Julie Rath: Obama vs. Romney– The Sartorial Showdown

We are very excited at The Recovering Politician to introduce our newest weekly reinvention contributor:  Julie Rath, one of today’s leading style arbiters in the men’s fashion industry.  (Read her bio here.) 

Julie will be sharing fashion tips and advice with our readers, many of whom (mostly the guys — I can see you out there!) are shall we say, sartorially challenged. With Julie’s guidance, perhaps some of our readers can reinvent themselves as fashion icons.  Or at least be more presentable in the workplace and out on the town.

Of course this being only a few days before a major election, Julie’s first piece discuss a critical issue in Campaign 2012: the style choices of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  While not as disparate a contrast as Kennedy versus Nixon, Julie’s keen eye offers a unique perspective on the candidates’ differences.  Enjoy and learn:

In this Fall’s battle of reds versus blues, my stylist’s eye is trained on the  important issues. That’s right: the Obama-Romney sartorial showdown. Whatever  your political inclination or level of fashion interest, the candidates’ style  statements have an undeniable effect on how they are perceived by the voters.

One misstep-in-mandals can read as silly and out of touch with what’s current.

Read on for how the two candidates stack up:


Debate Style

While both candidates keep it ultra-safe and conservative with dark navy suits,  white shirts and blue or red ties (which, interestingly they exchanged in the  final debate), Obama gets the leg up for his double-vented and shorter suit  jacket, well-executed tie dimples, better pant length and overall trimmer fit on  his suit. See all that excess fabric around Romney’s shoulders and sleeves? He  needs to go down a jacket size.



Both candidates have a nice build, and a suit  that fits like armor will show that off.  While Romney looks good in the shorter point collar, I’d like to see Obama  mix it up with a more stylish semispread. Also, Obama is smart to wear a  slightly high collar to disguise his thin neck.




Everyday Style

How do the candidates fare when they hit the streets shaking hands, kissing  babies, and shooting b-ball? The verdict is pretty much the same: Obama for the  win with his flat front pants and better-fitting clothes across the board. On  the topic of sleeve-rolling (a common practice among politicians who want to  show they’re ready to “tackle the issues”), Romney could take a lesson or two  from Obama on how to do this correctly and authentically.


Off-Day Style

This one’s a wash, as both candidates are guilty of a misdemeanor dad jeans  offense.








But Romney loses extra points for this oversized polo and strange-looking  undershirt lines.








Both of the candidates are handsome men, and each should have a hairstyle that plays up his strong facial features. Obama’s close crop executes solidly, but Romney’s pompadour-meets-bouffant with some Grandpa Munster thrown in for good measure has taken on a life of its own. For as much as he tries to appear as though he’s just like everyone else, his slicked-back hairstyle feels out of touch. At the very least, I’d like to see him use a less greasy-looking product.


For the most part, both candidates’ wardrobe choices are safe attempts to please everyone. It’s clear that neither one wants to look too well-dressed or like he spends too much money on his clothes, which could be seen as elitist.  But come on, do Americans really expect that the two men running for President  of the United States are not going to spend money on their attire?

There have  been plenty of well-dressed — and well-loved — Presidents in history:  JFK with his slim ties and pocket squares, and Ronald Reagan with his brown suits and French cuffs. Good taste and style is something to take pride in and  aspire to, and I, for one, would be impressed if Obama and Romney could feel free to express themselves more genuinely through their appearance.

What do you think of how the candidates dress? Leave me a comment below. I  always love hearing from you!


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