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Fashion lessons from The Good Life, from dungarees to decadence

By the time you reach 40, you should be able to dispense at least a little fashion wisdom. Classic TV show The Good Life is no exception – this month the sitcom turns 40, and a close inspection of the wardrobes of Tom, Barbara, Margo and Jerry reveals that 1975 Surbiton holds the secrets of spring 2015 fashion.

The Good Life fashion lesson one: grownups look cool in dungarees

Barbara in dungarees on set. Photograph: BBC

Or overalls, which is how Barbara described them, if memory serves. Barbara wore hers in a self-consciously I’ve-been-tending-the-vegetable-patch way, which isn’t quite the vibe of how to wear them now, but the plaid shirt and the American Apparel-style frames would cut it this spring. Stella McCartney, Alexa Chung for AG and Current/Elliott are all pushing Barbara Good-friendly denim dungarees at Margo Leadbetter prices.

The Good Life fashion lesson two: the faux home knit looks haute

Tom and Barbara in chunky knits. Photograph: BBC

How Acne do Tom and Barbara’s home knits look? Now that politicians have embraced the slim knit over a shirt as their campaign-friendly casual look, fashion has had to beef up its knitwear act. Tom’s browny-grey knit and Barbara’s tobacco cable knit also seem to pre-empt the colour palette of Celine’s 2015 rib knits. The goat wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of the CR Book, either.

The Good Life fashion lesson three: white polo necks are subtle power dressing

Jerry wears a white polo neck with aplomb. Photograph: BBC

Is Jerry Leadbetter wearing this season’s Loewe or Louis Vuitton? It is hard to refute the fact that the alpha white polo neck, the oversized collar and the brown suede jacket recalls JW Anderson’s current suede love-in at Loewe. The outfit also manages to pre-empt Nicolas Ghesquière’s debut look for Louis Vuitton by almost four decades exactly. Curious.

The Good Life fashion lesson four: unisex is a trend that works in real life

Barbara and Tom in unisex shirts. Photograph: PA

Here are Tom and Barbara wearing interchangeable uniform-style shirts. Fast-forward 40 years, and Selfridges has adopted a unisex approach to its clothes rails. The Goods are looking so APC here it hurts. Meanwhile, Barbara’s hair is a bouncier version of 2015’s lob (long bob).

The Good Life fashion lesson five: full-length prints convey a decadence of sorts

Margo in her signature 1970s print. Photograph: BBC

Margo’s full-length prints were intended to make her look crass and showy in contrast to Barbara’s wholesome knits and earnest denim. But in yet another case of the sitcom pre-empting the catwalk, a quick scan of Alessandro Michele’s debut collection for Gucci reveals that Margo’s loud prints were way ahead of their time. We’re not entirely convinced that Margo’s faux-louche suburban glamour was on the Gucci moodboard. But still.

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