Andy Sullivan from Reuters called yesterday, wondering what I thought of Paul Ryan’s style choices. The answer is that I don’t think much of them.
This is Tommy Douglas. He was the premier of Saskatchewan, when his party, the CCF, became the first socialist government in North America. The CCF eventually became the NDP.
Check those trousers. Can you imagine a politician these days making such a bold sartorial choice? It seems like everything is so test grouped that politicians lose their personal quirks.
This is actually a very conservative choice, or at least was at the time. This is semi-formal day wear - a stroller, specifically. Black double-breasted jacket and gray striped or patterned pants is the more casual version of formal clothing for the day. It’s what a banker or lawyer would have worn in much of the English-speaking world in the early part of the 20th century. It’s still worn in most of the former British Empire for weddings during the day.
The last US President to wear some version of formal day clothing was Ronald Reagan.
Sometimes you dress to fit in, sometimes you dress to be noticed.
Above: New York Gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan, of The Rent Is Too Damn High Party.
Lots of folks have been emailing me about this New York Post story which reports that New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has only two pairs of work shoes. Of course, Bloomberg is extraordinarily rich, thanks to his business information empire, so he can afford as many pairs of shoes as he’d like, so the story is, “he’s so thrifty!”
There are only two problems with this narrative, in my mind:
A) He has like half a dozen mansions, so… thrifty he ain’t.
B) They’re both loafers. Loafers with suits? BOOO.
Anyway, if you want to talk about true-blue political thrifty-shoe style heroes, it begins and ends with Adlai Stevenson.