Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Spin/Barack Obama column for Anothermag.com

The Spin | POTUS Style
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his fortnightly column The Spin

Like many powerful men on the international political stage, President of the United States, Barack Obama is often upstaged by his wife. This is in no condemnation of the President’s personal style, more a testament to Michelle Obama’s glowing personality, colourful wardrobe and sartorial freedom. Quite often the American leader is even pushed out of the fashion limelight by his two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

Nevertheless, we have a high and mighty POTUS: his slender 6”1 frame makes him stick out in a crowd, and simplifies the process of making him look fashionably presidential. Consider the facts: tall and slim is ALWAYS better than short and stubby. Of course, POTUS also has facial advantages, and there is no doubt that – if there ever were to be one – Obama would score highly in a US Presidential beauty pageant.

Certainly, Obama is better known for his rhetorical skills than his personal style – the compulsory suit offers harsh boundaries in terms of imaginative sartorial adventures. But in his spare time, Obama has both impressed and let down his dedicated following. Recent holiday snaps revealed the president sporting beige slacks and a simple yet stylish navy polo shirt. Less is more, and this guy knows it. Simple colour combinations; easy on the details: let the authority of the office do the talking!

On the other hand, we have seen Obama on stylistic crash courses. Especially in his far too modern wraparound Ray Ban sunglasses, and last year when he pitched the obligatory first baseball throw in the NBA league: he stepped up to the plate in ill-fitting and stonewashed jeans, teamed up with the wrong kind of Nike trainer. Not a good a look for anyone, let alone the Leader of the Free World.

David Hellqvist is a freelance journalist for AnOther Man, Dazed & Confused, i-D,ZOO and a Contributing Editor to American website JC Report

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