According to Lou Rogers, a brand owner and lecturer in fashion communication at the University of Northumbria, Wigman’s stunning pitchside outfit represents a subtle return to fashion that began in the 1980s, when women looked professional and had established their authority in a political environment that was traditionally dominant. by men.
“I feel like Serena is reviving that business casual style and separating it from a more athletic look,” Rogers says. “She hasn’t opted for a really strong tailored look, she still has loose fitting trousers, trainers, and the blazer itself is the right size for her but it’s not going to exaggerate her shoulders. So I think there’s this sense of business-relaxation, which is quite unusual.
“The fact that she’s a woman in a trouser suit – not in a bold color or a particularly well-fitting or ’80s-inspired power suit, but really just your average Marks & Spencer suit that you’d see estate agents wear. You’ll see… that’s a statement in itself. She’s not leaning too feminine in a trouser suit, nor is she overtly masculine.
‘It will build confidence in the coach’
A perfect fit, then, for modern-day football. For most of the Spain match, Wegman stood with her hands in her pockets – the kind of body language that suggests someone is feeling insecure, defensive or lacking in confidence.
But Wegmann, as his determined Lioness team prepare to take on Sweden on Tuesday night for a place in the Euro finals, has turned that idea on its head.
“There’s this emerging science in fashion psychology called closed cognition,” Rogers continues, “which is the claim that when you wear a certain outfit to do a task, it actually improves your performance. If you wear professional clothing, demonstrate prior education in the field that has improved performance in light of what you are wearing.
“The fact that Serena’s shirt is buttoned up aligns well with a no-fuss outfit in a let’s-get-down-to-business, professional setting and inspires confidence in the coach.”
This view is echoed by Naomi Austin, a senior lecturer in fashion at the University of Sunderland. “A dark suit and a white shirt gives an element of confidence and self-assurance,” says Austin, who spent more than a decade as a designer at sportswear giant Umbro. “Even putting on a suit can change your whole attitude and it sends a clear message to me about what that person is going to do there.”
There’s a sense that Wiegman’s attire is an integral part of his game plan. So far, it’s working. Southgate’s wicket took England to the semi-finals of a major tournament. Could the Serena suit be any better?