It’s on eBay: Mayor Willie Brown’s Wardrobe

The former San Francisco Mayor and one of the best-dressed politicians in the United States — Willie Brown — now has a portion of his wardrobe up for bit on eBay.

Several shirts, ties and a pair of trousers from Mayor Willie Brown have found themselves as part of a charity auction for Goodwill in San Francisco — including the Brioni shirt and tie you see above. 

The current bids are ridiculously low and some haven’t been bid on at all, yet, with the auctions closing in as little as a day and a half from now. Go take a look and consider owning a piece of sartorial political history for yourself. 

Thanks to our reader Mitch for the head’s up!

-Kiyoshi

Former California Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. shows Sacramento how it’s done, circa 1975.

Former California Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. shows Sacramento how it’s done, circa 1975.

"Where did you get that hat? Where did you get that tile?

Isn’t it a nobby one, and just the proper style?

I should like to have one; Just the same as that!

Where’er I go, they shout ‘Hello! Where did you get that hat?’”

- Lyrics to "Where Did You Get That Hat?"

(Pictured: Mayor Willie Brown, who always looks great in a hat)

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. in his early days in the California State Legislature.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. in his early days in the California State Legislature.

The folks at Esquire’s style blog were kind enough to invite me and my friend Will Boehlke from A Suitable Wardrobe to dialogue about getting dressed and getting older. I’m 30, but my first child is on the way. Will’s in his 60s, but has been buying clothes made for him since he was a teenager.

The news hook for the piece was the President’s 50th birthday, and the editor asked if we had specific thoughts about his dress. This is what I wrote, though all but the last sentence ended up on Esquire’s cutting room floor.

When I was in high school, I worked in the Mayor’s Office in San Francisco. The Mayor, at the time, was Willie Brown, one of the country’s best-dressed politicians. Mayor Brown came to San Francisco from Texas as a laborer, worked his way through San Francisco State College (now University), and was the longest-serving speaker of the State Assembly. He was mayor for eight years and remains a powerful force in California politics, even as a private citizen.

Throughout it all, the Mayor cut a fine figure. He was certainly one of my sartorial idols as a teenager. We used to get calls and letters, though, and they often picked on the way he dressed. I remember the word “pimp” being bandied about a lot. He was often called “imperial.” I don’t think that even progressives in San Francisco were comfortable with the idea of a black guy not just being in power, but wearing his power outwardly. The fact that a man from humble roots, born into a segregated world, would choose to wear clothes that were the opposite of unassuming is still controversial in San Francisco today.

This is of course a problem for any politician, but I think for a black politician in America, it’s particularly fraught. President Obama has worked hard to cultivate an image as a cool, collected, responsible black guy. I think he actually is that guy, to a great extent, but I also think that every suit he puts on is an effort to reinforce that image. It’s a reaction to the reaction he’s come to expect from a smart black man in power. Hence the cool colors, the conservative, off-the-rack American suits and so on. Ronald Reagan could afford to be glamorous, and Obama cannot.

And yeah, some of his formal clothing choices have been awful.

unusualyoung:

(by J.de.Leon)

Da Mayor
Flyer than the rest of ‘em.

unusualyoung:

(by J.de.Leon)

Da Mayor

Flyer than the rest of ‘em.

(via thisfits)

Style Gods
The Honorable Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Brown rose from field hand in Minneola, Texas to Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco.  Is there any other American politician who’s ever looked this good?
Emphasize the fit. You can have the best looking clothing in the world but if they do not fit you it’s a waste of money.
Willie breaks it down.

Style Gods

The Honorable Willie L. Brown, Jr.

Brown rose from field hand in Minneola, Texas to Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco.  Is there any other American politician who’s ever looked this good?

Emphasize the fit. You can have the best looking clothing in the world but if they do not fit you it’s a waste of money.

Willie breaks it down.