Gareth Southgate. Picture: REUTERS
Gareth Southgate. Picture: REUTERS

London — Gareth Southgate’s wearing of a waistcoat throughout England’s run to the World Cup semifinal for the first time in 28 years has inspired a call from The Sun newspaper for fans to wear one on Wednesday as well.

#Waistcoat Wednesday is the hashtag The Sun deploys in its headline and calls on fans to "Dress like Boss for Semi".

"The Sun urges Three Lions fans everywhere to smarten up and follow our fashion leader into battle in Moscow," is its tub-thumping message.

Sister newspaper the Sun on Sunday — formerly the News of the World — has demanded people don’t go to work on Wednesday with a headline "Cancel Wednesday!".

England fan Paul Seligson, a 61-year-old teacher, told The Sun he would heed its call to wear a waistcoat, although with Britain in the midst of a heatwave he could be in for an uncomfortable time.

"I think it’s a great idea," said Seligson, who for the quarter-final match against Sweden on Saturday wore another piece of traditional English apparel, a bowler hat.

"I may be going to the Croatia game as Henry VIII but I’ll wear the waistcoat on top," he joked.

Seligson’s friend Michael Dobres is also going, not dressed as a monarch but as one of his vassals, a beefeater.

"I’ll be dressed as a beefeater but the waistcoat should complement it perfectly in honour of Gareth," he told The Sun. "He appreciates the importance of an Englishman looking smart when he goes into battle and all fans should follow his lead."

Southgate lookalike airline pilot Neil Rowe, who changed his mind about boycotting the tournament in Russia, attended the win over Sweden on Saturday and told the BBC it had been tough wearing it in the heat of Samara for the quarterfinal.

Nevertheless Rowe, a devoted England fan who has spent about £50,000 to follow England over the past two decades, will wear his £65 Marks and Spencer waistcoat again on Wednesday.