you cant stop looking. Horrid. A good bank balance does not guarantee good taste and no reason it should eh… I doubt many people notice, most will see money and glamour by association of those wearing the clothes, but then so many also judge a suit by the name alone so an Armani suit is by default beautiful even if it does not fit at all. My nephew asked my advice on a tweed suit for his wedding a few years ago…what I recommended was a million miles away from what he wore, but he was happy.
Hello Simon, I’m figuring out whether a pair of chukka boots from John Lobb fit me. You write: “A shoe should be tight at the back and loose at the front. It should hold the rear of the foot firmly, to stop it from slipping, and provide enough room at the front for the toes to move freely.”
The fit is “drum-tight” around the ankle but widens slightly around the heel; I can also add inserts and a stitched-in tongue pad to ensure there’s no slipping. However, the heel would technically still be a bit larger than the exact shape of my heel.
As long as the foot doesn’t move much, have I found the correct fit? Or will I encounter problems as the boot begins to break in and loosen?
I think that sounds fine Ed. If anything heel slippage will reduce after the first few wears, as the sole softens up
On a private channel in my country they decided to put all the football commentators in a kind of uniform: three/four men in the exact same suit, shirt and (ugly) tie. It somehow makes me sad, seeing all the endless possibilities of expressing yourself in a suit rejected for such dull means like corporate branding, or whatever they would call it.
Can we talk about how Danny Murphy has his jacket vents still basted shut?? Rookie move.
Yep – highlighted more than once in the comments above!
I would be curious to read your analysis along similar lines of late night talk show hosts in the US (if you ever happen to watch these programs), e.g., Tonight Show, Late Show, etc.
All excellent points – of course they are trying to be a bit flash, especially with the enormous watches, but as you point out the small errors make things look cheap. I agree Lineker looks the best of the bunch but even then I think he and all the others look to be wearing rather coarse, almost cardboardy fabrics. For me, his shirt collar is a little too large but both it and the lapels of the jacket look like they’re made of card. I am no doubt drawing too many conclusions from a couple of screenshots, but my impression is that a few years ago he was wearing soft pale blue shirts, mid-grey suits, all in the Italian soft-shouldered style. This look is far less flattering, I think.
Yes good point, those were nicer. I wonder whether he was here trying to be a bit smarter
I found this somewhat interesting as we here in Finland have the exact same thing playing out. Big sports event and the presenters dress up – sort of. Finland, of course, is not known for men’s style. Quite the opposite, really, as I honestly think that no other affluent Western nation dresses as poorly as Finns, at least when it comes to men. We have very little tradition, and very little appreciation of even that. England, of course, is the polar opposite of that.
The interesting part is that I saw two things here. First, that the national tradition seems to play a role. The style mistakes these guys have are relatively minor. They don’t look like they don’t have any idea what they are doing, though they obviously don’t have a great sense of style. This part is different from our presenters, some of whom lack any idea what works and what doesn’t (or the sense to ask someone that would have).
If the first thing was dissimilar, the second thing is not. It seems as though they, like so many other people, try to force individuality, personality or whatever, into their attire. I don’t mind that at all, but the way they do it is with gimmicks and by combining stuff that just doesn’t work. Like by wearing large, colourful sports-tracker-GPS-whatever-smartwatches with (dark) suits.
The footwear is also something that especially here in Finland seems to be completely disconnected from the clothes. Even if they don’t go for the now ubiquitous suit & sneakers combination, they do what Shearer did here and see absolutely nothing wrong with it.
A less experienced or skilled footballer might be told to stick to the game plan as trying too much might end up badly. I think the same could work for football presenters.
I always feel almost offended when wealthy men dress poorly. I understand that they might not have an interest in menswear, but they have the means to ensure that they have something of a high quality that fits, when the occasion to dress up presents itself.
Simon! When you say that white lapel looks cheap on dark suit and can be very distracting, then does the same thing applies even to white buttons on dark shirts?
White buttons can be risky, but can also look nice, for example a white mother of pearl on a summer, quite brightly coloured jacket.
It’s not really the same thing as the buttonhole. The point there is that it’s not something a tasteful tailor would ever use
Very interesting, Simon!
For me, it feels what trapped the guests a little was that going to a game is generally a pretty casual activity, but presenting on TV is a professional one, and they got caught trying to straddle two horses.
Hello Simon, What is the best method to place ones name on the
wait list” for the Fitted T-Shirts?
Hope to stop by London in July.
Hi Rob – on the shop page, there’s a black button to click on with an automated form. Any issues let me know
Lineker dresses like he used to play… safe. That’s not meant as a criticism!
I am a bit torn on footballers (or anyone for that matter) wearing bad/cheap suits. The team I support, which plies its trade in League Two, is sponsored by a High Street suit retailer. The style is everything that the PS readership (including me) would hate, cheap materials, probably glued together, scuba-suit fit, etc. Having said that, the team now travels to games, and arrives at home games, suited and booted, and looks so much smarter than before, when it was a mix and match of team leisure and training wear and oversize headphones. So what is worse, terrible, ill-fitting suits or no suits (and no effort) at all?
I like this essay so much. These errors, or let’s say, ignorance in dressing, are so common. People trend to focus more on one particularly area, such as the area close to face, and slight over the rest.
I love this post and I especially love the various comments. They are interesting, informative and entertaining. I had to laugh as I remember when I was young and the advice that was recommended was to buy one suit. Wear it as a suit or add one pair of chinos and wear it as a blazer. We have come a bit farther than that now. BTW; I remember that I cannot wear penny loafers. Top Siders I can wear if those boat shoes have the three holes on each side, to keep them taunt on my feet. More features as this please.
Simon, when you mention the trousers are too narrow, is there a certain hem width, in your view, a dress trouser shouldn’t go below i.e. 19cm for example?
It does depend on the wearer, how slim and so on, but yes anything slimmer than that is going to get pretty skinny.
They should also be able to easily slip over your calves, and not look as if the seams are going to pop on the thigh when you cross your legs!
Its always puzzled me when men dress so well but then look …well ..’odd’
But now I’ve got it !
It’s the trousers … they’re too tapered which throws the whole suit out of proportion (something I’ve been guilty of ).
With age we all put on a little “excess baggage” around the mid-section but we continue to wear slim fit / tapered trousers.
Alan, Danny and Micah are all guilty of this ( Micah being the worse) so they all appear ‘too heavy’.
Less tapering or a more regular drop from waist to leg would probably help .
It’s something I don’t think has been mentioned much on PS .
I love this article and would love more critiquing articles like this. I often find myself what would Simon think and this tells us just that.
Great article, loved it. The dress sense of football pundits has had me puzzled for many years. I see someone mentioned Redknapp and his penchant for Thom Sweeney. To me his look always seems a bit too contrived, but smart nonetheless. I believe he introduced Micah Richards to them. Someone like Souness has a more classic style, with Roy Keane going uber casual sporting a Thom Browne sweater during the Euros. A similar article on mangers would be good. I would propose ex-Italian and Fiorentina manager Prandelli as a starter for ten.
As a City fan myself I was very disappointed with the game.
I must admit to being rather bemused by the notion of dressing up for the FA cup, but then I’ve never had more than a casual interest in sport anyway. To my mind Gary Lineker is the most suitably dressed here, simply because he’s wearing a business suit and shoes at work! The others look overdressed in the sense that they are wearing clothes one wouldn’t quite wear either to the office or on a Zoom call. (I’m deliberately sidestepping the heated discussion about the execution of each of the ensembles here.)
However, there’s probably a case to be made that as broadcasters, football pundits need to dress in a fashion that isn’t too far distant from their viewers’ expectations. But what are those expectations? It looks like the TV channels have concluded that the look should be that of a party where no dress code is specified. Perhaps this is accurate!
Simon – as much as I try to dress like Lineker, I tend to be more comfortable with a mix so as not to come across as too formal (and end up dressing more like Shearer!). Would a similar coloured suede chukka and minus the waistcoat improve Shearer’s look in your eyes? Or even a less formal-looking waistcoat?
I wouldn’t change the waistcoat – that’s such a hard look to do. But removing the waistcoat would help certainly, as would a more casual jacket, if you wear to wear those derbys or a chukka
It’s fine criticising someone’s dress sense if invited to do so. Not good manners when not asked for your opinion.
Isn’t that a little silly Andrew? Obviously they’re not going to ask for my opinion, but as you can see from many other comments here, readers find it extremely useful.
The tone of the criticism is also very polite, certainly compared to anything you normally get on social media.
This enjoyable article highlights the style confusion so many men have these days, made worse by the post pandemic changes to how and where we work. Those football commentators may in some respects be clueless about style, but I think that’s not the whole story. As a lawyer, these days it’s easy for me to decide to dispense with a tie for a Zoom call – but I still feel I need to play safe on screen by wearing a collared shirt rather than a pullover or T shirt. For an in-person meeting I now agonise if I should wear a suit and tie: asking myself whether, if other lawyers turn up in traditional professional man’s attire, but I do not, will my gravitas – and the group’s perception of my ability to argue my client’s point – be affected? I’m confident enough with my professional experience and my own style to say ‘To hell with it – until I know these people I’ll go formal’ but the old traditions did give men the purer comfort of choice over mere choice of purer comfort.
Really just beautifully (i.e. clearly and simply) written and explained.
Should be required reading for any man who’s not some CM nut like us. 🙂
‘You wouldn’t hold him up as a style icon’.
If the outfit is elegant and hard to fault then what are the additional features needed to make a man stylish and looked upon as a style icon?
Good question Joshua.
With William, I’m not sure he is always that well dressed, as perhaps the watch point illustrates. I wouldn’t necessarily use him as a style reference as a result.
But in terms of being an icon, I think it’s instructive to compare him to his father. Despite not always being interested in clothes, and his staff often being involved in clothing decisions, Charles consistently wears tailoring in ways that people find inspiring. It’s not just well executed – with a clear understanding of principles and what suits him – but also a little unusual and fresh in his colour choices, sophisticated in the combinations of colour and pattern between tailoring, shirt, tie and handkerchief. And he has a clear personal style, which it would be hard to say William has.
I haven’t thought it through in detail, but I think those are the main points.
Do they make sense?
Totally makes sense. Thank you!
Oh good. Should do a longer post on that someday perhaps
A quick Google image search will reveal plenty to fault in William’s style. His suits don’t look particularly well tailored, they have incredibly skinny lapels which don’t really do his physique any favours, and he’s regularly seen without a tie in tailoring that doesn’t really lend itself to going tieless. William may be a lovely and charismatic bloke, but there’s nothing in his dress sense that I can see to suggest he has any interest in style.
Interesting, Simon. Menswear (as we all know) is open to incredibly wide interpretation (and misinterpretation) and your article clearly shows the niche aspects of tailoring when compared with ‘style popularism’. So few of the general population will understand or recognize the points made here, especially when we take into account the ‘flash’ cars, watches, clothing, wives, and homes displayed by footballers (and expected by their fans). Offer the average man in the street a free suit made by Prada/Gucci or one from Huntsman/G&H, and I suspect Bond Street would win every time. Similarly, HRH Prince William dresses exactly like many young, affluent OE I know – he delivers on how his peer group and his subjects expect him to dress. I think it’s important to realize that PS represents a niche opinion on style – unknown, unimportant and unpopular to the vast majority, but none the worse for that.
Thanks DE. I disagree slightly, in that while it is niche, I have always found that when I meet people who typically dress like that, they will admire how my tailoring is cut – they won’t be able to say why it looks good, unless there is a strong detail that catches the attention, but they will recognise it looks better than others.
MOst of the time the problem is ignorance of what makes something look good, rather than a different opinion.
Very interesting article and debate
Simon now you have noticed that Micah Richards were actually wearing a blue shirt with white dot (not white as you thought) will you rephrase that he look pretty good in first blush?
Michah wasn’t, that was just a joke. The dots are lights – you can see they’re on his suit as well
Yes, Lineker does not take any risks but that may be the sensible thing to do if he thinks he is not especially adroit at this game.
Not to say it is really a mistake but I would say if you want to stay formal but are going to walk the grass keep the Oxfords but get them liberally brogued.
I would suggest that Gary Lineker has got the two basics correct ie keep it simple and make sure that the clothes fit.
The pants were the worst thing and all those pants were ******* horrible. Why is there a need to have the skinniest pants that drape terribly? I have also noticed a lot of people in the media wearing very tights jackets that hug bodies and hug their arms.
Your Dad is a blue, Simon? I ask as one myself and an expatriated Manc who has lived in “that London” for years now and had a lot of my edges worn off. I still make it to the Etihad about ten times a season though.
Just out of interest do you have links to Manchester?
I’ve always been inspired by the style of Mancunians who tend to be well turned out and take a great deal of pride in what they wear. Not fine tailoring but plenty of Permanent Style ethos on show in Manchester if you know where to look.
Yes, that’s where he grew up – in Wilmslow. My grandfather was actually a steward at City.
The name Crompton comes from that area – Crompton and Shaw near Oldham.
I know Manchester better now from visiting Private White up there so often for the work we’ve done together.
Very interesting… Concilio et Labore!
Thanks for a great article. As a fan of football and tailoring, I’m always appalled as to how some of these pundits (and wealthy ex-pros) show up on camera. They can come off so cheap. You’d think they would have the means and access to good tailors being English. Graeme Souness shows up well but he scares me. And a sports watch with a suit just comes off as trying too hard, throws off any elegance of a suit.
Probably need to look abroad such as Andrea Pirlo or Roberto Mancini for more elegance.
Which leads me to a question, Simon. I really liked your film on the Neo-politan style v English Style.
Its been almost a decade since I worked in Cork St and would spend my lunchtimes browsing shoes on Jermyn street. But now with a lot less disposable income could you offer some advice as to wear do they go in Italy for some wardrobe basics.
When the high street companies here offer “italian style” shirts it reeks of mid-life crises. Does there exist a sort of italian “charles tyrwhitt”
Any help would be much appreciated.
Sure, I’d suggest trying somewhere like Boggi perhaps, or Luca Faloni. Both have clear Italian influences, though perhaps Faloni is a bit more international. Both tend slightly towards the slim and even tight, but mostly in trousers. See you what you think.
Both look great and are exactly what I was looking for.
Thanks for the advice.
Oh good. Do leave other comments in the future if you ever have other inquiries