Photography by Mr John Lindquist | Words by Ms Jodie Harrison
I hear the dulcet tones of Ms Clancy and her familial swarm well before I actually see them. Verbally tittering and sparring their way along the hallways of the studios we are photographing them in, it's clear from the offset that the Clancy entourage are not afraid to share an opinion or two, particularly when it comes to style. Within minutes of arriving - her father, two younger brothers and new husband in tow - model and TV presenter Ms Clancy is skimming through the clothing rails and passing her judgment. "She gets the final decision on most things," laughs youngest brother John, an aspiring musician. "When we go shopping together I'll pick stuff out, try it on, walk out thinking I look cool and she'll either just say 'no' or 'love it'. If she likes something, you'll wear it all the time because you think 'well if it's passed Abbey's approval it must be good'."
It's a similar approval process for husband and England footballer Mr Peter Crouch, whom she met in 2005 - a meeting Ms Clancy says she remembers perfectly, and not for the right reasons. "On our first date I wasn't too impressed with the outfit he rocked up in," she admits. Since then, 25-year-old Ms Clancy has, by her own admission, been working hard to finely tune Mr Crouch's style. "I've slowly tweaked him into what I think suits him and what I like a man to wear. He's become a lot more fashion conscious in the past couple of years."
Happily, Mr Crouch's recent style advancements have made for an easier life both on and off the pitch. Predictably, football's changing rooms can be a sartorially competitive place, where ambitious choices can be somewhat cruelly punished. "Everyone wants to look good, so it can get pretty competitive," admits 30-year-old Mr Crouch. "In every dressing room I've ever been in there's a routine that goes on. If they're wearing something dodgy, the item in question will be pinned up somewhere so everyone can see it." Luckily, Mr Crouch no longer has to endure such things. "Now even when he goes into training, all the lads comment on how smartly he dresses," says Ms Clancy. "He'd never go out in a tracksuit or a hoodie any more."
Here, Ms Clancy puts her judgments into action by showing three of the men in her life, just exactly how to please her.
How would you describe your husband's style when you first met?
Ms Clancy: It was pretty bad to be honest; half-mast jeans, white socks, trainers with the laces tied so tight the sides were almost touching and a V-neck jumper. He completely denies this by the way, but I'll never forget it. He'd been living on his own for quite a while and had no female input and it showed! Men sometimes need to be tweaked. I'd rather it that way than too far the other way. I don't like it when men become too obsessive about their clothes.
How has your style changed over the years?
Mr Crouch: I was 24 when I met Abbey and my style was certainly a lot different then. I think everyone has that "what was I thinking?" moment when looking back at pictures of themselves. I was dressing really casually and spent a lot of time in trainers. I'm a lot smarter now thankfully and I don't wear trainers any more. I've grown into more classical pieces like blazers and proper shoes. I've also learnt a lot about what suits my size. Being 6'7", it has to fit well otherwise I look ridiculous.
To what extent do you influence what he wears?
Ms Clancy: I have influence, but it only goes so far. Peter likes to make his own decisions. If I tell him to wear something, like a rollneck, he'll refuse and then six weeks later might just start wearing it. He has to think it's his idea. It's like inception. I have to plant things in his wardrobe and hope he just comes across them.
Has Peter's height negatively impacted his attitude to fashion?
Ms Clancy: Peter hates shopping, mainly because it's such a struggle to find something that fits. When we go shopping together, we have the biggest fights because he just walks behind me like a stray dog. He also gets bored after five minutes - it's just a horrible experience for both of us. I tend to just do it for him. Having said that, he has now found brands that work for him; he wears a lot of Dolce & Gabbana and Zara.
Does that "boy's club" mentality in football mean that everyone tends to keep it quite safe?
Mr Crouch: Without a doubt, yes. But in every club you do get some off-the-wall characters who will wear whatever they like but you have to be a bit cautious about what you choose to wear in the dressing room as things tend to get cut up if the majority decide they don't like it.
Which footballers or managers do you think have great style?
Mr Crouch: I think all the Italians are known to raise the bar when it comes to style. Every Italian player I've ever played with has got great style, from Carlo Cudicini at Tottenham and Paolo Di Canio - who is known for his great suits - to Gianluca Vialli. I remember years ago being impressed at how Benito Carbone would always come into training wearing a suit.
What's their secret?
Mr Crouch: Fit and the attention to detail. All their suits are fitted and they know how to wear them. They always add a nice little touch such as a scarf or cool pair of cufflinks. It just sets them apart.
Ms Clancy: When we go abroad I love seeing the way Italian men put clothes together. It just looks so elegant and easy. Men should look like they smell amazing.
Do footballers dress better now than they did, say, during Mr George Best's era?
Mr Crouch: I think so. I love that era - and a lot of footballers looked good in those days, but I think these days more footballers are embracing fashion than they were then. In the 1960s, a couple of guys really stood out, now lots of footballers are known for their dress sense. It's just the way football has gone. It's not just your game that's analysed, it's your life too. Consequently everyone wants to look good.
What do you think is the secret to looking good for a guy?
Ms Clancy: For me, men's style is about classics - there are certain things every man should have in his wardrobe such as an amazing pair of jeans, a good crisp white shirt, a nice blazer, a pair of Italian brogues or loafers and a rollneck.
What's the first thing you notice about what a man wears?
Ms Clancy: Shoes. No question. I also notice the cut of their trousers. I hate jeans that are really baggy on the bum. I like to see a bum. Not that I go around looking at men's bums, but you did ask.