David Beckham: A Sartorial Celebration*

Image Source: Posh 24
   One of the greatest fashion transformations of recent years can be seen in the instance of David Beckham. The former Manchester United footballer has emerged from a constant state of style faux pas (in his early adulthood) and metamorphised into one of the best dressed men in the world.

   Whilst many sporting publications this week have taken the time to writing glowing sporting eulogies around the ex-England captain in the week of his footballing retirement, I, instead, will take a moment to celebrate his sartorial journey which evolved into the most unlikely of triumphs. A victory even more unlikely the famous night in which Manchester United won the Champions League deep into stopping time in 1999.

   When David Beckham first began to achieve mainstream awareness in the mid 1990s he was known for three major attributes; his ability to deliver pinpoint crosses and free-kicks from great distances (the goal from his own half against Wimbledon was one of the early indicatotors of his deadly accuracy), his boy-ish good looks and, finally, his appalling dress sense.

   When Beckham got engaged to the erstwhile Posh Spice his ability to dress like a coherent adult went downhill fast too. In his attempts to appear on trend, the footballer soon succumbed to what I've previously (in a very early post on this blog) referred to as " Chris Brown Syndrome " - an affliction where rich young men believe that simply by spending a lot of money on clothes, their outfits will simply make themselves with no consideration.

   Much like Christiano Ronaldo a decade later, Beckham, with his sarongs, cornrow hairstyles and garish "his and hers" ensembles, succumbed to chasing fads and fleeting trends, fulfilling all the stereotypes of the syndrome which I described sufferers of as taking part in the following behaviours:

"He will go to an up-town shop and flash the cash but, once he has returned home and has removed his purchases from the bag, will have no idea how to wear what they have bought and what to team it with... they will end up with lots of gimmicky and faddy clothes and end up going from ridiculous looking at first to ludicrous looking and, with rapid speed, increasingly dated as time goes by."

Image from Just Jared
   How exactly, then, did David Beckham turn this around and win so much sartorial acclaim? In short he realised that the key to male dressing is to aim for timelessness and to pick clothing that should be worn rather than vice versa; a sarong wears it's wearer and the sight is not an aesthetically pleasing one.

   Like George Clooney (a man I will repeatedly reference on this blog), Beckham has tailored his image in the spirit of the debonair, dapper gentlemen of years gone by - 1920s designs dominate his wardrobe (and indeed, much improved hairstyle). In realising that clothing is supposed to accentuate a man's best features, rather than drawing attention towards garish T-shirts or novelty wear, the (now) ex-footballer has re-tooled his image to incorporate high end designer menswear and fitted suits which have improved the "Beckham brand" internationally; of this there is no question.

   As always - my advice for faddy dressers is "don't!" It's a lesson David Beckham learnt and it's a lesson we all should too!

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