So, Bake Off is finished and with it comes the inescapable feeling that Tuesday nights as we know them are over and nothing will ever be the same again (well, until next year). Yes, we all survived the migration from the BBC to Channel 4 and, not only did the world not end, we realised that actually, it all looks the same. Same tent, same music, same pastry-related innuendos, same steely looks from old blue-eyes Hollywood, same excellent sartorial flourishes from Mary Be… Oh, hang on – that’s not Berry, it’s Noel! Yes, Sandy Toksvig and Noel Fielding managed to fill the shoes of Mel and Sue rather well, mainly thanks to, I would argue, Noel’s wardrobe.
Of all the things we thought we’d miss when Bake Off decamped to the land of ad breaks, Mary Berry’s fashion sense was up there. How on earth would we all know which printed bomber jacket to buy in Zara now?! Well, fear ye not, because Noel has stepped up, and done so in whimsical shirts, patterned blouses and embroidered jumpers. Of course he did. I’m not sure why we didn’t see this coming but nonetheless, it’s a very welcome surprise.
Where Mary was your loving auntie who thrilled everyone at the family reunion by showing up in fuchsia tailoring, Noel’s your annoyingly cool friend who can pull off the most ridiculous items of clothing
Sure, Berry knows the power of an M&S jacket, a Whistles blazer and even a Preen pink leather bomber jacket (God love you, Mary) but Noel sees her statement outerwear and raises her an oversized, ice-cream print shirt, or a vintage tomato print top from Kenzo (Dolce-meets-Dolmio, as our very own Bake Off commentator, Lauren Bravo, asserted). Where Mary was your loving auntie who thrilled everyone at the family reunion by showing up in fuchsia tailoring, Noel’s your annoyingly cool friend who can pull off the most ridiculous items of clothing, while weirdly not being annoying at all. “This bird print shirt? Oh, I got it from independent label Silken Favours, I think,” you can almost hear him saying. Naturally, almost every shirt from said label has sold out since Noel did his thing. Further proof that he’s the new Bake Off style icon. Yes, I did just use the world icon. I think it’s deserved.
Really though, if you want to tap into the essence of Fielding fashion magic, and I think you do, I’d suggest buying everything from Lazy Oaf. Specialising in quirky designs and ironic slogans, the London-based brand is responsible for several of Noel’s shirts. It also induced in me a manic fervour for a white denim jacket, decorated with pictures of Marie from the Aristocrats and laced up with pink ribbon. I know, it makes no sense. But then, neither did The Mighty Boosh.
Anyway, while we’ll all miss hurrying home on a Tuesday evening to be greeted warmly by the sight of Stephen’s show-stoppers, Kate’s history lessons, Sophie’s near-professional bakes and Prue’s sexually explicit jewellery (see episode 9’s necklace), it’s Noel’s outfits the nation will truly mourn. Perhaps we could start a social media campaign to encourage Noel’s #ootd posts? So millennial, Channel 4 would love it. Failing that, we’ll just have to wait until next year.
We still love you, Mary, just not as much as we love Noel’s Bella Freud jumper.