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Today, Joseph Biden, Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America. For the ceremony, Biden wore iconic American designer Ralph Lauren from nearly head-to-toe. His overcoat, tie, suit, and a mask in a matching fabric were all from the label.
The Biden and Trump presidencies are sure to be completely different rides—Wednesday’s traditional, sober inauguration festivities seemed intended to highlight as much. That approach extends to wardrobes, too: Biden’s choice of suit is already a far cry from his predecessor’s. Trump was known for his predilection for Brioni suits and long dangling ties—an America-first president most interested in wearing a prominent European brand. In that way, Biden’s choice of an American label—let alone one as true-blue as Ralph Lauren—is significant.
Already, Lauren has played a large role in Biden’s presidency. The incoming prez wore Ralph Lauren—a turtleneck to receive his first dose and a polo with the pony logo on the chest for his second—while he received the COVID vaccine on television. And the brand is a fitting choice: no designer has better defined the idea of American success than Ralph Lauren. Lauren’s entire brand is built on spinning worlds out of his polos, suits, chinaware, and bedding—to wear and buy Ralph Lauren, the thinking goes, is to participate in the American dream-y world that plays out in the designer’s campaigns and designs. Biden is playing right into that fantasy.
Trump and those in his administration often made a great show of the clothing they wore. “With Trump’s presidency (seemingly) nearing its end, we can see that clothing actually didn’t diminish in importance—in fact, over the past four years, its importance, and its impact, have grown to chilling proportions,” my colleague Rachel Tashjian wrote last week. Trump’s Brioni suits were the ultimate costume: he wore them as armor when stricken with COVID, and in normal times would wear them oversized with too-long ties that seemed to represent his…tremendous manhood.
Biden is already using fashion in a less confrontational ways. That approach will apparently go beyond just his American-dream Ralph Lauren suit, too. On MSNBC, Claire McCaskill reported that, at some point during the inauguration, a collection of Democratic senators were set to brandish Biden’s signature aviator sunglasses “for a moment of levity.” After four years of outfits that forced us to wonder if the First Lady was overtly signaling that she didn’t care about children caged at the border, a moment of fashion levity isn’t taken for granted.
Originally Appeared on GQ