Gareth Southgate’s newfound reputation as a style icon has been one of the unlikeliest developments of an unpredictable World Cup and now fans are preparing to pay him the ultimate fashion compliment by honouring him on ‘Waistcoat Wednesday’.
The England manager, regarded as one on the most stylish managers at the tournament in Russia, has helped boost sales of waistcoats by 35 per cent for M&S – official suit supplier of the Three Lions.
As England prepares for its first World Cup semi-final in 28 years against Croatia on Wednesday evening, scores of supporters say they will be wearing a waistcoat in Southgate’s honour as they cheer the team on.
Supporters taking part in ‘Waistcoat Wednesday’ will be helping to raise vital funds for leading blood cancer charity Bloodwise.
“As the whole country is gripped by football fever, and with Gareth’s waistcoat-wearing having elevated him to the level of footballing fashionista, we thought that urging people to wear waistcoats on Wednesday would be a way of getting behind the boys at the same as raising money for a good cause,” said Gemma Peters, chief executive of Bloodwise.
“Every year around 40,000 people are diagnosed with blood cancer in the UK – the equivalent of half of the Luzhniki Stadium where the match will be played out –so it’s crucial we invest in more research to find better treatments and cures to save the lives of each and every person.
“I’ll be wearing my waistcoat on Wednesday, so grab yours too and button up for blood cancer research with patriotic pride.”
Blood cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and the third biggest cause of cancer deaths, claiming more lives each year than either breast or prostate cancer.
There are over 100 different types of blood cancer, and it is the most common type of cancer among children and young people.
Many fans have already expressed their support for the charity using the hashtag #WaistcoatWednesday on social media.
TV presenter Simon Thomas, who lost his wife to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a type of blood cancer, last year, is among those to have tweeted support for the cause.
Supporters can either grab their own waistcoat or print a poster available on the Bloodwise website.
The winner of the semi-final with take on either Belgium or France in the final to be played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 15 July.