Friday, August 29, 2014
The Man in the Baggy Tan Suit
It seems that the leader of the free world has been getting a lot of grief because he chose to wear a tan suit to a press session on foreign policy. The criticisms seem to center on 2 main points: (1) the President wore a whimsical summer outfit to what was a somber session on the very serious current events taking place throughout the world; and (2) the tan suit was actually embarrassingly ill-fitting and poorly tailored.
Most assuredly, there are probably others who can speak to what is appropriate wear for a "serious" policy discussion - many people seem to be of the opinion that the President's normally ill-fitting grey or navy suits would have been more appropriate for the occasion. And that may be true, but the notion that a tan cotton suit is something of a leisure suit or clown outfit is at best a canard and, at worst, a malicious lie.
Certainly, tan cotton or khaki suits of the type that Haspel of New Orleans became famous for during the 20th Century are a warm weather, seasonal option. Of course, this stems from the fact that the cotton is supposed to breathe better in warm weather. It seems odd that of all the people that have chosen to wear a cotton suit in a business setting in order to keep cool during the dog days of summer in the last 75 or years or so, it was the President who was considered to be unprofessional or insufficiently serious.
As to the second point, the suit certainly appears to be rather ill-fitting. When I wake up to Al Roker and Matt Lauer commenting on the shockingly poor fit of the shoulders on your jacket, things are not going well for you, at least from a sartorial standpoint.This, of course, is in line with the rest of the President's business attire, generally speaking. In this instance, I wonder how much of the negative commentary has to do with the distinct drape of the cotton suit. There is generally a stiffness to the fabric so that it does not seem to "adhere" to the shape of the body. Basically, there is a bulbous aspect to a cotton suit that is well-tailored.
In the President's case, if someone were to announce tomorrow that the suit worn by the President to the press briefing was made by Haspel or Joseph A. Banks, would anyone be surprised? The suit has the rather bland, amorphous fit of an off the rack item - the arm-holes of the suit jacket look enormous, in keeping with the one size fits all ethos of ready to wear made for morbidly obese Americans. The fact that the President is rather trim has apparently lead to this sorry state of affairs wherein the President had probably purchased this suit based on tag size rather than actual fit. What we are left with is an unflattering jacket with armholes that are too wide and sleeves and a waist that are probably too long. The tie is too long and incredibly wide and he only seems to want to show some shirt cuff from one of his two sleeves. On the other hand, the President did pair the suit with dark brown wingtips and he also buttoned the appropriate button on his jacket, so there may be hope for him yet :-)