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It’s been a while since we had a president with a genuine style trademark, but Obama’s already staked one out.

If you had an eye on his lapels at last night’s state dinner, you might have noticed the lapels were notched—like a business suit, but unlike every tuxedo you’ve seen at the Oscars for the past 50 years. He pulled the same move at the inauguration (with a little help from Hart Schaffner Marx), and caught quite a bit of flack from purists over it. But he’s staying the course, and staking out new territory for the tuxedo in the process.

There’s a reason you don’t see it outside of the white house. Peak lapels are more elegant, and that’s usually what you want in a tuxedo. Otherwise, you’d just wear a suit. But if you’re a workmanlike president trying to show his sober side while respecting a black-tie state function, it’s a pretty good compromise.

And if your own personal style doesn’t jibe with the outsized elegance of the classic tuxedo, it’s not a bad move. Your style handbook might disapprove, but Barry will be on your side.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom