Fans of the team have adopted the coach’s signature style, buying waistcoats in droves—and boosting sales.
Here’s a perfectly 2018 case study of how fashion works: while some trends are forged simply by how cool a particular style is, like Nigeria’s World Cup kit, others power through aesthetic shortcomings by becoming the calling card for a particular group. The way MAGA hats are for Trump supporters or box logo tees and Balenciaga shoes are for a particular style sect. That’s how Gareth Southgate, the manager of England’s World Cup squad who wears a waistcoat without a suit jacket during every match, became an against-all-odds style icon. He’s managed to elevate the stuffy waistcoat, the three-piece suit’s least important component, into a bestseller in his country.
“I’m slightly concerned,” Southgate said on the BBC’s World Cup Daily podcast. “As a center-half who took a lot of knocks to the head, I’m not normally synonymous with fashion icon.” Southgate is a former player who, before this run to the World Cup semifinals, was maybe best known as the only guy to miss in a penalty shootout against Germany in England’s 1996 Euro semis loss. After his playing career, he started coaching, but never actually in a waistcoat (more commonly known as a vest in the U.S.).
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