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."
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.
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.