BARACK OBAMA , Suits and His Casual 44 Dad Style
Barack Obama has style! Almost five years ago Republicans didn't hesitate to criticize his decision to wear his tan easter suit to a press conference. On CNN, Republican Congressmen Pete King thought the look might be more appropriate for a soiree in the Hamptons --his real issue was how he addressed the country on Syria, but the fashion critique in King didn't deem tan appropriate for the moment. I remember the single breasted two button suit because my grandfather has a similar one, and when he's feeling extra sharp on a Sunday morning for church Papa passes on the black, navy and gray options and breaks out the beige.
There's no question that black and brown fellas love to "get dressed" just as much as our woman do. If you were born and raised in the black church, or have parents or grandparents who'd done so, you know what "Sunday's best" is (clothes designated specifically for attending church) and for men that was a suit. However, the relationship between black men and suits is rocky. In the 1940s when fashion trends derived exclusively from Europe and World War II government rationings funneled all of its resources, including textiles, into supporting the military, men wore naked suits. Gone were lapels, cuffs, pleats, pocket flaps, and super relaxed fits; the look was plain jackets and slim legged trousers, but in minority communities, a new style was bubbling up.
Full trousers and long jackets, Zoot Suit, were becoming popular among young black and brown men. These clothes defied the idea of conserving for the war. With large lapels, high-waists, bagging pant legs with crisp cuffs and accessorized with chain watches the look was showy and considered to be one of the first youth cultures. That dare to be stylish however caused the Zoot Suit Riots, a series of conflicts that took place in Los Angles, California where white men were attacking Zoot Suit wearers. Fast forward to 2015, and you find Mashable did a profile done on black men wearing suits as a form of armor to protect against police brutality.
Aside from suits and the occasional pair of dad jeans, pinpointing where Mr. Obama's style has shown that he's style icon material beyond suits was sketchy, until Wednesday, February 20, 2019. At the UNC/Duke college basketball game, Barack donned black on black. Dad jeans, check; sweater/button down layering combo, check and to complete the casual drip the former President wore a black Rag & Bone customized with "44" embroidered on the sleeve. This bomber is just one of the many on-trend jackets owned by POTUS. With dungarees, he's been spotted wearing his White Sox baseball bomber and a widely loved classic brown leather jacket. The game night fit was consciously stylish for a couple of reasons. One, you can never go wrong in all black (ask your favorite PR girl about the iconic get up) and two, it's also worth noting that like his better half, Michelle Obama, Barack is a supporter of American design talent. Now let's see if his style choices can impact fashion consumption during the 2020 election season.