London, United Kingdom: Waistcoat sales at a leading British retailer are booming thanks to England coach Gareth Southgate, whose immaculate dress sense at the World Cup has won praise from fashionistas.
Marks & Spencer, the official suit supplier to the England football team, said Monday that sales were up 35 per cent across all its waistcoat lines since the tournament began in Russia.
"It's been great seeing Gareth look so smart on the sidelines," a company spokeswoman told AFP.
Southgate wore a navy blue three-piece suit from M&S at every England group game, despite sweltering summer heat in Russia.
But the former England defender played down the news ahead of his team's round of 16 match against Colombia on Tuesday, insisting: "I'm no David Beckham.
"I'm slightly concerned, because as a centre-half that took a lot of knocks to the head, I'm not normally synonymous with fashion icon," he joked to the BBC.
Southgate identified another motivation in sporting the waistcoats apart from wanting to look smart, saying they help cover up his sweat patches in the heat.
Despite the coach's demurral, The Guardian newspaper described him as an "unstoppable fashion icon".
The Daily Telegraph said his decision to wear the waistcoat throughout England's 6-1 trouncing of Panama was a "Churchillian commitment to Britishness".
The Daily Mirror added Southgate was "shaping up to be the most stylish gaffer at the World Cup, and it's thanks to his £65 M&S waistcoat".