Tonight, President Obama’s State of the Union address is supposed to inspire progress and federal stimulation. But often, our focus tends to drift to the hapless sea of baggy, demure suiting filling the audience. It’s a sad sight, really—save for our one beacon of sartorial hope, Vice President Joe Biden. (We’re also giving Obama a pass here, since he’s never given us reason to fret in the past.)
If we were less civic-minded, we’d skip the whole thing and fire up a few episodes of House of Cards—if only to be reminded how a well-put-together politician actually looks (a lot like Kevin Spacey, incidentally). In fact, Hollywood seems to be the only place turning out politicians we’d actually want representing us. So, in hopes of moving a few congressmen to up their style game, we present:
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.
Barack Obama’s status as a pop icon has already been solidified, but here’s some more icing on the cake.
Terry Richardson—the closest thing fashion photography has to an Andy Warhol—has just unveiled a vintage photo shoot that starred the president himself. Judging from Obama’s more youthful visage—notably the lack of gray—we guessed that Richardson has been sitting on these photos for a few years (and they most definitely were taken before the “Uncle Terry” scandal), so we did some light research and found that they were taken during a Vibe magazine photo shoot in 2007. Start making room in your reelection scrapbook...
We’ll assume you either ended last night enjoying the sweet taste of victory, or in kind of a weird place... You also might’ve caught the presidential election.
We came away from the whole thing longing for the days of yore, when this great nation was ruled by men as grizzled as their jawlines.
Not since the likes of Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, a fellow by the name of Honest Abe and just about every US president in the second half of the 19th century have we had a president with some sort of facial follicle to pensively stroke while guiding this fair land. Back then it was more unusual to run for president and not have a crazy-ass beard.
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.
In short, you can’t. Like pony tails and scarves indoors, sunglasses at night make you look foolish. They also make your friends talk shit about you while you’re feeding the meter on your Porsche out front. It’s kind of like wearing a hat at the dinner table, if the hat read “I’M OVERCOMPENSATING FOR UNSEEN DIMINUTIVES.”
With any style rule, of course, come the exceptions. We’ve identified seven in this case, which is why we titled this post:
Everything seemed to teeter on a bit of a knife’s edge this weekend: with three places up for grabs on the US Olympic track team, sprinters Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh tied for third place in the women’s 100 meters on Sunday, crossing the line at exactly the same time, 11.068 seconds. In other close calls, Egypt’s military rulers on Sunday officially recognized Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential election, Italy defeated England in a penalty shootout to advance to the semifinals of the Euro 2012 championships, and after 10 years of investigations (and 5,000 years of head-scratching), archeologists claim to have cracked the code on Stonehenge, concluding that it was in fact a monument built to unify the peoples of Britain, after a long period of conflict and regional difference.
Now that campaign season is gearing up, the photo department over at the New York Timesdug up this 1975 snapshot of President Gerald Ford in the White House, practicing his nightly regimen in full bedtime regalia—a robe, velvet pajamas and leather house slippers. Taped to the back of the photo is a short clipping from the 21-page article: “He does 20 push-ups and 20 lifts of his torso. He says he falls asleep in 10 seconds, sleeps soundly for five hours and wakes up fully refreshed.” It’s the spitting image of the grit and dapperness we expect from our Commander in Chief. Even when behind closed doors.
The furrowed presidential brow is also a well-groomed one.
So says Michael Gilman, founder of the Grooming Lounge in Washington, DC, who contends that “seven of the past eight [US presidential] elections have been won by the candidate with the best-groomed eyebrows.” Maddeningly, Mr. Gilman leaves us hanging on the exception.
(clockwise) w/ Theodore F. Green, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 1957; w/ Abe Fortas, associate justice to the Supreme Court, 1965; w/ Senator Richard Russell, 1963; w/ civil rights leader Whitney Young; w/ President John F. Kennedy; w/ Irish president Éamon de Valera, 1965
While campaigning in 1964, President Johnson ordered a Secret Service agent to stand in front of him so that he could urinate on the sidewalk. After a few seconds, the agent said, “Sir, you’re pissing on my leg,” to which Johnson matter-of-factly responded, “That’s all right, son. That’s my prerogative.”
It was known as the Johnson Treatment—unrelenting mental and physical intimidation by any means necessary.