As I write this, a dozen or so men and at least one woman are working just about every waking hour to become the next President of the United States of America. Now I know that how they dress will not be the defining factor of their campaigns. There have in fact been but a couple of twentieth century American Presidents with more than a mediocre sense of dress, proving that dress does not a President make. A recently seen turndown shirt collar worn with white tie is but one of a list of sartorial transgressions committed by at least three of the current and former Presidents in the photograph. But Presidential candidates are forced to conform to certain clothing expectations in order to compete.
As Robin Givhan, fashion editor of the Washington Post, wrote, "The rules are different in politics. Campaigns are filled with an endless series of symbols and metaphors all meant to evoke common ground. Politicians: They're just like us! Even though they are not." Over the course of several essays I will attempt to report on how well some of them succeed.
This is a blog about men's dress but Hillary Clinton will be one of the candidates considered. I don't believe we can hold a candidate's sex against her, particularly since the current mode of Washington political dress is a jacket and trousers irrespective of the sex of the wearer. The John Edwards "I Feel Pretty" video on YouTube shows us that some formerly feminine wiles have crossed the sexual aisle, so welcome Hillary.
The coming series will have two primaries and an election. We'll select the best Republican in one essay, the best Democrat in another, and then choose as winner the person least likely to wear a parka, snow boots and a ski hat to represent his country at a ceremony to honor the dead at Auswitch as Vice President Cheney chose to do this past March. Fortunately for our sense of propriety, he's not running.