AA Gill On... Safari Jackets

Our resident agony uncle tackles your dilemmas

Dearest Unc,

I've noticed a trend for safari jackets. I feel very uncomfortable with this. Do we really think it's OK to wear a garment that has such strong and distasteful colonial overtones?
Piers, by email

Piers, I'm just trying to imagine you. Yes, I'm getting a picture. You're wearing jeans. Not expensive, no recognizable logo, because you don't want to be implicated in the multinational fashion conspiracy. Some sort of non-hip-hop trainer. Your girlfriend's (ex?) gym socklets. A T-shirt and a V-neck jumper in an inoffensive primary colour, from Marks & Spencer. All topped off with a handmade frown of universal humanitarian concern.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

There's a name for people like you, Piers: chugger-bait. Don't concern yourself with the safari thing, because even if it were the traditional workwear of Durham miners you wouldn't wear one. Clothes maketh the man. They don't make you some other man. If you wear an SS uniform it doesn't miraculously turn you into a Nazi. It almost certainly means you're a public schoolboy going to a fancy dress party. Do you really imagine that cowboy boots are emblematic of the genocide of Native Americans rather the embarrassing pedal accessory of thrash metal air guitarists with balding ponytails?

Most Popular

That Guernsey fisherman's sweater won't make you better at singing sea shanties. And do you think that perhaps a frock would turn you into a transvestite? It wouldn't. It would make you a pantomime dame. Because tranny, cowboy, fisherman and SS officer was what they were before they got dressed. In your case, you're not really anyone before you get dressed. You only know what you're not. You don't wear suits because they're the uniform of authority, or tweed because it's county Tory, and heaven forbid fur. You don't need a look, Piers. What you need to get is a persona that isn't defined by who you're not. Until then you're just going to have to look like everyone else on the Tube. For the rest of you, safari jackets are the business. Discover your inner Michael Winner.

What do you think?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Culture
Share
The 10 Best Quotes From The Clinton Vs Trump Presidential Debate
"A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes"​
Francesco Totti
Culture
Share
Why Francesco Totti Is The Last King Of Football's Golden Age
​​As the Roma legend turns 40, Finlay Renwick reflects on the the legacy of the ultimate one club footballer​​
Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie
Culture
Share
Brad Pitt's Love Life: A Timeline
Who else had forgotten about Juliette Lewis?
Liam and Noel Gallagher
Culture
Share
Are Oasis About To Announce A Comeback?
Insert 'Don't Look Back In Anger' pun here​
Lil Wayne
Culture
Share
Lil' Wayne Officiated A Same-Sex Wedding While In Prison
​​As you do ​
Sam Allardyce
Culture
Share
Sam Allardyce Embarrasses The FA And Himself After Being Caught In Newspaper Sting
Why, Sam? Why?​​
Matt LeBlanc in Top Gear
TV
Share
Matt LeBlanc Signs Up For Another Two Series Of Top Gear
How you doin'? Pretty good actually​
Film
Share
Now Liev Schreiber And Naomi Watts Have Split Up
Tough times in Hollywood​
Film
Share
Turns Out Lupita Nyong'o Is A Pretty Awesome Rapper
​​The Oscar-winning actress heralds her latest social media milestone​
Tom Hanks wedding photo bomb
Film
Share
Tom Hanks Photobombs A Couple's Wedding Photographs, Because Of Course He Did
Life is like a box of chocolates after all​