In honor of Presidents’ Day, we present you with a stylish compendium of United States presidents celebrating their birthdays…
Today marks the beginning of the end of an era in New York City.
The Bloomberg Era.
Voters are currently electing a new mayor for the first time in over a decade, and it’s got us feeling a bit nostalgic for the benevolent billionaire. His banker-y penchant for pinstripes and Windsor knots. His flair for preppiness, rooted in his Massachusetts upbringing. His determination to announce emergency alerts in Spanish without a translator… We can’t say we’re not going to miss it all dearly. And while we’ll leave the analyzing of his political legacy to the pundits, we think his sartorial legacy while in office is also worthy of review:
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the president’s shoes ever since we heard he’d decided against going full-Americana during his last inauguration. He’s long been a Hart Schaffner Marx man in the suits department, and his overcoat and scarf were Brooks Brothers, but for some reason he stopped short at the shoes—electing for a pair of probaby-not-made-in-the-USA Cole Haans and creating a small scandal among sartorially inclined patriots.
In so doing, he broke with tradition: ever since the Reagan era, every president has taken the oath of office in a pair of Wisconsin-made Allen Edmonds—until Obama snubbed them in 2009. And early reports from this morning’s festivities indicate he’s forgone them again. There’s still a chance he slips into a pair for the inaugural ball—you know what they say about Wisconsinites and their dancing shoes—but it’s still an interesting choice to note.
Luckily, he’s still got four more years to get it right.
Sure, the whole thing is about electing a president for the next four years, but there was plenty more going on yesterday during the quadrennial festivities known as Election Day 2012. Here’s what we saw.
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.
If we spent 75 grand on veneers, we’d inappropriately laugh a lot, too.
That said, Joe Biden’s unremitting laughter during nearly every moment of Paul Ryan’s responses during last night’s vice presidential debate was ungentlemanly, at best. At worst, it amplified his primary weakness: that he is a fusty old man drenched in a salty combo of Dewar’s and lower-lip sweat. Regardless of your politics, we imagine you found it at least somewhat difficult to watch the vice president of the United States mockingly laugh at a seated congressman for an hour on national television.
As you may or may not have noticed, the first presidential debate happened last night.
And while we’ll leave the parsing of half-truths and double-talk to the pundits, we noticed one glaring difference between the candidates: their tie knots. Obama’s was a study in the perfectly dimpled knot—it’s hard to tell whether it was a half-Windsor or just a masterful four-in-hand, but it was textbook, symmetrical, some might even call it professorial. On the other side of the aisle, Romney went with a taut four-in-hand with no dimple—an old blue-blood affectation that felt unfussy and verging upon Kennedy-esque—another surprise, considering everyone expected him to show up and pull a Nixon (which he managed to avoid). In other words, the ties told the whole story: Obama played it safe while Romney came off surprisingly slick.
Remember, ties have been a major stumping point this election year.
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