It'd be a bit of a stretch to call Joe Biden a budding fashion plate. Despite a lovingly parodied preference for Ray-Ban aviators, over nearly half a century of public service the President-elect has cultivated a no-fuss sense of personal style defined by muted blue suits and classic repp ties.
Today, however, Biden will rely on a designer of the highest order to outfit him on his first day as the 46th President of the United States. Per the brand's confirmation this morning, Biden will indeed turn to Ralph Lauren, iconic purveyor of all things Americana, to dress him during the swearing-in ceremony later this afternoon.
In more ways than one, Biden's inauguration will mark a welcome return to the more restrained aesthetic approach Obama made a signature of his presidency, in stark contrast to the ostentatious, aggressively gilded look that remains a hallmark of the Trump brand around the world. (Michelle Obama, who made a habit of strategically aligning herself with all-American mall brands like J.Crew, stands in similar contrast to Melania Trump, her successor as First Lady, who tends to favor pieces from big-name European labels.) With his penchant for generously cut Brioni suits and overly long power ties, Trump has long embodied the type of gauche taste a particularly withering caricaturist might gleefully note in portraying members of the newly moneyed class. He doesn't look like a successful businessman—let alone a competent leader of the free world—so much as someone doing a poor impression of one, with the buffoonish clothing to match.
Politics is a field fraught with stylistic tasseography, where meaning is routinely read into even the smallest sartorial flourishes. Because politicians, and male politicians in particular, tend to offer so little to report on fashion-wise, much ado is made of decisions that might otherwise fly under the radar.
— WWD (@wwd) January 13, 2021
So any fashion fans holding their breath to see what the President-elect will turn up in on Inauguration Day (who wouldn't tune in to C-SPAN to see Biden in, say, some of the freakier options from RRL, taking his oath in floor-length vintage-inspired shearling and some faded blue jeans?!) will likely be disappointed. Though his predecessor has certainly become more comfortable gently pushing the envelope of post-POTUS fashion since leaving office, Biden will dress as reassuringly conventional as he'll lead. As of this morning, Ralph Lauren has confirmed he'll be wearing a navy suit, navy tie, and navy overcoat, along with a matching mask made out of the same fabric as his suit.
Still, a man can dream, can't he?
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