Happy New Year, Borderstanis! If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard from me in a while, it’s because I’ve been a little preoccupied with my day job on the campaign trail in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. As entertaining as that’s been, it hasn’t left much in the way of inspiration. Or so I thought…
I was at one of the 10,000 presidential debates the other day, and the idea came to me. A lot of media attention has been given to the candidates’ positions, their electability, disclosing their taxes, whether they know anything about the Super PACs that favor them etc. But very little has been reported on what really matters: their style.
Now, before I go any further, I have to say that this column is completely non-partisan; the only bias I have in this space is fashion. With that out of the way, let’s do a little post-political spin, candidate-by-candidate.
Mitt Romney: This front-runner from Massachusetts has a style that can best be described as the lovechild of Brooks Brothers and Vineyard Vines. Each article of clothing is impeccably cut, from his classic, two-button suits, to his straight-leg, flat-front chinos to his button-down oxford shirts. While I wouldn’t necessarily endorse him for President, I would endorse his sartorial choices. My only critique would be that he doesn’t quite look comfortable in a pair of jeans. While I’m sure he has policy experts, a communications director and several strategists, he could definitely benefit from a denim specialist.
Rick Santorum: On the trail, the former Senator from Pennsylvania projects the image of an everyday joe wearing his Sunday best. Basically, it looks like his wife took him shopping at J.os A Bank and bought three suits (grey, navy, tan), two navy blazers, two pairs of slacks and chinos (pleated, obvi.), a few sweater vests and plethora of inoffensive ties. It’s not really my style at all, but, hey, it turns out he won the Iowa Caucuses, so what the heck do I know?
Newt Gingrich: The winner of the South Carolina primary isn’t a slight man, to say the least. Finding a flattering suit for the larger man is no easy task, but he does a respectable job of finding the right cut to fit his, well, pear-shaped physique. He does, however, need to do a better job of finding casual-wear for the campaign trail. The suit and tie can look a little too rigid and severe at times.
Ron Paul: Look, I realize that the founders didn’t include a right to be stylish in the Constitution, but maybe they should have. That’s the only reason I can come up with the Texas Congressman’s ill-fitting couture. Dr. Paul, a little advice? You’ve got a consistent platform, loyal followers and point of view that none of the other candidates in this field have. But couldn’t you have all that and a suit that flatters you? Just sayin’…
Rick Perry: Okay, I know that the Governor from Texas dropped out of the race last week, but I hail from the Lone Star State, so please indulge me. Perry has a certain swagger with his sense of style that’s unique in this field. It comes from wearing cowboy boots with his suits. Even though I’m a Texan, the idea of wearing anything but wing-tips or loafers with a suit horrifies me (don’t even get me started on the trend of Converse All-Stars paired with business formal from a few years back), but I’ve got to say, if you’ve got the chutzpah to pull off the boots look, go for it. Because when it comes to your personal style, it really is all about attitude.
That’s it from on the campaign trail, kids. Talk to you in a few weeks.
Featured image: Newt Gingrich campaign bus, photo courtesy of Gingrich campaign Flickr collection.
In addition to winning the South Carolina presidential primary on Saturday, Newt Gingrich also recently voiced his opinion on your decision to rent (not own) an apartment (not a home) in a city (not a suburb). He also threw in the Metro and fancy newspapers — leaving out dog parks and bike lanes, but perhaps he’ll hit on those in the future.
In a speech to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) last week, Gingrich pledged his support for the institution of home ownership, The Wall Street Journal reports. At the “Rally for Home Ownership” in South Carolina, Gingrich advocated for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial bill, as well as more lenient tax policies for manufacturers and builders.
Gingrich, who campaigns as a small-government conservative, makes an unlikely bedfellow for a trade group like NAHB, which lobbies for government regulation of the industry. But platform changes like this are not uncommon in a primary season, during which candidates try to appeal to multiple, shifting electorates.
Accordingly, Gingrich used the rally to strike a populist tone and appeal to his suburban base, drawing a harsh comparison between those who value home ownership and those who, in his mind, do not:
“Those who live in [apartments] writing for fancy newspapers in the middle of town after they ride the Metro, who don’t understand that for most Americans [having] their own property… is one of the greatest achievements of their life, and it makes them feel like they are good solid citizens,” Gingrich told the crowd.
Gingrich’s comments are interesting in light of where we live — a densely populated downtown neighborhood with lots of renters (yes, lots of condos, too) who use public transportation. And while we may not be solid citizens, our rents are certainly fancy here in Borderstan.
Anyway, welcome to the 2012 presidential election.