I think I must be losing my touch with the common man. Usually when I tip tap away at this keyboard to give my thoughts on everyman issues like canvassing with flair or who makes Rishi Sunak’s suits, I feel my finger on the thumping pulse of what everyone is talking about. Covid has clearly shaken off the hot streak because apparently George Osborne has had a makeover.
On investigation, George is indeed wearing jeans with his shirt, and New Balance trainers; what more evidence could one need? George Osborne is Editor of the Evening Standard, a title with a hugely talented fashion team, with whom counsel could have been sought. There is no reason why this was the look he wished to present when interviewed by one of the UK’s most reputable newspapers, unless, option one, no such makeover has happened, or option two, the secret weapon behind this new look, specifically his new girlfriend, has missed the mark.
There is no better time to be a middle-aged man with a desire to reinvigorate your wardrobe. When the crash happened in 2008, the marketing of traditional menswear – that is to say not streetwear and conceptual fashion brands – stopped being about youth and vitality, and was much more about men embracing their age and expressing that through elegant clothing. The message was that one’s relevance and attraction doesn’t disappear along with the six-pack you had when you were 18.
Were a real Osbornaissance to occur, this is how he might achieve it. Firstly, jeans are to be avoided, and replaced by seasonal material trousers. Ideally flannel for winter and cotton and denim for summer. N.B. denim trousers are different to jeans and brands like Thom Sweeney, Rubinacci and P Johnson produce some terrific examples of elegant trousers made in comfortable denim. Pleated is better because as much as I am sure the 5:2 diet is working wonders, #DadBod is still there and a pleats will help disguise that.
George Osborne has been busy since his career went into freefall. He’s divorced, fallen in love, got fit and has a new job – as a newspaper editor. Now the former chancellor’s texting Boris Johnson about the pandemic https://t.co/y4Ta8eetNk
— The Times (@thetimes) May 23, 2020
He can keep the shirt, though best to make it something more casual like an Oxford from Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brother with a button-down collar. He is currently one step away from adding a tie and blazer to his look. which makes me nervous. He needs to go in the other direction, and not wearing a shirt you’d wear with a suit will help.
On top of the shirt, a cardigan or soft blazer. By soft I mean the kind of unstructured jacket in scrumptious fabrics that someone like Brunello Cucinelli produces, cashmeres and jersey fabrics etc. A shawl lapel cardigan from Ralph Lauren will allow for trainers but in truth, he should get rid of them altogether, and opt for suede shoes from Crockett & Jones. There is a legitimate market in smart sneakers which he can try out, from Grenson, Common Projects or Mr Porter’s own brand Mr P, though they should be worn without socks, which I don’t really see the former Chancellor of the Exchequer doing.
Let’s put this down to a false start, if you felt you’d missed the great renewal of George Osborne, you haven’t. Which is of great reassurance to me, who felt like I’d allowed one of the more pertinent stories in current affairs to pass me by unnoticed. Hopefully now, with this feature, no doubt read by the great man himself, we can not only keep up with the news, but also be a part of it, inspiring his sartorial sinews and wrenching forth the inner boulevardier.