Low-rise jeans, Juicy Couture and oversized sunglasses: The golden age of the ‘WAG’

As the prospect of England winning the Euro 2020 grows, we look back at some of the best fashion moments from footballer wives and girlfriends of the past

Saman Javed
Sunday 11 July 2021 15:21 BST
Cheryl Tweedy and Victoria Beckham at the 2006 World Cup
Cheryl Tweedy and Victoria Beckham at the 2006 World Cup (Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Following England’s win against Denmark in Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-finals, the thought that football could finally be coming home is tantalisingly close. Football, along with Wimbledon and the cricket, means that summer 2021 is giving us plenty to be excited about.

But as sports tournaments resume, we can't help but miss the great football summers of the past, which belonged to one team only: the WAGs.

As football squads from 32 countries battled it out for the World Cup trophy in 2006, the girlfriends and wives of those participating had already won the attention of those at home.

While much of the tabloid coverage at the time was at their expense – “they smoked too much”, they were “too loud” and “spent too much money shopping” – WAG era fashion can only be described as iconic.

Arguably leading the pack, David Beckham’s wife Victoria popularised oversized sunglasses, while Alex Curran, who is now married to Steven Gerrard, was a walking Juicy Couture advertisement, often spotted in the brand’s signature matching sets. Low-rise jeans were also the rage, with fitness trainer Carly, wife of Joe Cole, regularly showing off her trim stomach. Here’s a look back at some of their most famous looks.

Victoria Beckham and Cheryl Tweedy

Victoria Beckham, who had been married to David since 1999, was regularly pictured in the crowds supporting her husband at his matches while sitting next to Cheryl Cole. Cole, then known by her maiden name Tweedy, was engaged to England left-back Ashley Cole at the time.

From Spice girls fame to fashion brand CEO, Victoria has more than earned her sartorial stripes, but some of her best fashion moments were no doubt when sitting in the German stadiums watching England matches.

Our personal favourite? This England tank top paired with calf-high brown heeled boots, highlighted hair tousled to perfection, a chunky wristwatch, enormous diamond flashing beneath the stadium lights and a killer pair of sunglasses. VB completed the look with classic french-tip acrylics and several lashes of lipgloss for her signature pout.

Cheryl Cole (L) and Victoria Beckham (R)
Cheryl Cole (L) and Victoria Beckham (R) (Getty Images)

Next to Victoria, Cheryl rocks the era’s adored baker boy cap (a style she’d later go on to wear in the video of her first solo single, “Fight for This Love”), a side ponytail with two strands of hair perfectly released to frame her face, a white tank top and a glowing tan.


Setting trends years before she would go on to own her own fashion brand, Victoria was one of the earliest adopters of the strappy tank top paired with a visible lace push up bra. Cheryl’s chunky vinyl belt was arguably the most defining accessory of the early 2000s, either worn to cinch in the waist or on the hips.

Cheryl Cole, Victoria Beckham and her son Brooklyn
Cheryl Cole, Victoria Beckham and her son Brooklyn (Action Press/Shutterstock)

Carly Cole

Carly Cole, wife of former England midfielder Joe Cole gained prominence after England’s manager, Sven-Göran Eriksson, made the controversial call to allow the wives and girlfriends of his team to stay with them throughout the tournament.

Carly, who became known for her love of partying every night and jogging every morning, regularly showed off the fruits of her workouts in low-rise jeans. We love this pink straight-legged pair, which she styled with a plain cropped tank top and chunky gold necklace.

Carly Cole
Carly Cole (Paul Grover/Shutterstock)

Alex Curran

Alex Curran arrived in Germany ahead of England's first game to support her then-boyfriend, now husband Steven Gerrard, who was captain of the squad at the time. Despite bringing the couple’s children with her (they already had two girls, and now have another daughter and a son), Curran managed to squeeze in plenty of partying.

The Sun claimed at the time that she racked up a hotel bill of more than £25,000 during her stay. Not forgoing her commitment to the unapologetic glamour of the WAG era, she touched down at the airport sporting a glitzy gold belt and a matching long necklace, which have since become a thing of the past.

Alex Curran arrives at Frankfurt Airport in 2006
Alex Curran arrives at Frankfurt Airport in 2006 (Mark Large/ANL/Shutterstock)

While Juicy Couture tracksuits eventually fell out of favour, velour loungewear has recently made a comeback, thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian and supermodels including Irina Shayk and Bella Hadid who added the velveteen fabric to their lockdown leisure looks.

Some would argue that the World Cup WAGs were ahead of their time, as proven by Curran. While shopping with some of the other footballer’s wives, she sported a pink Juicy Couture t-shirt and skirt set, paired with a matching handbag in the brand’s signature velour.

(L) Alex Curran, Elen Rivas and Toni Pool (R)
(L) Alex Curran, Elen Rivas and Toni Pool (R) (Mark Large/ANL/Shutterstock)

Abbey Clancy

Showcasing Victoria Beckham’s influence, Abbey Clancy arrived in Germany to support her boyfriend Peter Crouch in a tie front cami, with the lace of her black and cream bra visible.

The lingerie and catwalk model, who was also the runner up of “Britain’s Next Top Model” in 2006, wore her platinum blonde hair and curtain fringe loose, finishing the look with black oversized sunglasses. Clancy managed to nail the “here’s something I just threw on” aesthetic with aplomb, and we are still jealous of that feathering some 15 years later.

Abbey Clancy
Abbey Clancy (Mark Large/Daily Mail/Shutterstock)

Coleen Rooney

Aside from the endless glamour and over-the-top jewellery, one other commonality between all the 2006 WAGs was their glowing tans. So loved, that Coleen Rooney, wife of England midfielder Wayne, was even rumoured to have flown out a tanning consultant (yes, they exist) for the trip.

(L-R) Victoria Beckham, Rosie McLoughlin, Coleen Rooney, Louise Owen, Elen Rivas
(L-R) Victoria Beckham, Rosie McLoughlin, Coleen Rooney, Louise Owen, Elen Rivas (Mark Large/ANL/Shutterstock)

And what better way to showcase a tan than by wearing mostly all-white ensembles? Here, Coleen wore a flowy, deep-neck dress, paired with her signature peep-toe heel, another early 2000s staple.

Coleen Rooney arrives at the England v Paraguay match, 2006
Coleen Rooney arrives at the England v Paraguay match, 2006 (Paul Webb/Shutterstock)

Since 2019, Coleen has been embroiled in a court case against Rebekah Vardy, wife of Leicester City striker Jamie. The feud, famously dubbed Wagatha Christie, comes after Coleen accused Rebekah of leaking her personal information to British tabloids.

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