Three Presidents: Style for the Ages

Things have gotten a little dicey when it comes to politics in the good ol’ US of A. Well, I’m here to profess that I have all the answers. Just kidding. I’m just as befuddled as the rest of you. I can’t speak on how to put out the residual Election Day fires, but I can offer a different contemplation for you poll cats. I hereby present a list of the three greatest presidential go-to styles and the heads of state who wore them the best.

1. The Hallmark of Fashion: Facial Hair as a Way of Life

The Legend: Teddy Roosevelt

Words of Wisdom: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

The Reason: You might think your hipster cousin has the lock on the finest, burliest retro-hip facial hair that’s ever sparked the envy of every Millennial microbrewer in town. Maybe you’ve even dabbled in a Movember ’stache, or maybe you think they’re merely for 1970s adult film stars and party monsters. Whatever the case, look no further than our 26th Prez (and one of our youngest and hippest, comparatively speaking). Here’s a man who lived and died by his signature cookie duster. Whether he was storming up San Juan Hill with his Rough Riders or trust busting up monopolies, try to find a pic where ol’ Ted is not rocking his fellowcro. I think even baby Teddy may have had a faint little crumb catcher (I don’t want to check, though, and have the myth shattered).

What we can take away is that, as a man, there are no half measures when it comes to your best look. Tailored facial hair can be just as integral as your best pair of denim or sturdy boots. Remember, gents: walk softly, carry a big stick, and go boldly forth with your lip wig.

2. The Hallmark of Fashion: Suit It Up

The Legend: JFK

Words of Wisdom: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

The Reason: I think we can say without stirring much controversy that the early 1960s were the golden age of American fashion. Moreover, the Kennedys’ Camelot era remains one of the most romanticized moments in our country’s history. Taking advantage of the then-newer medium of TV and some arguably unfair A/C tinkering (sorry, Dick), JFK would emerge as one of our most charismatic, dynamic, and well-spoken presidents, residing in the White House during some of our most troubling times. He also remains one of our most stylish presidents. Much like Teddy’s aforementioned ’stache, you’re hard pressed to find of pic of Johnny not rocking his signature look: a slim, worsted suit, skinny tie, white dress shirt, and pocket square. To hell with a “power” tie.

Whatever you may think of President Kennedy’s legacy, you can’t argue that the dude didn’t embody classy, all-American style. Every man ought to own at least one tailored suit in his lifetime. Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country’s garment manufacturers.

3. The Hallmark of Fashion: Let the Grays Ride

The Legend: Barack Obama

Words of Wisdom: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

The Reason: It’s always fun to look at before and after pictures of a president when their time in office has come to an end. You can almost feel the aging. To be fair, the president has just about the most stressful job in the world, and you might lose a little hair pigmentation too if you were the leader of the free world for four or eight years. That said, whether you love him or hate him, it’s hard to argue that this former Commander in Chief isn’t wearing it well. We might like to take a break from all those election polls to see a poll of how many ladies and gents find salt ‘n’ pepper a sexy look. Listen: if you start dyeing it, you’ll be doing it the rest of your life. We’re all going to get older, and we’re all going to rack up some mileage. We can determine if we go at it gracefully like a made-in-America leather jacket, or not, like that double-sided leather belt you nickel-and-dimed on. Have a little hope, run on change, and let your grays be a badge of honor.   

Reality Changing Observations:

1. What public figure is your style icon? Why?

2. Do you have a signature style? What makes it yours?

3. Do you think politics will ever be funny and lighthearted again? Asking for a friend.

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