Why does the Secret Service wear suits?
The subtle differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
At the beginning of November, the Americans will elect their president - will it be the previous one, Democrat Barack Obama? Or will his conservative challenger Mitt Romney manage to get the incumbent president out of office and become the 45th man in the most important job in the world? A style analysis.
When referring to the rhetoric, Obama and Romney seem to represent two contrary worlds - black or white, in the truest sense of the word. It seems that the US is about fundamental questions of direction. If one examines the current US election campaign not for rhetorical talents and factual arguments, but for style elements such as fashion, accessories and so on, the differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are less serious than in their programmatic statements. They look like dissimilar brothers, or better: like employees of the same company.
That is surprising, because fashion is a powerful language. It tells more than we are often aware. The election strategists of the two applicants for the US presidency know that too. The visible surface - his outfit - is just as much an expression of the candidate as his election campaign program. So it is certain that what optical weapons Romney and Obama use has been carefully selected. Both want to get the maximum number of votes, and both are therefore on the absolutely safe side when it comes to fashion. Just don't step out of line, the motto seems to be.
Obama's youthful charm and his still very fit appearance for a 51-year-old are his greatest aesthetic asset. Although Obama has become a little grayer in the four years of his presidency, it is not rusty. He looks best in a slim-fitting dark blue suit with a white shirt. Before his election, his suits were from Ermenegildo Zegna, but now Obama is shopping at Hart Schaffner Marx in Chicago. Obama also appears dynamic in jogging clothes, often by Nike. His gray-brown American-style weekend and casual clothes are a little less cool - the chinos and lumber that Obama wears on weekends or when traveling to the country and which always look a bit too baggy.
On his feet, Barack Hussein Obama wears handmade, specially made narrow black lace-ups by Johnston & Murphy from Nashville - which, however, also supplied to George W. Bush and others of Obama's predecessors in office. It is an Oxford model with five pairs of eyelets and a subtle hole pattern on the side, Obama wears it in size 12, which corresponds to a European size 45. In everyday life, Obama also wears lace-ups from Cole Haan. His jogging shoes are made to measure by New Balance.
Until he was sworn in as President of the United States, Obama wore a model 1500 diver's watch from Tag-Heuer, Switzerland, on his wrist. Since the end of 2007 it has been a Secret Service chronograph with a black dial, manufactured by Jorg Gray in the USA. Sometimes when he's in casual clothes, Obama shows up with a digital sports watch.
Part of Obama's fashion merits is that he made the suit look good again - younger, narrower and more elegant. Obama always looks very elegant even in a tuxedo. Ray-Ban 3217 sunglasses are his trademark and have grown in popularity. But the real highlights were not set by Barack Obama, but by his wife Michelle. She supported young American designers with a migration background at an early age, such as Jason Wu or Narciso Rodriguez - and it was really new that a first lady did not buy from Ralph Lauren or Oscar de la Renta, but from creative boys. Michelle Obama was rightly on the cover of American Vogue in 2009.
The men's magazine “Esquire” has found that Obama's Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been trying lately to play the “everyday man” and that his hair is not as heavily pomaded as it used to be. In fact, for a multimillionaire, Romney goes to great lengths not to look like one. His concept is called “dress down”, he tries to keep the ball flat with dark blue suits and white shirts - he doesn't even wear the shirts with double cuffs that are typical for this income class. As an alternative to a suit, Romney has a casual shirt with a light gray lattice check that he wears open at the collar, combined with dark jeans by Gap, which his wife buys for him, as he likes to say.
Speaking of Ann Romney: She is a classic American blonde - a slightly angular head with a lot of hairspray, a perfect smile on her teeth and mostly dressed in clear primary colors, i.e. in red, blue or yellow. She is hardly noticeable in terms of fashion, because Mitt and Ann Romney are Mormons, and "decency" is a central concern of this religious group. They are moral, capable and wear correct, never suggestive clothes - “modest”, as the Mormons say. Under his suits, Mitt Romney probably wears the long johns or "temple garments" typical of Mormons. Their belief is that they wear underwear that extends from their shoulders to their knees - this should separate them from the mundane world.
Mitt Romney usually wears classic dark oxfords or derbies on his feet, sometimes also brogues - the classic shoe types of the established man. They are inconspicuous and are hardly ever an issue, except in the one infamous photo that shows Romney sitting on the tarmac in front of an airplane having his shoes polished by a black man. In fact, it wasn't a shoe shine, but a security check.
Romney's suits are certainly made to measure - very traditional, but unfortunately without much esprit. They are even cut a little too long from a fashion point of view. Romney should go to the tailor, preferably together with his "running mate" Paul Ryan, because the much younger vice-to-be, who appears in suits that are much too big, really needs a little horse cure.
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