A poll by InVogue magazine, the self-styled Qur’an of British fashion, says that an increasing number of women are keen to emulate the sensible, dowdy good looks of Daily Mail columnist and all-round baggy glamourpuss Jan Moir.
The style magazine’s editor Tanya Strick explains: “I think young women in particular are fed up feeling that they have to aspire to looking like these voluptuous, toned, tattooed women that they read about every day on the sidebar of the Mail’s website.
“What Moir has rather cleverly done is to present herself as an alternative to that whole ‘painted whore’ phenomenon with a look that is attainable by any woman who’s just fallen out of bed after a bout of shingles.
“Unlike, say Rhihanna, women can look at Moir and say, there’s a women who’s unlikely to have had her clitoris pierced and if she does, she’s hopefully not going to post it on Twitter. Because with Jan it’s all kept under wraps, several layers in fact, that's what preserves the mystery. Just how does she get away with looking like that? There are very few women who remain shapeless from birth, which is why I think she’s become this icon.”
Rita Marsh, a 23-year-old cobbler’s assistant from Darlington agrees: “It’s kind of a classic look, the whole Jan Moir thing. It’s like vintage clothing and that, where it goes away for a while and then comes back. I notice a lot of my friends are suddenly dressing like the sexually-repressed headmistress of an all girl’s boarding school in the 1950’s.”
There is also evidence that Moir-chic isn’t simply a British fad, with an increasing number of women in the United States seeking reconstructive surgery to emulate Fleet Street's beloved frump.
“My, yes,” gushes Tiffany Quick, a beautification technician and fashion blogger from New York. “There are girls of 17 and 18, who would normally be self-harming but who are instead following Jan’s lead and getting their teeth un-straightened, their skin bleached and their hatred of other women amplified.”
What is the appeal to American women of this most British of self-promoters?
“Well,” ponders Quick, “I guess it’s that you can sum up Jan Moir in one word and that word is, simple. Simple, simple, simple. Just the same word repeated three times.”
It isn’t just women who admire Moir, plenty of men do too. Derek Russell, a convicted dog-botherer from Reading, says: “It isn’t just how she looks - although let’s face it, she looks amazeballs - it’s also her knack of writing down whatever comes into her head, without thinking. I think most men think thinking is a very unattractive quality in a woman. I love Jan.”