Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Meet the New-Look Tory Boys; How They've Ditched Port and Pinstripes for Red Bull Cocktails and Designer Labels

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Meet the New-Look Tory Boys; How They've Ditched Port and Pinstripes for Red Bull Cocktails and Designer Labels

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL BROWN

by Michael Brown The original Tory Boy

TORY boy, how you've changed. I should know, I was the original model, complete with the wide lapels and pinstripes - the inspiration for Rik Mayall's Alan B'Stard and Harry Enfield's spotty youth.

Tory Boy as sociopath, glorying in standing apart from fashion, defiantly out of date, is still the dominant satirical archetype. But the new Tory boys are a different breed. Dedicated followers of hip and cool, they wear a uniform for instant identification: tieless openneck shirts with the two top buttons undone. There is a streak of male narcissism here and a desire to be loved in the same way that we, the Conservatives of the punk generation, were happy to be disliked as long as we kept winning.

New Tories are eager fellow travellers with New Labour - their girlfriends or boyfriends might well be New Labour Commons researchers. But they are envious of their New Labour chums who have the real power and status. It is unclear, therefore, why they are still Tories.

In the 1979 general election.

I posed as Mrs Thatcher's hip sidekick in flared trousers, psychedelic purple paisley shirt with oversized collar, kipper tie and wide lapels.

On being elected, however, I decided that though I was the youngest MP, I did not look like a Tory. So I opted instead for the standard pinstriped, double-breasted Hackett suit, white Marks & Spencer shirt and underwear (Mrs Thatcher loved M&S) and dark-blue tie - the uniform for subsequent generations of Tory MPs. But ageing Thatcherites are losing the style battle with this new breed in CChange (pronounced "see change" rather than a homage to David Bowie), the Tory reform group which is dictating that the suits and ties have got the moth.

Insisting that "how Tories look" is as important as what they stand for, these young metropolitans, aged between 20 and 40, take their inspiration from Michael Portillo's newlook television style. …

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