by Thomas Cuthbertson
A friend came to visit me in Oxford last weekend. Having grown up in a small Northumberland town, I have, to this day, stayed close friends with people I have been with since nursery school. One such friend thus has the unparalleled low-down on all of my quirks, foibles and peccadillos. Yet as he looked through some previous editions of this column, even he was slightly surprised. Whilst writing a column that seems to lapse into episodes of posh-baiting on a weekly basis was deemed entirely consistent with my generally belligerent and antisocial take on things, the tactic was judged risky even for me; a very efficient way of instantly alienating an entire readership.
It is, nevertheless, a tactic resolutely stuck to, and one that my editors seem to approve of. So much so that this week they had the idea of sending me off to our local branch of Jack Wills to be decked out from head to toe in dubious preppy chic. Yet if we ignore their fairly unsubtle branding strategy, the brand is far from posh – I would even go as far as to call it a wee bit crass. At the end of the day, all that would really come of the endeavour of me dressing up like the sartorial embodiment of the word ‘collegiate’ would be a reinforcement of my prejudices and the haunting spectacle of a lanky man in glasses looking uncomfortably preppy.
As this is the final instalment of this column, I feel that I should probably sound a somewhat more positive closing note. Whilst I may not particularly like the clothes of Jack Wills, I think that it can be only be a positive thing if those who do like them can wear them freely. In terms of choice, the UK’s high-street has improved vastly over the last decade, and so if someone can find a style that makes them feel good about themselves, confident and happy, other considerations aside, I think this should be wholeheartedly celebrated.