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The Presidential Gray

  • Najib Benouar

No, we’re not talking about Obama’s hair color.

We’re talking about suits. So far we’ve seen a lot of navy on the campaign trail this election season, but the equally “safe” suit color of gray has been totally avoided on stage. It was once a White House favorite (see President Truman and his gray-swathed Cabinet above). But politicians have been afraid of the gray debate suit ever since an ill-fated Nixon showed up to the first televised debates in a light charcoal suit that looked so much like the stage backdrop on black-and-white television, the producers quickly repainted it minutes before airtime (the paint was still wet, and Nixon still faded away).

But we think today, with the debate stage backdrop usually some form of dark blue (and you know, color TV), showing up in a gray suit would have the opposite effect—leaving the candidate in the navy suit to fade into the background. (Perhaps a Reagan-esque brown suit could be even more impactful.)

Though you’ll still have to choose your tie color wisely.