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The people who secretly influenced your style this year

Thought you were modelling your look on Cara? Alexa? Amal? You wish. Here’s the – much-scarier list – of the people who influenced your wardrobe without your knowledge or consent.

Nigel Farage

It’s all in the jacket – Nigel Farage
Photograph: Ray Tang/REX/Ray Tang/REX

For shock factor, I’ll start with the scariest of all the subliminal influencers. 2014 was a dull-beyond-belief year for mainstream political style. There wasn’t even a Cornish-beach-towel moment to liven things up. Which meant that two outsiders came in and stole the show: Russell Brand, and Farage. Brand might have the more obvious sex-appeal chops, but the Farage effect has proved to be powerful on the shopfloor, as well as the polling booth. The Barbour-jacket-over-suit-jacket has become an increasingly popular look, amongst suburban-to-urban commuters. And the £25 Bayeux tapestry tie which Farage wore in the run up to November’s Rochester by-election was an immediate sell-out. Are novelty ties set to be next year’s novelty handbags?

Prince George

Prince George – pioneer of dungaree chic
Photograph: Marty Melville/AP

Who started this year’s ultra-hip craze for dungarees? Was it Alexa, who wore her wide-legged, cropped white Ganni dungarees everywhere this summer, and has included an excellent version in her Alexa Chung for AG collection, out in January? Or Rihanna, who wore bleached-out denim overalls with Timberland boots to celebrate Thanksgiving? Or, um, Fearne Cotton, papped in them in September? Nope. It was Bonnie Prince George himself, who rocked Rachel Riley sailing boat dungarees in New Zealand in April, and classic Petit Bateau stripes on his birthday.

Tess Daley

Tess Daly and her super-side parting
Photograph: Ian West/PA Archive/Press Association Ima

However much you love Strictly – and, full disclosure, I really really, really love it – there isn’t, on the whole, a huge amount you can take away from it in the style stakes. But the co-presenter glamour stakes were massively upped for Tess this season, what with standing next to Claudia Winkleman or Zoe Ball instead of Brucey. A challenge Tess rose to mightily with the help of some of the most exaggerated, hairsprayed-to-oblivion, ultra-deep side partings light entertainment has ever seen (including Barry Manilow). And it looked good. And it looked, to us, like a few people noticed and copied suit.

Chris Huhne

Chris Huhne leaving prison in a ‘Harrington’ jacket
Photograph: Warrick Page/Getty Images

To meet the press as he ended his stint of porridge, Huhne left Leyhill prison in a Harrington jacket. A bold fashion choice: the Harrington jacket is a blue-chip trademark of rebel cool (see: Steve McQueen; Kristen Stewart). The fashion blogosphere erupted in outrage – how dare he! And yet … the Harrington jacket enjoyed a summer spike in popularity. Make of that what you will.


Solange Knowles in the lift with her Anya Hindmarch bag screengrab
Photograph: screengrab

Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange in the lift was, surely, the pop-cultural moment of the year, right? And as such, fashion blowback was inevitable. It came in the form of the rise of the novelty handbag as fashion’s surprise summer hit. There were matchboxes and McDonald’s French Fry cartons, but Solange’s Anya Hindmarch bag – sort of Walker’s crisps, meets Jeff Koons’ silver rabbit – was the alpha party clutch of the year. Ain’t nobody gonna mess with the girl carrying that bag, right?

Matthew McConnaughey

Mathew McConaughey, open shirted, in True Detective

The McConnaissance, as we like to call it, continued apace this year. In style terms, its 2014 high-water mark came during the later episodes of True Detective, in which McConnaughey – looking way hotter than it is decent for a man with a moustache that wrong – wore a washed-out khaki shirt over a white T-shirt. The shirt was half-unbuttoned, sleeves rolled up to show the tattoos, breast pocket bulging with cigarette packet. And the trend for an army-vintage khaki shirt as festival cover up started right there.

Elsa from Frozen

Elsa from Frozen, a true style leader
Photograph: Allstar/DISNEY/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar

Let it go, let it … Oh, sorry, right. Seriously, though – that song! It was like the Bad Fairy said, in 2013, you had Pharrell’s Happy – we’ll show you, by making the inescapable song of the year THE WORST THING EVER. And it didn’t stop there. Those long, loose plaits that all the cool girls were wearing over one shoulder by the end of the year? The kind Cara Delevingne wears with a beanie? That’s Elsa’s hair, that is. We all fell for the princess braid. We can but thank our lucky stars that the itchy blue dress didn’t catch on.

The Grand Budapest Hotel bellboys

A fine example of the bellboy jacket from The Grand Budapest Hotel
Photograph: Martin Scali/Photograph: Martin Scali

The bellboy jacket had a storming 2014, which ended with a starring role in Chanel’s gorgeous Metiers d’Art show in Salzburg. Karl Lagerfeld gave his Salzburg fairytale a backstory in which Coco herself was inspired by the jackets of the bellboys in an Austrian resort, to create her own iconic braid-and-button jacket. (Pharrell Williams wore an updated version, in a film to promote the collection.) But the year’s passion for bellboy jackets started back in March, when the hotel employees of Wes Anderson’s gorgeous film stole the show in royal purple.

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