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Presidential Fashion: Examples of the Influence

1/31/2017

Presidential Fashion: Examples of the Influence

American presidents and their clothes are essential measures of legislative wisdom. Their influence on men's fashion varied from atrocious to timeless. When Dwight Eisenhower appeared in a brown suit, he was in a bad mood. His aide alerted the White House to beware. Gerald Ford’s too-short striped pants worn at a reception in Tokyo destroyed the opportunity for trade talks. George Washington might look overdressed by today's standards, but he is the founding father of American style. Read more about the three heads of state who brought particular menswear into style.

Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman

President Truman dressed in impeccably tailored menswear during his time in office. As a former owner of a Kansas City haberdashery, he was always well put together, regardless of the occasion. Most of his suits sported three open patch pockets, no boutonniere buttonhole, narrow shoulders, and lack of drape, all of which were typical for the era.

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

Some blame Kennedy for the fashion decline of men’s hat wearing. He defied decades of the three-button coat tradition by almost always dressed in a slim-fitting, single-breasted jacket with two buttons. Most of the time he fastened them both. His slim suits had minimal shoulder padding and flapped, jetted pockets suited the ventless blazer with notched, narrow lapels.

Chester A. Arthur

John F. Kennedy

Arthur’s affinity for high hats, light trousers, silk scarves, and frock coats intensified upon occupying the White House. Political cartoonists and commentators highlighted the time and money he spent on clothing, including 80 pairs of shoes and pants. He once spent $700 at Brooks Brothers, which is about $15,000 in today's terms.

U.S. presidents have provided menswear with generations of incredible influence and style across centuries worldwide. They knew that similar to professionals who spend their work week in a suit, informal attire does not equate to high-fashion and influence for stylish commanders-in-chief.

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