Feb 15, 2009

Former Presidential Style-Off

Happy President's Day! I thought I'd look back at the men who have worked in the Oval Office since the 50s and take a look at their style, starting with W and working back to Ike. I left out Obama because I feel it's a little too soon to judge his Presidential style and because he and his wife's outfits have been talked to death in the past few months. Above photo: W's 2001 inaugural boots.

George W. Bush may have been the worst President since Nixon or ever, but at least he could dress. He always looked good in suits, in fact some are dubbing him the "blue tie President", and he always looked in-shape. And, to be candid, he could really pull off the cowboy look rather convincingly. Style grade: B+.

Bill Clinton was surely a fashion victim of the '90s, yikes. Clinton has been credited with bringing corporate-casual to the White House. There's really just one word to describe it and that's: khaki. Now I need to give WJC a little credit for improving his look while in office—late in his second term he started dressing, well, Presidential—even if it was with Regis ties. His ex-Presidency has really over-compensated for his casual dressing habits of his past. Today he's all about a wide spread collar and as big and bright a tie possible. Sometimes it works, a lot of the time it doesn't (see above right). We get it Bill, you used to be the President, no need to draw more attention to yourself. Style grade: C+.

There isn't much to to say about George H.W. Bush. He dressed like a conservative stately WASP. I've heard his cufflink collection is remarkable, but other than that, he played the part well and didn't really deviate from the expected get-up. Style grade: B.

I feel like Ronald Reagan is often overlooked as one of the most stylish presidents of all time. He, especially in his Gubenitorial years and prior, looked like an American James Bond. RR of course had the huge benefit of starting his career as an actor in Hollywood, and being married to an ultra-stylish lady. But the Gipper should get big points for being able to rock a white dinner jacket as well a cowboy hat. Style grade: A.

Jimmy Carter: what were you thinking? In his defense he was President during some of the most ridiculous eras of fashion (1977-1981), but still, you wore cardigans...every day. Above photo: Joe Biden and President Carter. Style grade: D.

Gerald Ford gets points for two reasons. He rocked a three-piece suit, which at the time was very in vogue, and he smoked a pipe. Style grade: B.

Nixon is a hard nut to crack. He's almost a-stylish, meaning he has no style at all--not bad or good. He wore plain suits and rarely wore anything but a suit. Whenever he was photographed playing golf or wearing something without a tie he looked awkward especially since his pants were always pulled up way too high. He had a lot of other things on his mind I guess. Above photo: in black tie, adding people to his enemy list. Style grade: N/A.

Landslide Lyndon was a big dude. He had big ears, wore big hats and had some big Texas style. It wasn't always good, but it was very true to who he was. GQ gave him credit for his clear plastic eye glasses which are now back, but I'd like to give him more credit for his ten gallon cowboy hats. Style grade: B-.

JFK is the godfather of Presidential style. There are whole tomes on the subject, so I'll just say: Style grade: A+.

Eisenhower was a pretty stylish dude too, in fact he's been on this blog before. He has a military jacket named after him (The Ike Jacket), wore Rolexes, and looked great when he golfed. Style grade: A-.


Amanda said...

No rating on Obama? Is it too soon?

I gotta agree on the Carter grade though... that cardi is heinous! It looks like a housecoat.

Lizzie said...

Yeah I thought it was too soon with Obama--I need to at least see him rock a jacket with a Presidential seal first.

Karen said...

Love this post!

thefoodinista said...

More fodder on the Bushes. Hate the man, but really feel like W should be upgraded to an A. His fashion choices are calculated, and quite frankly, he nails it. I love this story on Bush sr v Bush jr re neckties: http://articles.latimes.com/2001/sep/09/magazine/tm-43676