THREE WEEKS AFTER FORBES PUBLISHED ITS top 10 list of Instagram influencers – placing Chiara Ferragni at number one –
a week after Paris Fashion Week showcased the dominant style vibes of next season, and at the precise time the street style brigade keeps on posting images of itself artfully dolled up to the nines… I find myself forsaking every one of them. I’m sure they look très chic ’n’ cool ’n’ branché; but, right now, I’m taking my style prompts from one source only. You can keep your Jeanne Damases, your Alexa Chungs, your Man Repellers. I look only to Chabuddy G from series four of People Just Do Nothing (which I’ve just watched, on iplayer). He is a man, sure. A fictional comedy creation, down on his luck, but waaaaay up on his satin shirt-craft. A failed entrepreneur who, despite the fact he’s living in a van, shitting in a bucket, and working in the stock room of an electronics shop, is slaying in the style stakes. He’s an everyday peacock, a Versace( possibly also Gucci-?) referencing, gold-bedecked style sensation. If I had a Pinterest, I’d have pinned the wine-hued velvet suit he wore to the wedding in the final ep – and pinned it hard! Also? The shirt he wore on Grindah’s stag do (ep 5), and the mock-croc loafers with gold edging he keeps for special. I admire the way he layers a slim polo under an open-neck shirt and gold chain. I’ve deep-googled for a purchase option on his hexagonal-framed aviators. Chabuddy G is king of shame-free maximalism on a budget, and my A/W ’17 UFI: Unlikely Fashion Influence.
I love a UFI. They pop up in the least expected places, and redirect your entire look without even meaning to. There you are, wondering if you should try looking a bit more like French model/chanteuse Françoise Hardy circa ’69, because everyone else is, when bam! Chabuddy G swaggers on to your screen, and you can see no other clothes! I’ve switched him in for my summer UFIS – Jeremy Corbyn when he went accidental Vetements (or was it the other way round?) and Marion Kelly, that four-year-old who crashed her politicalscientist father’s Skype interview with BBC News, and turned up at the subsequent press conference looking Sharp As in a trench coat and pink framed specs.
UFIS speak to the truest, most innate aspects of our style. They are ground zero on our eccentricities. They are the point at which our wardrobes and our personalities collide.