The quickly diminishing crop of Republican presidential candidates may possess ungodly looks, but their dress is decidedly unimpressive.
So says Simon Doonan, a fashion columnist for Slate and the creative ambassador to Barney’s, in conversation with Jacob Weisberg, Slate editor-in-chief.
And it’s not just the Republicans who wouldn’t know a fob from a fop.
“The only stylish politicians are dictators,” Doonan says. Think Gadhafi (everything but the kitchen sink!), Mobutu (leopard print!), Kim Jong-Il (pompadour!). “In a democracy, there’s no room for style in politics,” he goes on.
Doonan draws particular attention, though, to Romney, whom he calls an “intrinsically handsome guy.”
Doonan says that Romney “has to be very careful not to look too good,” pointing out that the likely Republican nominee makes “little attempts at dishevelment,” slightly mussing his hair or forgoing the tie. (He also often wears jeans.)
“He can very quickly look like he’s too smooth,” or like a “lounge lizard,” Doonan says. Or “like the guy who laid you off,” as Mike Huckabee pointed out in 2008.
Politicians “don’t want you, me, or anybody talking about what they’re wearing,” Doonan says, adding that they have to seem “devoted to everything other than vanity.”
“They very carefully dress themselves so as to be unremarkable,” Doonan says.
But there is something decidedly vain about that.