Fashion and politics have always been intertwined, with politicians’ clothing choices making a statement and influencing public perception. From stylish outfits to controversial fashion scandals, 2023 has been a year filled with noteworthy fashion moments in the world of politics. Let’s take a closer look at some of the standout fashion moments that have defined this year.
1. The King of Casual: Raphael Warnock
Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock kicked off 2023 with an effortlessly stylish casual outfit that earned him the title of the best-dressed politician. During an event in Atlanta, he sported a pink checked shirt, a burgundy quilted vest, and a Polo Bear sweater from Ralph Lauren’s Morehouse collection. As a Morehouse alum, Warnock’s choice of the iconic Polo Bear sweater was a fitting tribute to his alma mater.
The Polo Bear has become an iconic symbol in Ralph Lauren’s collection, with its origins dating back to 1991. What started as a stuffed animal gift to Ralph Lauren eventually turned into a beloved motif on various clothing items. The Polo Bear is often depicted wearing different outfits, adding a touch of whimsy to the brand’s designs. Warnock’s choice to incorporate the Polo Bear into his outfit showcased his personal style and attention to detail.
2. The World President of Pants: Joe Biden
When it comes to well-fitted trousers, President Joe Biden is a cut above the rest. At the NATO Summit, he stood out as the only male politician with impeccably hemmed pants. Biden’s trousers consistently hang straight, without any unsightly rippling along the back of his thigh. This attention to detail suggests that he has found a talented tailor who ensures his pants graze the top of his shoes, creating a clean and polished look.
In contrast, many other male politicians are often seen with excess fabric bunching around their ankles or catching on their calves, which disrupts the clean line of their outfits. Biden’s well-tailored pants not only showcase his personal style but also highlight the importance of finding a skilled tailor to achieve a polished and professional appearance.
3. The Lifetime Achievement for Most Tasteful Dresser: Mitt Romney
Throughout his political career, Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney has consistently demonstrated his impeccable taste in fashion. Known for his conservative yet stylish choices, Romney’s outfits rarely attract attention, except for that one memorable incident involving mom jeans. However, that incident aside, Romney’s fashion choices are characterized by their timeless elegance and flattering proportions.
Romney often opts for dark worsted suits in moderate cuts, ensuring a flattering fit that accentuates his physique. His jacket collar hugs his neck, and the jacket ends halfway between his collar and the floor, creating a balanced and proportional silhouette. In a town where tan dress shoes and questionable dress sneakers have become the norm, Romney remains steadfast in his choice of sensible, dark leather oxfords and derbies, adding a touch of classic sophistication to his outfits.
4. The Insta-Fashionista: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
In the age of social media, fashion has found a new platform for expression. Among the many influential figures on Instagram, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands out as a fashion-forward trendsetter. Ocasio-Cortez understands that dress is a form of communication, using her outfits to convey meaningful messages and challenge stereotypes.
After her diplomatic tour of Latin America, Ocasio-Cortez took to Instagram to share her thought process behind her fashion choices. She emphasized that fashion is not just frivolity but a powerful means of communication. Ocasio-Cortez showcased her style prowess by donning a beautifully tailored white suit when meeting Chilean President Gabriel Boric, a black scarf blouse during a meeting with Chilean Minister Camila Vallejo, and a chic black midi dress with a mock neck and side slits for her appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
By using fashion as a medium of self-expression, Ocasio-Cortez challenges the notion that politicians should conform to traditional and conservative dress codes. Her bold fashion choices have made her a style icon and demonstrate the importance of embracing personal style in the political arena.
5. The Blingiest Wrist in New York: Eric Adams
In recent years, bracelets have become a popular accessory for men, replacing traditional neckties. The trend of decorative bracelets has been embraced by politicians worldwide, including British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Donald Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani, and former NBC anchor Brian Williams. However, none can rival the wrist bling of New York Mayor Eric Adams.
Earlier this year, Adams was photographed wearing two bracelets: one with the word “Hustle” and another with the word “Flow.” The significance behind these bracelets remains a mystery, but their presence adds a touch of personal style and individuality to Adams’ overall look. The mayor’s choice to wear these bracelets, even during significant events such as his visit to the Wailing Wall, showcases his willingness to embrace fashion as a form of self-expression.
6. The Seersuckeriest Southern Gentlewoman: Shelley Moore Capito
Seersucker, a fabric strongly associated with the South, has become a symbol of tradition and camaraderie among senators. In the spirit of this tradition, Republican West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito stood out with her impeccably tailored seersucker suit, adorned with jetted pockets. Paired with a crisp white shirt and a delicate pearl necklace, Capito’s seersucker ensemble exuded timeless elegance.
The tradition of seersucker-wearing among senators began in the 1990s, with Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi leading the way. Since then, the tradition has continued, with both staff and members of the House joining in the fun. Capito’s stylish interpretation of the seersucker suit showcases her ability to balance tradition with modern fashion sensibilities, making her a standout among her peers.
7. The Tie Breaker: Gavin Newsom
California Governor Gavin Newsom has mastered the art of tying a tie with a dimple, setting himself apart from other politicians. The dimple, created by inserting a finger just under the knot while tightening it, adds visual interest and allows the tie’s material to express itself through subtle curves. Newsom takes it a step further by arching his neckwear upward, creating dimensionality and giving his tie a unique flair.
To achieve Newsom’s level of tie accessorizing, investing in ties with high-quality interlinings is crucial. Brands such as Sam Hober, Drake’s, EG Cappelli, Shibumi, Bigi, and Ben Silver offer ties that are unrivaled in quality. While luxury names like Hermes may be well-known, lesser-known brands can provide equally exceptional craftsmanship at a more affordable price point.
8. The Shorts That Broke the Senate: John Fetterman
In September of 2023, the Senate found itself embroiled in a dress code controversy surrounding Democratic Senator John Fetterman’s casual attire. Fetterman had been known for his preference for Carhartt hoodies, basketball shorts, and padded Hoka sneakers, which deviated from the traditional suited look expected in the Congressional chamber. This prompted a temporary change in the dress code to accommodate non-suited members, allowing Fetterman to even preside over the Senate in his shorts.
While clothing may seem trivial in the grand scheme of politics, Fetterman’s shorts became a memorable fashion moment of 2023. However, order was eventually restored when the Senate reverted to its old dress code, redirecting the focus back to legislative matters. Fetterman’s fashion choices, though, served as a reminder that personal style can challenge conventions and spark discussions, even in political settings.
9. The MAGA ‘It Girl’: George Santos
Expelled Republican Representative George Santos of New York found himself at the center of a fashion-related scandal in 2023. Allegations emerged that Santos had used campaign funds to finance luxury shopping trips to Hermes and Sephora. In a recent interview, Santos claimed that he only purchases Hermes fragrance and received a metal bracelet as a gift from his husband. However, the size of the Hermes shopping bag raised eyebrows, suggesting a more lavish shopping spree than claimed.
Santos, who refers to himself as the conservative “It Girl,” has become known for his affinity for luxury brands. From Ferragamo shoes to a Cartier Santos watch, Santos’s fashion choices have drawn attention and criticism. His involvement in Cameo, a platform that allows people to purchase personalized video messages, has reportedly earned him a significant income, surpassing his political earnings. It remains to be seen what extravagant looks Santos will debut with such newfound riches.
In conclusion, the fashion moments that have defined 2023 in the political sphere showcase the power of personal style and the impact it can have on public perception. From casual outfits to timeless elegance, these fashion-forward politicians have used clothing as a form of self-expression and communication. Whether it’s through a well-fitted suit, a daring Instagram post, or a controversial fashion scandal, these moments have left a lasting impression on the intersection of fashion and politics.
As we look ahead to future political fashion moments, it’s clear that personal style will continue to play a significant role in shaping the narrative of the political world. From the halls of power to social media platforms, fashion will remain a powerful tool for politicians to make a statement and connect with the public.