Pull your socks up! Rishi Sunak’s sliders are not the statesmanly style we’re used to

·3-min read
 (HMRC Treasury)
(HMRC Treasury)

The Chancellor, I thought, was a man of taste; of reserved yet quietly confident style — all cashmere crew necks, crisp navy suits and headboy-esque hoodies over shirts… But analysing the images of Rishi Sunak released by the Treasury in advance of today’s budget and I’m concerned our geek-chic leader’s style radar is way off the mark.

The elegant and quietly expensive-looking grey cashmere crew neck was there, the unassuming navy trousers too… but this time Sunak’s off-duty style was rounded off with a pair of black, shouty logo-emblazoned Palm Angels sliders worn with bright white socks (pictured above).

Now, some may not agree with me here, but socks with sliders is never a chic look; never mind a statesmanly footwear choice for wafting the hallowed halls of Parliament. Rishi is in charge of one the most important pieces of work in the country this week, is it really so much to ask that he draw up the UK’s fiscal future in a closed toe? Have standards in Westminster really slipped so far? Come on Rishi, pull your sartorial socks up – and by that of course I mean pop on a pair of brogues.

The brand choice is at once impressive and totally confounding. Much has been made of the plastic sandals’ £95 price tag, but what I really want to know is how Sunak came across an edgy skate-meets-streetwear label like Palm Angels? And why has he decided to make it the first in-your-face logo he’s affiliated himself with? His usual style is reassuringly un-flashy, understated and decidedly grown-up... is Sunak attempting a sandals-up style reinvention? Will he wear soon be wearing Yeezys with his suits and Supreme caps on the weekend?

Founded by Milanese designer Francesco Ragazzi (an ex-creative director of Moncler) in 2015, the streetwear label is inspired by Californian skate culture and has a loyal following among hypebeasts. Owned by New Guards Group, which also does the production and distribution for cult labels like Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, Heron Preston and Unravel Project, the brand has previously collaborated with US rapper Playboi Carti and dresses people like Pharrell Williams, A$AP Rocky… and now Rishi.

Who bought the sandals? Were they a gift from wife Akshata Murthy, like his wildy expensive £180 smart mug? Or were they a late night should-be-crunching-numbers-but-fancy-a-splurge made jacked up on Sprite and Twixes?

‘Leave him alone!’ ‘Sunak can wear whatever sandals he likes!’ I hear you cry (maybe), but I beg to differ. Shoes, much like manners, maketh the man and Rishi’s slip-on slip-up is a mad and misplaced mash-up comparable only to Boris Johnson’s shirt and cufflinks running kit, Matt Hancock’s replica football shirt and the entirety of Dominic Cummings’ sartorial repertoire.

Not only is the Conservative lads’ crumpling and disheveling of style standards depressing and worrying (zero f**ks dressing speaks to a zero f**ks attitude, I would argue), it’s also wildly infuriating because there is no way in hell a female politician would get away with it. Imagine Priti Patel pacing Parliament in a pair of Birkenstocks? I don’t think so.

Rishi’s sliders prove he’s no slicker than the Conservative average after all.

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