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Sadiq Khan's Suit Is Ruining Your Boyfriend's Summer

Sadiq Khan

4 min read

Newly re-elected London mayor Sadiq Khan debuted a snappy new summer suit on Monday, and a certain brand of coffee-and-bike-bro who was planning to look quietly stylish at his 30-something pals' weddings this summer is absolutely devastated.

Khan was returned to City Hall as Mayor of London for a third term in last week's local elections, beating the Tory candidate with a comfortable majority.

When he signed back into office at the Tate Modern on Monday, he wore a smart, leaf-green linen suit by popular menswear brand Percival, which a number of men instantly recognised. With multiple formal summer-engagements clogging up their G-cals, many had also considered buying the £229 jacket and £129 trousers

Some men posted on social media declaring their horror that they had already purchased the same item, with one senior policy manager writing on X that Khan's fashion choice had "devastated the soft left lads". Many confessed they had been taken in by a bombardment of Instagram advertising. 

Rory McCarthy, who writes copy and comms for the campaign group Control AI, told PoliticsHome that a number of friends messaged him after seeing the photos of Khan and recognising the suit that he had only just bought himself.

Agreeing that Khan had upset many "Labour boyfriends", McCarthy said he had found the ordeal "emotionally devastating".

"We were *all* getting the same Percival Instagram adverts, which made me feel intensely, pathetically susceptible to advertising," he said.

"I mean, it’s a nice, modern, and interesting-but-not-too-interesting suit, you can see why everyone converged on it, and why Sadiq would choose it to convey the newness and excitement of his new term.

"But it is also absolutely emotionally devastating – especially when I thought I looked so handsome in it when I first bought it – and it raises the horrifying prospect of every centre-left wing man turning up to all the same weddings all dressed exactly the same like a bunch of idiots. But I am still going to be wearing it. At least it’ll be a conversation piece."

Calum Weir, Political and Social Research Executive at Opinium, said he would now avoid the Khan suit despite having previously been tempted to buy it, out of fear that he would be "pulled up as wearing my best Sadiq Khan costume".

However, he praised Khan's choice as "slightly subversive but not try-hard".

"Political menswear is in the habit of two extremes: the very staid and baggy or the overly-tight and cropped," he said.

"No matter the cut, we most often see politicians wear suits in worsted wool and there are a few common pitfalls like thin lapels and often oddly low-rise trousers. Frankly, the Khan suit gets it right, without being overly trendy.

"It fits him well and the choice of linen is slightly subversive but not try-hard. Top marks! I think it actually represents a change in what’s stylish for menswear. Men are wearing higher rise trousers, a fuller leg and blazers that fit less like belts, so the Khan green suit is more of a response to these trends than it is a creator of them."

Dan Jones, a best-selling fashion and lifestyle writer, told PoliticsHome that Khan seemed to be "dabbling in a little Italian sprezzatura style" which translates as a style with "a certain nonchalance" to allow the wearer to display "an easy facility in accomplishing difficult actions which hides the conscious effort that went into them". 

"He looks elegant and considered but also laidback and unfussy," Jones said.

"It's very British to have a meltdown when a man dresses even slightly out of character and I doubt Sadiq would have worn this forest green piece before his re-election... so I wonder if this marks out a new, super-confident Khan we can expect to see more of?

"You never know, come London Fashion Week he could be strutting about in a Vivienne Westwood kilt – that I would like to see."

Percival, the London clothing brand behind the suit, revelled in their newfound political fame, introducing Khan across their social media as the "Mayor of Linen". 

On Instagram, Khan responded: "Whether you are left, right or a centrist dad, hopefully we can all agree Percival are one of many fantastic London brands out there right now, helping us make sure London stays the fashion capital of the world. Proud to be the #MayorOfLinen."

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