Gary Lineker on his fashion disasters

The former footballer looks back on his sartorial hits and misses

Friday, 11th June 2021, 7:00 am
Gary Lineker wearing glasses from the Lineker Edit, available at Vision Express

Gary Lineker swaps football for fashion with his latest project, which is all about eyewear.

“Cary Grant was the first person to show me how cool you can look in glasses,” says the Match Of The Day host and former England footballer, who is unveiling a range of specs with Vision Express. “In those tortoiseshell frames, if anyone else can remember? I think I’m showing my age a bit here…”

More than two decades since his retirement from football, the 60-year-old says he takes inspiration from silver screen style icons and vintage fashion, but admits there are some outfits from his own past he’d rather forget…

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Tottenham's Gary Lineker races away from Arsenal's David O'Leary during the 1991 Charity Shield match.

“I would like to think I’ve come a long way from some of the retro fashion trends of the Seventies and Eighties – the shell suits and the garish colours, even though they were fun at the time. I think some retro fashion has had an influence on my style, but predominantly on items I know I can wear, rather than whole looks.

“I sometimes try to mix some more classic items, or vintage staples, with modern pieces, for example, a leather jacket with a white top. I recently purchased a Seventies-style All Saints jacket, which I love.

“Outside of the sports world, I take a lot of style inspiration from films or TV, or at least I’ve tried to over the years. I’d say people like Sean Connery, Paul Newman and Mad Men’s Don Draper are all style icons.

“Whether they’re dressed in sharp, well-fitting suits or off-duty polo shirts, shirt and jumper layering, or neutral slim-fit chinos, they look suave, confident, and timeless.”

Football kits have evolved a lot throughout the decades, which eras did you like the most?

“Well, I went through the Eighties, where very short shorts were introduced. Some people definitely weren’t very keen on them, but I quite like a bit of freedom when you’re running around. We then went into a period of long shorts – I think we were the first team to wear them when I was at Tottenham.

“I really like retro football shirts and think some of them are really cool, specifically some of the lesser-known ones. We had an awful green stripy Ind Coope-sponsored one at Leicester when I was in my very early 20s. But one of my favourites would be something like an old classic World Cup 1970 Brazil [shirt], which is probably a real collector’s item now.”

What have you been wearing during lockdown – have you got into the loungewear trend?

“Like most of the nation, I’ve spent most of lockdown wearing tracksuits. I didn’t just sit around in pyjamas all day, but I did wear a lot of joggers.

“I’ve not really worn tracksuits or sportswear much since I played football, probably because it felt like I was wearing my old work clothes, and normally I’d mainly relax in jeans and T-shirts, or jeans and casual shirts. Now, however, it’s all about comfort, so tracksuits have again become my go-to for relaxing.”

Do you have any fashion regrets from the past?

“My worst fashion disaster, which I thought about very recently, was an outfit from the 1990s. After we lost to Germany in the semi-final of the World Cup, I stayed out in Italy to receive the Fair Play Award trophy on behalf of the England team with Bobby Robson, and for some inexplicable reason I chose a jacket that had really strong stripes, and then paired it with a big, bold spotty tie… It’s pretty appalling, to say the least.”