Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

« Previous Post | All The Rage Home | Next Post »

Obama's latest pick: the inaugural wardrobe

President-elect Barack Obama's latest pick was unveiled today: He is expected to take the oath of office on Jan. 20 wearing a suit and topcoat from Hart Schaffner Marx. Lisa Wells, a representative of the label's parent company Hartmarx Corp., said additional details of the ensemble would be forthcoming, "but I hear [the coat] is probably going to be black cashmere."Rage_hsn2
Wells also told us the company received confirmation just Thursday night that Obama would be changing into a custom-made Hart Schaffner Marx tuxedo for the inaugural festivities that follow.
According to Wells, U.S. president No. 44 will make his first formal appearance in a black, 100% wool tuxedo with a one-button, satin notch lapel jacket and single-pleat trousers with a grosgrain accent.
An off-the-rack version of the same tuxedo can be found at Nordstrom or online at the Hart Schaffner Marx website for $895.
It's not a surprise wardrobe choice for the former Illinois senator, who often wore the brand's suits (all union-made in Des Plaines, Ill., not far from Chicago) on the campaign trail, during debates, and most memorably for his acceptance speech last month when, as we reported, he took to the stage in a navy blue cashmere/wool number.
While it's hard to measure the immediate impact of such sartorial choices, remember that President Kennedy's decision to doff his top hat at his 1960 inauguration is almost universally considered the day the hat began to die in the wardrobe of the American male.
Of course, Hartmarx isn't taking any chances; in the lower right-hand corner of its website is a blue box and the words: "Pick your power suit, President-elect Barack Obama found his at Hart Schaffner Marx."
Well played, HSM, well played.

--Adam Tschorn
Photo: President-elect Barack Obama is expected to wear a custom-made Hart Schaffner Marx tuxedo similar to the one pictured here, to the assorted inaugural balls on Jan. 20. Photo credit: Hartmarx Corp.

Comments () | Archives (6)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Now, this is hope we can believe in!

Obama is going to look smashing in his tux and Michelle no doubt will look just as beautiful on January 20, 2009.

First, Kennedy was inaugurated in 1961. Secondly, he did wear a top hat that day. There are several pictures to prove it.

Thanks for the correction on the inauguration date - my brain was stuck on "election year" and didn't turn the page.
I do have to take issue with the second part of your criticism, however. Note I do not say Kennedy did not wear a hat to his swearing in at all, merely that he chose to "doff" his hat -- that is, remove it/not wear it to the degree that his predecessors in office had done in that situation.

How disappointing that Obama has chosen to follow the model of Nixon, Carter, and the Bushes and wear a quotidian business suit to the solemn occasion of his inauguration. Think of the opportunity he had to return to the appropriate morning coat formality of JFK, Eisenhower, and the Roosevelts. The symbolism of his generation accepting the responsibilities of adulthood in contrast to the self indulgent Peter-Pan Syndrome of Boomers like Bush, Clinton, and Gingrich who brought us to this moment of reckoning would have been so powerful.

Wait. Stop. Am I to understand now that Obama is going to the Inaugural Balls in BLACK tie rather than the traditional white tie and tails? Oh, this is so depressing. The administration is off to a really bad start.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.