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It’s the end of the summer holidays and it’s back to school for many. Which means slipping back into your school uniform. There was collective horror as kids all over the country did up the button on their trousers and realised, with a cold shiver, that the waistband was much tighter than they expected. The cold panic of wearing something not right (and also bought by your parents) shouldn’t be underestimated.

On Wednesday, singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran appeared on the red carpet at the GQ Awards wearing a jazzy blazer chosen by Sir Elton John. “Elton approved,” he told the Sun. “It’s very him.”

The two are not related, but Sheeran’s slightly “rabbit-in-the-changing room-headlights” expression as he wore it spoke volumes. The Versace jacket was pure showbiz, pure Elton. Not very Eddy. We’re used to seeing Sheeran in salt of the earth, crooner in a pub attire: plaid shirts over anonymous T-shirts, hoodies and cargo jackets.

Ed Sheeran’s classic look.
Ed Sheeran’s classic look. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

It’s not true to say we’ve never seen him in a suit before. At various award shows throughout the years, he’s worn them with a not entirely charmless, Tomy’s My First Suit energy. At the Ivor Novello Awards in 2015, for example, he accessorised his suit with trainers and a Casio watch. In his Bad Habits video, he played a vampire wearing a fuscia suit (channelling The Weeknd).

Sheeran on Wednesday.
Sheeran on Wednesday. Photograph: James McCauley/Rex/Shutterstock

It was part of Sheeran’s subtle image change. It’s not quite a Ziggy Stardust-level reinvention, but recently he’s been stealthily upping his fashion game: bomber jackets, denim shirts, quilted jackets. Generally speaking, Sheeran’s factory settings style is utilitarian meets bedroom pop. We’ve been led to believe that focusing on Sheeran’s clothes is surely missing the point about Sheeran entirely.

The Versace blazer featured a distinct baroque print: a large patchwork stage curtain in bold shades of electric purple, pumpkin orange and pineapple yellow. Yes, it also somehow featured a black and white Harlequin pattern at the sides. There was intricate beading. A generous reading of it would be that it is a postmodern comment on being a performer (Encore? Curtain call? No, he’s wearing it!). A less kind take would be: never let your parents choose your clothes for you.

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