We put up with a lot to look good. We squeeze into clothes that don’t fit. That cost too much. We try to pull off floral because designers say we should. We dabble in short suits because they’re ‘trending’. And just as we’ve given up on the whole idea, as we reluctantly key “hessian sack, XL” into Amazon, perfection shimmies down a runway.
One of those pieces that seems to hover between past and future. That drips with menswear history but makes your entire wardrobe feel new. The kind of clothing that’s recognisable but unique, which you fall in love with, that you agonise over, then finally drop too much cash on because you know, you just know, that you’ll wear it until it falls to pieces.
You’ve discovered your new uniform, the look you always knew was out there, that makes years of sartorial mistakes suddenly seem like steps towards this transcendent moment. And then Jonathan Ross ruins it. Because today, at a picnic thrown to help a hotel sell prosecco, the normally acid-suited chat show host put a bullet in this season’s hero piece.
Since appearing on runways from Gucci to Louis Vuitton, the souvenir jacket – or sukajan – has trickled from high-end brands to high street, no collection complete without its own ornate, brocaded satin. A spin on the jackets US soldiers commissioned on to mark tours of the Far East in the 1960s and 1970s, the sukajan is streetwear grail because it bullseyes that Venn diagram of attention-grabbing graphics and flattering cut, a statement piece you could wear with anything from denim to slim-fit suits. It was fashion made easy, a way to stunt without sweating, a “what, this?” godsend you could shrug on then forget about until the street style snaps popped up.
So damn you, Wossy, and your Ultraman souvenir jacket, worn with all the panache of a dad doing the dab eight pints into his daughter’s wedding. Jonathan Ross knows Japan. He once presented a BBC series exploring the minutiae of its culture without resorting to “Ha, ain’t it weird?”clichés. He is a self-professed Japanophile who should know better than this.
And yet here he is, sipping champagne in a too-small, Switch Planning souvenir jacket, covered in cartoon robots. Wearing his too-busy jacket over a too-busy tee, a sartorial migraine that looks as though he learnt to dress like Kanye from an Ikea construction guide. Damn you, Jonathan. You’ve shredded the one thing every man could take from this season’s runways and claim as his own.
And yet there, next to you, is an example of how to rock the jacket right. You daughter, Honey Kinney, in Kenneth Anger’s super-limited edition Lucifer-emblazoned bomber. She’s nailed the oversized fit. She knows that despite the sukajan’s East Asian roots, you don’t want one covered in anime. And she’s not trying to wear shimmering satin with suede boots. Look at her, Jonathan. Learn a lesson, Jonathan. Before you spoil things for everyone.