England Manager Gareth Southgate Has Everyone Buying Waistcoats

England Manager Gareth Southgate Has Everyone Buying Waistcoats

Fans of the team have adopted the coach’s signature style, buying waistcoats in droves—and boosting sales.

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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