Obama vs. Romney: The Sartorial Showdown

In this Fall’s battle of reds versus blues, my stylist’s eye is trained on the important issues. That’s right: the Obama-Romney sartorial showdown. Whatever your political inclination or level of fashion interest, the candidates’ style statements have an undeniable effect on how they are perceived by the voters. One misstep-in-mandals can read as silly and out of touch with what’s current. Read on for how the two candidates stack up.


Debate Style

Men's Style: Obama Romney Debate

While both candidates keep it ultra-safe and conservative with dark navy suits, white shirts and blue or red ties (which, interestingly they exchanged in the final debate), Obama gets the leg up for his double-vented and shorter suit jacket, well-executed tie dimples, better pant length and overall trimmer fit on his suit. See all that excess fabric around Romney’s shoulders and sleeves? He needs to go down a jacket size. Both candidates have a nice build, and a suit that fits like armor will show that off.

Men's Style: Obama-Romney Dress Shirts

While Romney looks good in the shorter point collar, I’d like to see Obama mix it up with a more stylish semispread. Also, Obama is smart to wear a slightly high collar to disguise his thin neck.


Everyday Style

Men's Style: Obama and Romney Everyday Style How do the candidates fare when they hit the streets shaking hands, kissing babies, and shooting b-ball? The verdict is pretty much the same: Obama for the win with his flat front pants and better-fitting clothes across the board. On the topic of sleeve-rolling (a common practice among politicians who want to show they’re ready to “tackle the issues”), Romney could take a lesson or two from Obama on how to do this correctly and authentically.


Off-Duty Style

Men's Style: Obama and Romney Dad Jeans
This one’s a wash, as both candidates are guilty of a misdemeanor dad jeans offense.

Men's Style: Mitt Romney

But Romney loses extra points for this oversized polo and strange-looking undershirt lines.



Both of the candidates are handsome men, and each should have a hairstyle that plays up his strong facial features. Obama’s close crop executes solidly, but Romney’s pompadour-meets-bouffant with some Grandpa Munster thrown in for good measure has taken on a life of its own. For as much as he tries to appear as though he’s just like everyone else, his slicked-back hairstyle feels out of touch. At the very least, I’d like to see him use a less greasy-looking product.


For the most part, both candidates’ wardrobe choices are safe attempts to please everyone. It’s clear that neither one wants to look too well-dressed or like he spends too much money on his clothes, which could be seen as elitist. But come on, do Americans really expect that the two men running for President of the United States are not going to spend money on their attire? There have been plenty of well-dressed — and well-loved — Presidents in history: JFK with his slim ties and pocket squares, and Ronald Reagan with his brown suits and French cuffs. Good taste and style is something to take pride in and aspire to, and I, for one, would be impressed if Obama and Romney could feel free to express themselves more genuinely through their appearance.

What do you think of how the candidates dress? Leave me a comment below. I always love hearing from you!

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2 thoughts on “Obama vs. Romney: The Sartorial Showdown

  1. Julie you bring up a very upsetting trend here. You accessed it in terms of style: neither wants to look too well dressed. And you’re right. Politicians now have to be careful not to dress too well, speak too intelligently, act too smart or anything else that might threaten the likes of a sad mediocrity that we call the voting public. How absolutely depressing that we would rather have a beer with our president than elect an intelligent, articulate, and capable leader to marshal our country through these difficult times. Shame on us for creating this ridiculous standard.

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