Doesn’t he scrub up well? Pictures from Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas’s makeover

Jon liked this formal look best.

Jon liked this formal look best. - Credit: Archant

“Second-worst dressed man in Britain” Jon Cruddas has undergone an almighty makeover to look more House of Holland than House of Commons - all thanks to the Recorder and Debenhams.

Jon, sporting his smarth-casual look, with Debenhams personal shoppers Lynne and Andy

Jon, sporting his smarth-casual look, with Debenhams personal shoppers Lynne and Andy - Credit: Archant

The Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham came second only to singer Ed Sheeran in the 2012 list of fashion failures, compiled by high-brow fashionistas at GQ Mens Magazine.

His 'before' look: Jon was named second-worst dressed man of 2012 by GQ Men's Magazine.

His 'before' look: Jon was named second-worst dressed man of 2012 by GQ Men's Magazine. - Credit: Archant

So the Recorder thought the seemingly fashion-bereft parliamentarian could do with a little help from personal shopping experts at Debenhams Romford.

But where is he going wrong?

“His style isn’t terrible but everything is far too big,” explained Debenhams deputy store manager, Shane Human-Hardwick. “It must be at least one size too big. Looking good is all about tailoring. You should be able to see definition at the waist; if you can’t see that, it’s not right.”


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And for 6ft Jon dressing well shouldn’t be a problem.

“He’s got a great physique and he knows what colours suit him,” said Andy Perrily, personal shopper of 16 years at Debenhams, “but he’s all hidden under a mass of baggy clothes.”

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Jon, 50, says his fashion sense has become middle road with the onset of middle age.

“I used to be more fashion-conscious when I was a kid but I’m a boring family man now: you move on,” he said. “I’m very busy and I’m always running around so I just sling it on. It has to be comfortable.”

But this doesn’t wash with personal shopper Lynne Bryson, from Rush Green, who has been styling people for four years.

“Tailoring doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort,” she said. “If you dress well it can affect your mood. It could give Jon extra confidence when doing his work. Who knows, he could be the next prime minister.”

So, after being measured up by shop assistant Michael Negus, a small army of staff set about on Friday of last week to transform the petrified-looking MP from cringy to cool.

The day doesn’t start well when Jon unveils a pair of (yikes!) beige socks.

“Black, navy or grey,” said Andy firmly, pulling open a new pack, “you need to get it right, head to toe.”

After a flurry of activity, Andy, from Hornchurch, decides on a Wiggo-inspired nod to mod formal look, with a grey tailored suit (a deviation from Jon’s navy staples), a crisp white shirt, skinny tie, winklepicker-ish boots and a heavy black overcoat.

For oversized-loving Jon, he thinks it may all be “a bit small” but concedes to liking it.

For his smart-casual look, Lynne chooses a “bang-on-trend” dark blue chinos and tweed jacket combo, along with brown boots, a white shirt, and a knitted scarf.

She said: “What we’ve chosen is stylish and it’s something he can throw together without having to think about it too much: it’s comfortable and classic.”

So what does Jon think - and more importantly what has he learned to keep him out of the 2013 hall of style shame?

He said: “I think I probably liked the suit best as it was pretty comfortable and not too flash. But it was all good.

“The team at Debenhams were fantastic. I felt a bit of a plonker but it was quite fun in reality.

“I’ve learned to get the measurements right. I wouldn’t have known my neck size or shirt fit - but I do now. Time will tell if it’s helped - I hope it does.”

He added of his critics, who seem to prefer a vintage-imspired look: “They should get out more and spend less time with their Brideshead Revisited DVDs.”

The Recorder would like to thank the staff of Debenhams Romford for their help...and patience.

The personal shopping service is free.

What do you think of Jon’s makeover? Email: jane.ball@archant.co.uk

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