"The Obama Style Factor"

07th November 2012

Last night Barack Obama won.


We all know that.


President Barack Obama has been re-elected to a second term, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Last night signed his second triumph in the American elections, after his first election in 2008.


Mr Obama prevailed despite lingering dissatisfaction with the economy and a hard-fought challenge by Mr Romney. At the end, he secured more than the 270 votes in the electoral college needed to win (precisely, 303 votes for Obama against 206 votes for Romney).


But we are not talking here about the underlining policy of Obama’s politics, the new proposals vs. the Mitt Romney’s ones, or other political matters. You find extensive coverage of these subjects in CNN.com or at BBC News.


Here, we want to analyse (with extremely scrupulous eye) another key factor that many other news channels have not deeply considered and which we consider (as part of our blog’s scope) an interesting and possibly quite important variable in the actual President’s re-election last night: the Obama Style factor.



Barack Obama has transcended politics and become an American Icon by adhering to the very old rule of dressing for the job you want.


Most campaign-trail politicians in America like to appear in jeans to show they are one of the people, but Obama’s campaign already had that image and feel, so he never had to dress down for the cameras. In the process, he has taught men how to wear suits again.


The clean lines and drape of his jacket never seem ill-fitting or bulky. The trouserS' cuffs break across his cap-toe oxfords just enough to perfectly end the slim silhouette that begins with the soft shouldered jacket. More importantly, by always wearing a suit so well, he never looks out of place.


Few realize that he began his campaign wearing Ermenegildo Zegna suits, but just as Nicolas Sarkozy was lauded in France for wearing Prada, Obama soon found himself at the center of sartorial questions.


Rather than change his look, however, he merely changed to similarly designed and fitted suits from Hart Schaffner Marx, a US-based manufacturer who just few weeks ago had to file Chapter 11 (bankruptcy).


Such a smart and sensitive move to support US clothing manufacturers in one of the toughest moments for the industry.



Not since John F. Kennedy has an incoming President (and his wife) been the target of so much talk about fashion and style. 


First important point to note is that Obama wears clothes for his body type.


One of the keys to looking good is to know your body type and to buy clothes that flatter your body (please check the “Sartorial Tips” on men’s suits for few guidelines).


Obama obviously has a long and lean body and he wisely opts for three-button jackets that match the scale of his torso. He also wears anything with horizontal stripes, which helps his body look broader. Men with long and lean bodies should avoid anything with vertical lines since that just makes you look taller. And stay away from suits that are tight - these just show off how skinny you are.


Obama goes for a classic look with impeccably tailored suits. He keeps his outfits simple: great suit, great shirt, understated tie. 


Courtesy from Getty Images

The suits that Barack Obama has been wearing in the last couple of years (including at the latest TV debate with Mitt Romney and yesterday evening during the long election poll night) are custom tailored by Hartmarx, which is a 121 year old Chicago based company and the largest suit maker in the United States. 


The Obama suit, as it is often called, is always the same style and material: a two-button, single-breasted suit jacket and single pleated trousers with inch-and-a-quarter cuffs, made of a 97% worsted wool and 3% cashmere blend.


His look is refreshingly simple: dark suits, a white dress shirt and a blue or red tie (most of the time). His suits are tailored to fit giving him a nice slim silhouette.

When he is being casual, he simply takes off his suit jacket and roles up his sleeves to mid-forearm.


You can pick up a 100% worsted wool version of "The Obama Suit" under the Hart Schaffner Marx label (the Gold Trumpeter collection) from $695 to $795.




Could the fashion factor have contributed to last night's victory?


HMX Group’s suits just may be the only thing President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney can agree on (together with some outerwear pieces from North face...)


At the last debate, for instance, Obama wore a Hart Schaffner Marx suit, while Romney was decked out in a Hickey Freeman. Both brands are owned by bankrupt HMX.


Now that the company has hit hard times, many brand aficionados are concerned that the classically American suits may soon sport “Made in [insert foreign county]” tags.

However, lead bidder Authentic Brands Group LLC has assured customers that if it acquires HMX, the suits will continue to be made in the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports.


As mentioned above, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier in the month, listing over $11.2 million in debts. 


For the second debate held at Hofstra University president Obama and Mitt Romney wore dark suits which is (standard), a white shirt, the same as the previous debates, a black lace up oxford shoe (Nothing new), and American flag lapels pins (patriotic much?)Both men wore watches.


The president wore a Silver dial chronograph watch with a dark inside while Mitt wore what appears to be stainless steel watch.


Now, here are the differences.  


In the tie category, president Obama opted for the colour red. His fabric of choice was wool, while Governor Romney went with a silk cotton tie in electric blue and white.




On the contrary, yesterday night during the final countdown for the Re-election results, Barack Obama wore a shiny intense blue tie, while Mitt Romney gave his final acceptance of the defeat in a diagonal red and light blue striped tie of confusing and mixed feelings...



President Obama, known for stepping out in classic, custom-tailored suits by Hartmarx, stayed true to his signature style and opted for a stately blue tie, leaving for little distraction.


Blue ties are associated with feelings of trustworthiness and calm, an important visual message to send during this time. And while we wish Obama would spice things up with a skinny tie now and then, we commend the commander in chief for consistency while eyes are on him. 


On the other hand, Romney stepped up to the podium wearing a bold red striped tie that showed fervor and confidence, and a suit more tailored to his frame than his usual garb, which can seem a little oversized.


The fashion choice by the former Massachusetts governor is significant as he has worn blue ties for 18 of the 19 Republican presidential primary debates; the last time he shows himself in red in a debate this cycle was in September 2011. 


Just to note, these background colours are also the main colours of the Democrats and the Republicans respectively.


Still, could the diagonal stripes in Mitt Romney’s look mean the subtle acceptance of the defeat?



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