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Boris Johnson is well known for his scarecrow barnet and saggy suits. His signature “style” hasn’t stopped him from advancing in politics – perhaps the opposite, it helped create the aura of authenticity – but the situation is getting out of hand.
The PM has been spotted painting (pictures, not the walls) on the terrace of Lord Goldsmith’s Spanish villa wearing a bad white work shirt and dark shorts. He was also pictured jogging – yes, jogging – in Manchester during the Conservative party conference donning the exact same get-up.
The latest picture from the Boris holiday has prompted Chris Cook of the FT to ask a pertinent question: Does he not have any other clothes?
Johnson’s sloppy approach to attire is nothing new. Who can forget Boris’ buccaneer bandana and dusky fleece after he was sacked as a shadow minister in 2004? Or what about the time he sported shorts (the wrong way round) emblazoned with a golden dragon?
Boris’ oddball aesthetic is, of course, perfectly deliberate. It plays into the idea of Boris the card, the lovable eccentric, the messy man of the people. After all, he wants to come across as, that dread modern word, “relatable”.
His hero Churchill was an eccentric dresser. Winston wore “siren suits”, or romper suits as he preferred to call them. They were unfortunate one piece things, involving a zip. Boris could do worse than follow suit. Anything would be better than his current policy.
The Prime Minister must know that an Englishman wearing a white work shirt for leisure purposes has down the ages sent a clear message. It signals: “I stayed over unexpectedly after a night out, and then in, and all I’ve got next morning is this naff white work shirt which I’m going to wear untucked in a doomed attempt at looking relaxed or suave.”