Alan Whicker

Unlikely Style Icon

Perhaps the best word to describe Alan Whicker’s style is immaculate. Throughout a 60 year career as a journalist and travel broadcaster he rarely veered from his style hallmarks - bespoke jacket or blazer from Mayfair tailor Douglas Hayward, jacket button fastened, shirt exquisitely pressed, pocket square proud and tie of perfect length.

Whether in a Cairo market or halfway up a windswept mountain, rarely did he let his high standards slip. When the heat got too much even for Whicker to don a suit, he remains one of the few men ever to have lived that could still look good in a safari suit.

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It was all ripe for parody of course, easy to dismiss as the stuffy wardrobe of a golf club captain or retired sergeant major. Monty Python gave him an affectionate ribbing. Alan Partridge even cited him as sartorial inspiration.

Yet working at a time when travel was still the preserve of the rich, his quintessential Englishman abroad look was the perfect fit for a glamour-hungry audience. Somehow it felt right that our travel guide was dressing for dinner. Though it doesn't bear thinking how big his excess baggage bill must have been.

He's testament to the power of having your own style and sticking to it no matter what. In 2000, when invited to play himself in a feature film set in 1977, the wardrobe designer began trying to source the right clothes he would have worn in that period. Stop looking, he told her, I'm still wearing them.