Can We Please Stop Talking About How Badly Politicians Are Dressing?

Lot of reasons to judge a candidate. Ties aren't one of them.

July 29, 2016 9:00 am

Lot of stories out there about men’s style. About “the rules of fashion.” “The right way to dress well.” The proverbial “dos and don’ts.” So many, in fact, you begin to question if any of it is actually any good.

So, when Esquire implores me to fawn over Bill Clinton’s suit, or asks what’s going on with Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s DNC shirt-and-tie combo, or when the Washington Post says that Senator Elizabeth Warren is sending me subliminal messages with her sleeves, it makes me stop and wonder:

Who cares?

As it happens, yes: politicians’ sartorial choices are all the more defining because their choices are all the more limited (ever notice how every suit is the same shade of blue and no one’s brave enough to so much as don a pocket square?). But let’s pause here for a moment and take a step back.

Esquire’s Jonathan Evans wrote earlier this week:

“Tim Kaine just wrapped his speech at the DNC, and though I was trying my best to pay attention to his actual talking points and his not-at-all-accurate-but-pretty-damn-entertaining Donald Trump impression, I kept getting distracted. Why? That bizarre shirt-and-tie combination.”

Evans is basically being the jackass who’ll give you a once-over, scrunch his face up and then tell you your shoes don’t match your belt. Sure, he’s being lamentably tongue-in-cheek, and wasn’t really distressed that Kaine’s tie happened to be the same shade as his shirt, so it doesn’t really matter.

Or does it.

Let’s say he was being serious. And you were. And I was. Then we’d have to ask ourselves: How high on the list of “Traits a Good Public Servant Should Have” is “The Ability to Match a Shirt and Tie Well?”

Right: not high at all.

He might have looked, as Vanessa Friedman wrote  for the New York Times, like an “anti-image consultant guy.” But at the end of the day, the man can break every rule in Esquire’s “Little Black Book”: as long as he can legislate, he’s the nattiest dude in Washington in ours.

So let’s hold our judgment for the stuff that matters, shall we?

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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