Republican candidates wore red ties at the first GOP debate. A stylist called it the 'Trump look-alike effect.'

Left to right: Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump, and Mike Pence wearing red ties
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  • At Wednesday's Republican presidential debate, every male candidate wore a red tie.

  • Lauren Rothman, a political and corporate stylist, called it the "Trump look-alike effect."

  • Trump skipped the debate, but candidates were asked if they would support him if he were convicted.

In recent years, the color red has become a symbol of the Republican party.

An electoral college map on ABC News
An electoral college map on ABC News during the 2020 presidential election.Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images

The color red became associated with the Republican party during the 2000 election, when newspapers such as USA TODAY printed full-color election maps for the first time. The terms "red state" and "blue state" also became part of the lexicon that year to describe states won by Republican and Democratic candidates, according to Smithsonian magazine.

Former President Donald Trump made red ties his signature look.

Donald Trump in the Oval Office
President Donald Trump wears a red tie in the Oval Office in 2020.Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Parodies of Trump often feature the character in a red tie. The official Trump store also sells red silk ties for $125.

Lauren Rothman, a corporate and political fashion stylist, image expert, and author of "Style Bible: What to Wear to Work," told Insider that while many politicians have gravitated towards red as a camera-friendly color, Trump made it his brand.

"If we can come to rely on your look, we see you before we see you, and we hear you on mute," Rothman said. "Trump really embodied that formula, which has been in place for a long time for politicians."

At the first Republican debate of the 2024 presidential election, which Trump did not attend, every single male candidate wore a red tie.

Candidates at the first Republican presidential debate in 2023. Aside from Nikki Haley, they all wear red ties.

Republican presidential candidates Asa Hutchinson, Chris Christie, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Tim Scott, and Doug Burgum attended the first debate of the GOP primary season wearing matching red ties. Nikki Haley, the only woman onstage, was also the only candidate not wearing the look since she was not wearing a suit.

"They got the memo of what works on a Fox screen and the power of those visual cues when a lot of people are watching you, whether it's from a bar stool on a big screen or at home over teenagers talking," Rothman said. "You saw it last night if it was on mute or not."

The uniform style was a departure from past Republican debates, when candidates wore ties of different colors.

Republican presidential candidates at the Republican debate in Ohio in 2015

In August 2015, the top 10 GOP candidates appeared for their first prime-time debate in Cleveland, Ohio. Trump wore his usual red tie, as did Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Ben Carson and Jeb Bush wore a more muted red, while Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich went with cobalt blue.

In 2012, only a few candidates wore red ties to a GOP debate on "Meet the Press."

Republican candidates at a GOP debate in 2012

John Huntsman and Rick Santorum wore red ties. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry wore blue. Newt Gingrich stood out in yellow.

In 2008, none of the candidates wore red, at all.

Republican presidential candidates at a GOP debate in 2008

John McCain, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani wore muted blue and taupe tones.

Rothman called the prevalence of red ties at Wednesday's GOP debate the "Trump look-alike effect."

Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy at the Republican debate
Former US Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy arrive on stage for the first Republican Presidential primary debate at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 23, 2023.ALEX WROBLEWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Trump did not participate in Wednesday's debate. Instead, he sat for a pre-recorded interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that aired at the same time. Nevertheless, moderator Martha MacCallum asked the candidates questions about the absent candidate, such as whether they would continue to support him if he were convicted in court — most said they would.

"As far as I know, there is not a ton of behind-the-scenes consulting about what other candidates are going to be wearing," Rothman said. "My sense is that each one of them came to this separately, not with the intention of a 'squad style.' Nonetheless, that's what we saw, because this is what's being created, right? This is the Trump look-alike effect."

Read the original article on Business Insider