In his article about the attire of presidential candidates, The New York Times’ Guy Trebay includes a shocking detail:
“That is a tremendous suit you have on,” David Letterman told Senator Barack Obama last April when he made an appearance on the “Late Show.” “That is a very electable suit.”
Mr. Obama’s outfit that night was in some ways standard-issue Capitol Hill: a single-breasted two-button suit whose only nod to fashion was in the choice of color — black in place of the regulation dark blue. His shirt was white and starched. His tie was a reassuring blue and of a width (2.5 inches) that locates him squarely in the middle of the sartorial road.
Woah, even a 3 inch-wide tie is narrow by today’s standards. Either Obama is trying to look like a member of the Rat Pack or that “2.5 inches” is a typo.
Izzy is far more concerned, however, about the color of Obama’s suit. There’s a lot of buzz about whether America is willing to elect a black president, but should we be willing to elect a president who wears black suits? According to the “rules,” a black suit is quite a gaucherie. High-end haberdasher Paul Stuart has even bragged that it has never offered a black suit for sale. Excepting the priesthood, black suits are either extremely fashion-y or worn by people who don’t know any better. They bring to mind the thugs in Reservoir Dogs, the bad-guy Agents in The Matrix, and Cornel West, the faux preacher, Ivory Towered would-be rapper, and Marxian socialist (who, incidentally, makes a cameo appearance in the second and third Matrix movies).
If this is the sort of company Obama wants to visually associtate himself with, then he’s far more out of the mainstream, sartorially, than The New York Times recognizes.