From President Obama’s “dad” jeans to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s jacket, the fashion of America’s presidents often play a second fiddle to their myriad of important duties. However, when it comes to their spouses, fashion plays a major part into how the public views them.
Never before have males served in such high profile supporting roles as we’ve seen with former American President Bill Clinton and husband of UK Prime Minister Philip Day, who are both serving as dedicated spouses to their politician wives. Now that they’re on the sidelines, it’s time to take a deeper look into how these two men are changing political fashion history.
While his wife is running for the American presidency, former US President Bill Clinton is taking on a different role. Aside from his supportive speeches and appearances, the politician has been using his clothing as a way to communicate the Clinton campaign’s message.
The 42nd President’s Style
When it comes to the fashion industry and President Bill Clinton many will remember his public denouncement of the early 1990s fad of heroin chic. This was a rarity for an American president to comment on and brought a harsh focus on the industry. Another was the infamous blue dress, which as we know, was more crude than fashion conscious.
From his presidency in 1993 to 2001, President Clinton was seen in either an American-made custom suit or in a casual pair of sweats. As a public figure, he has built up a reputation for wearing suits made by New York-based tailor Hickey Freeman, Chicago-based Hart Schaffner Marx, and Donna Karan menswear.
As President Clinton has stepped out of the spotlight and into the role of a supportive spouse, the former President has chosen to embrace his latest job, grandpa. Speaking at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, President Clinton wore a navy blue crewneck sweater knitted with the American Flag and red stripes down the sides of the arms. According to Yahoo Style, the sweater was made for the 2014 Sochi Olympic games by Ralph Lauren. The former President also wore an H-shaped pin placed at the center of his neckline, which was a Hillary campaign pin. Although he was casually dressed, his outfit was on message.
President Clinton has sported variations of the Hillary pin throughout his wife’s presidential campaign. Always red and blue with some form of Hillary-related content, it is a part of the long tradition of political pins. One of the most famous examples is the “I Like Ike” pin that was worn during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1952 presidential campaign.
By sporting the Hillary pin, former President Bill Clinton has reached out to different communities in the US. One example occurred when he wore a pin in a Hebrew font. Not only did it catch press attention, it was also an attempt to connect with Jewish voters.
Another accessory that has been making rounds in President Clinton’s wardrobe is a watch made by the Detroit-based brand Shinola. President Clinton was first introduced to the line after taking a tour at the brand’s factory in Detroit in 2014. He then purchased thirteen Runwell style watches for both himself and his team, and has sported the piece during his piece at Democratic National Convention (DNC). Clinton supporters saw this as a gesture to blue collar workers, which are a hard to reach demographic for the campaign.
For his speech at the DNC, President Clinton was styled in a navy suit with a spread collar white shirt. He accessorized the look with a Windsor knotted, patterned blue tie that mirrored the stage’s background. The former President has worn navy blue suits a number of times, which send a more upbeat feeling than the standard black suit. It’s also a way to channel his political party, which has been identified as a “blue party” since the early 2000s.
The husband of the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Phillip May has not been in the public spotlight long. Despite this, the investment banker has caught the attention of the press for his hipster-infused style that blend academic and British sensibilities.
May has already proven his penchant for certain clothing pieces, which have been documented in countless articles. Marie Claire UK has documented May sporting “grolive” or gray and olive colored plain suits. He has even once paired a signature “grolive” suit jacket with a black suit that fused British aristocrat with hipster flare.
Although his style is quite subdued as compared to wife of former English Prime Minister Samantha Cameron, May also has a penchant for colorful prints. He has paired his neutral-colored suits with a gingham-checked shirt or, to the amuse of the press, a pink colored button up, and brightly colored ties.
May’s British Style suits displays his English heritage through a loose silhouette that still flatters his body shape. To add personality to his outfits, May has paired round “hipster” glasses and black patent brogues.
Although the British public have yet decided on Prime Minister Theresa May, it appears Philip May’s style has the public’s vote.
For more on the relationship between fashion and politics, check out more articles here.