A journalist been held at Heathrow by the Guardian Style Editor for wearing a shirt ‘in a colour associated with last season’s menswear’. He was questioned for eight hours, the maximum possible under the Guardian’s style guide which governs how staff dress, as well as what they write. The journalist is thought to have dramatic unseen information related to the US National Security Agency and its relations with GCHQ. Delays to its publication could be serious, according to a foreign news correspondent from the paper. The accused shirt, believed to be from Next, may have to be destroyed.
The Guardian style desk would not comment directly on the allegations. But sources inside the style section of the paper say they have repeatedly warned the foreign editor that if the paper wants to attract new younger readers, it has to have ‘a credible dress code which must include items few young Guardian readers could afford, and many wouldn’t understand at all.’
Older journalists are permitted to have ‘hairy ears and cardigans with holes in,’ according to one insider, ‘because that’s kind of reassuring and authentic. It’s a bit George Smiley.’ However, younger writers – especially those involved in recycling tabloid gossip as irony – must have at least one item of clothing worth over £750 and know two recipes for quinoa, both vegetarian. ‘There are exceptions’ said the source. ‘Charity shop clothes can of course be acceptable, but only if purchased in certain postcodes in East London.’