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President's Day update: Final Obama inaugural wardrobe details confirmed

February 16, 2009 | 10:45 am


Sure, First Lady Michelle Obama's wardrobe is generating a lot of buzz -- what with the upcoming Vogue cover and all -- but those of us who keep tabs on men's style have been keeping a close eye on the president himself. I dutifully reported that the newly minted No. 44 would be wearing a Hart Schaffner Marx tuxedo to the inaugural balls, and that he buys that label's suits five or 10 at a clip.

But I happened to be in Milan covering the men's shows when the big event actually went down, and dropped the ball on sharing the rest of the president's wardrobe choices for the big day. I was thinking about that during this morning's visit to the Brooks Brothers' flagship on Madison Avenue here in New York, where the recently renovated fifth floor space has been devoted to men's suiting (it used to house women's merchandise, which has been temporarily relocated elsewhere).Rage_obama_tie

For the next month, in the center of the room is an exact replica of the black, wool Brooks Brothers great coat made for Lincoln's second inaugural address, and which the 16th president was wearing the night he was fatally wounded at Ford's Theatre (the original coat remains part of the Ford's Theatre Museum collection). The silk lining is hand-stitched with shield, eagle and banner designs and the words "one country, one destiny." The gold-lettered tag inside the collar identifies it as coming from the company's Broadway and Grand Street location.

According to the folks at Brooks, Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt also wore Brooks Brothers when they took their oaths of office, and Brooks Brothers recently confirmed that, indeed, that morning President Obama wore a black cashmere overcoat, black leather gloves and a burgundy cashmere scarf all from Brooks Brothers to his swearing-in Jan. 20.

As for the inaugural balls that evening, Obama rounded out his formal outfit much the same way he built his cabinet, instead of following the party line, he mixed and matched. He chose a custom-made, white, satin, 100% silk bow tie from J. Crew (alas, a pre-tied one).
But, until now, the provenance of the formal dress shirt the president wore as the weight of the world began to settle on his shoulders was unknown. Our source (let's just call him/her "Deep Cravat") tells us it was a made-to-measure white, cotton pique dress shirt -- from Brooks Brothers.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos: Top, President-elect Barack Obama in a Brooks Brothers coat and gloves prior to taking the oath of office Jan. 20. AP photo / Department of Defense, Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo. Bottom: President Obama in a Hart Schaffner Marx tuxedo, J. Crew bow tie and Brooks Brothers shirt at the Youth Inaugural Ball. Photo by Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times