There was a time when every football manager looked the same.
Big coat, boring suit or tracksuit seemed to be the only choices available for workwear and there were few attempts to disrupt those norms. Brian Clough had a green jumper. That’s about as far as experimentation went.
Then along came increased TV coverage, the elevation of the manager to celebrity and mega money. The clothes became more expressive in line with the esteem with which managers were held.
Unlike the players’ kits, there is no colour riot among manager clothing at Euro 2020. Instead we see plenty of safe choices, the odd maverick and an awful lot of navy.
Tasked with examining these styles and figuring out what they all mean, I (Thom Gibbs) have roped in a ringer to talk me through the field. Despite a long career as football kit ranker, it may surprise you to learn I know nothing about fashion. Functionally, I am an idiot.
So I have enlisted the help of my learned colleague Stephen Doig, the Telegraph’s Men’s Style Editor and confirmed fashion expert to examine every manager’s stylistic approach.
There are four clear categories to investigate. In descending order of smartness we have:
Let’s tackle them in that order.
1. Team formal
Roberto Mancini, Italy
Thom Gibbs: Everyone was very excited about this. He and his staff were wearing the same thing on the bench. Do you think he’s pulling it off?
Stephen Doig: I think so. That’s a roped shoulder which means it rolls over a bit, it’s a typically Italian style of tailoring. It’s quite Italian overall, narrow, quite preppy
TG: What about the shoes? To use the language of football commentary, I fear if anything he’s polished them too well
SD: I would say yes in normal circumstances, but given that he’s Italian I quite like it. It’s very sprezzatura
TG: Very what?
SD: It’s a notion of Italian men’s style. Quite raffish. The shine of the shoes, the pale jacket, nipped in tailoring. The Italians are very good at nipped in tailoring
TG: Are you pro the managers representing their country overtly with what they wear?
SD: I think so, yes, you want a bit of national pride. Just add a little Vespa and an Amalfi coast background and it would be perfect
TG: Italy have it easier than most with that, you’d struggle as Germany manager in lederhosen
Vladimir Petkovic, Switzerland
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TG: What I would observe here is that tie ends very abruptly
SD: It’s a very Swiss outfit in that it’s very serious, very straight
TG: Quite bank-y?
SD: Again, very Swiss. That’s the cut of a tie that’s normally knitted, but that’s silk, so that’s quite unusual.
TG: What’s he trying to transmit with that tie?
SD: I’m not quite sure, because it’s quite a strange length. It serves to shorten their body
TG: That’s quite an unusual thing for a sport-affiliated person to want
SD: I would like to have seen his watch, because I imagine it’s quite something
Roberto Martinez, Belgium
TG: No missing his watch
SD: That is huge. It shows off your spending power if you have a big striking watch at the end of your cuff
TG: Is he slightly overdressed?
SD: He is quite formal. The buttoned jacket is very formal for what he’s doing, pointing and such. They’re quite imposing shoulders
TG: Is he wearing pads?
SD: There probably is a small line of padding in the shoulders. But he looks good
Markku Kanerva, Finland
TG: The first waistcoat
SD: It’s the most sartorial outfit. It wouldn’t be out of place in certain enclosures at Ascot. You can see the pocket square, he’s got his formal tie and shirt. The shoes are a bit more informal, they’re a bit Prince Harry
TG: Is that a good thing at the moment?
SD: Well Prince Harry and Prince William are fond of these sort of scuffed up Desert boots
TG: The look is slightly ruined by being so close to the bright blue energy drink
SD: Yes, that could be a disaster on the suede
Stanislav Cherchesov, Russia
TG: Similar vibe from the Russia manager, but he’s not pulling it off as well?
SD: He seems very angry. He seems like quite a big guy?
TG: He used to be a goalie, so your theory checks out
SD: Quite narrow legs on the trousers. It’s quite classic and safe. A navy blue three piece suit, you can’t really go wrong. He’s so animated in this picture, which is at odds with quite a patrician, reserved, classic look
TG: So you’ve got to moderate your behaviour on the touchline depending on what you’re wearing?
SD: Maybe, he’s going to rip his arm there. He’s clearly a very passionate fellow
Frank de Boer, Holland
SD: Playing it safe but he looks great. He’s lean and carries the suit well. It’s nothing that’s going to change the world but he looks really good. The shoes are single monk strap which are bit more informal
TG: How much attention do you think he’s given to his collar and tie, do you think that slight dishevelment is a purposeful decision?
SD: Probably not, but it happens to the best of us. He looks a bit end of the night, like he’s on the train home
TG: Maybe he’d been at a wedding and had his tie on his head?
Igor Angelovski, North Macedonia
SD: Not the best fit
TG: Which bit specifically?
SD: Well, it’s an action shot, but the shoulders are really riding up there, the shirt sleeve has shot out of the suit
TG: Is that a real no-no? Something that should never, ever happen?
SD: If you are gesturing normally you’d have maybe an inch poking out, but clearly he’s gesturing wildly there. There’s nothing wrong with the suit. The belt might be digging in slightly. Is his hair painfully gelled?
TG: He’s just hot, I think
Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine
TG: He’s got the country’s crest on his jacket, but otherwise there’s no attempt to reinvent any wheels here
SD: His trousers look quite tight. Men can fall into the trap of thinking that tailoring means tight, form fitting, which it actually doesn’t. It doesn’t hurt his look, he looks fine, but they look quite clingy on his calf
TG: Is that a bit of a heel on his shoe too?
SD: It looks like it
TG: Well, good for him
Marco Rossi, Hungary
SD: He’s wearing really chunky jewellery. Men’s jewellery has evolved a lot in the past few years, especially in the past 18 months with everyone sat at home maybe with some spare money to spend. So I guess maybe that’s what he’s been doing?
TG: Are there any different rules of how to dress well without much hair?
SD: Just keep it clean up top, don’t allow it to go shaggy. And be aware of the shine factor, get a mattifying product if you want. I doubt he will.
Fernando Santos, Portugal
SD: He looks like he’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders
TG: You would too if you had to manage Cristiano Ronaldo
SD: We’ve seen lots of navy and mid-blues, that’s dark and looks like a pinstripe. That’s quite a return to formal. How old is he?
SD: So it’s quite appropriate for him to wear something a bit more old school
2. Suit, with a twist
Senol Gunes, Turkey
TG: I noticed something odd about this last Wednesday, it looks like a normal suit but are those drawstrings on the trousers? Like tracksuit bottoms?
SD: Well that’s very modern
TG: Is it a belt?
SD: No, it’s part of the trousers. Unless he’s tied them up with a shoelace. It’s very on point for mens’ style at the moment, athleisure wear
TG: Is Senol Gunes not a bit old for all that?
SD: Let him have a bit of relaxation around the waist!
TG: He did get them into a World Cup semi, so I suppose he’s earned it
Franco Foda, Austria
TG: Another navy blue suit. He’s quite monotone, isn’t he? I’ve got nothing else for you, Stephen
SD: I really like the trainers. In the last 10 years in menswear, there’s been this big move towards lux-y trainers, in amazing suedes or leathers, that can go upwards of £300 to four figures. So he gets good points on these
TG: They seem to be standard issue now in the pundit class for football, if you ever look down a panel at half-time they’ll all have something similar to these on. So you’re looking at least £300 as your barrier to entry?
SD: £250 upwards, certainly
Zlatko Dalić, Croatia
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TG: I couldn’t help noting he’s got a bit of a paunch. To be honest I’ve got a horse in this race, so I’m very interested to hear – is he doing well with it? Is he pulling it off? Should I be copying him?
SD: He’s probably one of my top three in the line-up. I think this is exactly the kind of formula that is going to work when we all return to a new way of working. We’re not going to return to the whole kit and caboodle of suit and tie. This is the halfway house between that and the 18 months we’ve all had in in trainers and T-shirts
TG: He’s trailblazing
SD: Yes, it’s masterclass in what to wear when we return to work
TG: His trainers are so white it does look like he’s just wearing his socks?
SD: It doesn’t look like they’ve seen a lot of action on the pitch
Jaroslav Silhavy, Czech Republic
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SD: The shape is quite narrow and nipped-in, the proportions are good. A black shirt with a dark suit is a bit regional nightclub. I’m not a huge fan
TG: He’s another who’s struggling to accessorise with that enormous lanyard
SD: Yes. I don’t subscribe to the rules that brown shoes are for country and blacks for town, but they do look a bit tricky here
TG: Where are these rules? Can I see them?
SD: Oh, they exist
Gareth Southgate, England
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TG: He’s canned the polo shirt, clearly the warm-up outfit. He looks so much more comfortable in the more trad look
SD: That’s a £145 tie from Drake’s, it’s handmade in East London. The shoes are quite nice. I think he looks good. He’s one of the few who’s taken his jacket off
TG: The sleeves rolled up, acceptable?
SD: Sure, he looks ready for action. He does have quite a lot of stuff in his pockets, they’re bulging
TG: That’s a big no-no isn’t it?
SD: I think your phone is fine, but he seems to have quite a bit in there
TG: Maybe he’s put his massive lanyard down there?
Steve Clarke, Scotland
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TG: When I think of Steve Clarke, who spent a long part of his career as an assistant manager, I picture him in a tracksuit. I feel like I would rather have been looking at him this tournament in a tracksuit
SD: I have to be careful here because he’s a fellow countryman of mine, and my football mad family might kill me. But yes, he looks someone who’s way more at home in a tracksuit than a suit
TG: It’s good he’s dressed up, though?
SD: I think it’s approach that a lot of men take they’re not used to suits which is to choose a quite boxy, standardised shape. If you have to wear a suit, fine, but he doesn’t look happy. I’m not sure what was going on at the time
TG: This was taken during their game against Czech Republic, so it wasn’t a great day
Paulo Sousa, Poland
TG: Paulo Sousa managed the team I support many years ago and was immediately the smoothest and most urbane manager we’d ever had. I think he’s just getting better with age
SD: He looks great. There’s this menswear fair which happens in Florence twice a year in normal times called Pitti Uomo. It’s where all the dashing guys turn up and get photographed. He could be from the playbook. He’s very sharp, lean proportions, I really like the stone coloured trousers with the dark blazer. A pocket square, cool tie, nice shoes
TG: No complaints
SD: He could be from a Ralph Lauren campaign
Stefan Tarkovic, Slovakia
TG: You can’t have trainers and a tie, can you?
SD: I think you can but the issue with these are the blazing white chunky laces, they look a bit weird and draw the eye to them. Laces in the same colour of the trainers would have been fine and not done that
TG: He looks to me like he lives in Kent and is walking to work in the City over London Bridge, he’s going to put his proper shoes on as soon as he’s at his desk
SD: It doesn’t look like it’s meant, it’s a bit incongruous
Janne Andersson, Sweden
TG: This is pretty uninspired isn’t it?
SD: It’s a shame because they have so many cool minimalist tailoring brands in Sweden. This looks a bit shapeless and formless.
TG: The sleeves are odd, he looks like he’s somehow rolled them in on themselves
SD: It’s a nice watch
TG: Is that all you’ve got?
SD: Yes, he’s giving me nothing
Didier Deschamps, France
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SD: It’s a black shirt with a blue suit which is not my favourite, but it’s fine. It’s quite weird he’s French, they have impeccable tailoring tastes, so it’s odd to be in a black shirt when they have so many great brands there that would have talked him into a white shirt
TG: Perhaps he’s just playing some shots in the early part of the tournament before going back to basics later on?
SD: He needs to watch Call My Agent
Kasper Hjulmand, Denmark
SD: I’m very into this
TG: It’s a good halfway house, sporty but smart
SD: Scandinavians lead the way with cool, clean minimalist style. The trainers are kind of great. A really chunky sole, so quite modern. And it’s nice to see an older guy wearing trainers, but quite cool trainers. And I like that he’s got a piece of knitwear over his shirt. It’s not overly stuffy and formal, but very Scandi.
TG: Why is he pulling it off? We’ll see some other managers in trainers who aren’t as hip-looking. The white of the trainers echoes the white of the shirt, is that the trick?
SD: The issue of trainers in the wrong context is it gets a bit trendy vicar. But he’s Scandinavian, it’s kind of natural to be quite clean and minimalist in his look, the trainers are box fresh, which helps. And they’re not just functional running trainers. He’s not just got them out of the cupboard thought he’d be cool. They’re quite fashion-forward so they’re not really built for sports endeavours. They’re designed to just to be quite cool
Luis Enrique, Spain
TG: This to me says ‘forgotten my PE kit’
SD: There’s a lot going on here. I like the trainers, I think they’re quite cool. I think with chinos and a shirt that would be cool, but what is odd are these are cargo trousers
TG: He has loads of pockets
SD: They add a lot of bulk onto trousers and look a bit Go Ape. Also, he’s not wearing any socks
TG: Is he or has he got those little trainer socks on? Surely you cannot go sockless in trainers like that, you’d have to throw them away after about three wears
SD: He must have little socks. I think a mankle is fine, others might disagree. I think he looks quite good apart from the cargo trousers
Joachim Löw, Germany
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TG: Jogi Löw seemed to invent the idea of football managers wearing something smart-casual, outside of the suit or tracksuit norms. This is a fairly typical look for him but he’s been doing this for more than 10 years now, has the moment passed?
SD: He seems to be in suit trousers with his knit, that’s one of the possible ‘what to wear when we return to work’ options. We’ve seen a hundred navy suits and white shirts, so he gets credit for doing something different but it’s not the most fresh look
TG: He has this habit of scratching his crotch, which is often caught on camera and ruins the mood slightly too
SD: That’s not chic, is it?
Rob Page, Wales
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TG: I think I’m right in saying he’s the only manager wearing the traditional tracksuit. It seems to be quite out of fashion at this level. If you look at 25 years to Euro 96 even Terry Venables, with England in a semi-final, was wearing a polo shirt tucked into tracksuit trousers
SD: It doesn’t convey authority to me. The suits create a stylistic distance between themselves and the players, just more formal clothing. He’s clearly quite a tall man, I think a tailored suit could have looked really smart on him, so it’s a shame
TG: There’s an argument that to do this job, it’s a bit weird to wear a suit, right? You’re not out there kicking the ball, but it’s pretty physical, even on the sidelines. It’s a sporting outfit for a sporting job
SD: I guess there is, but I think there’s been a long tradition of suits on the sidelines. And I think more and more you’re expected to perform a little bit in that aspect
TG: Maybe he’ll surprise us all with a tux for the knockout rounds.