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Tony Snow style article

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Pulitzer Prize-winning (!?) fashion writer Robin Givhan addresses Tony Snow's wardrobe, a few days into his tenure. I guess a copy editor wrote the headline, cuz the origin of his suits is not discussed.

The New Bespoke Man at the White House (Washington Post, May 19)

The New Bespoke Man at the White House
Tony Snow's Wardrobe Suggests He May Be Cut From Different Cloth

By Robin Givhan
Friday, May 19, 2006; Page C02

White House press secretary Tony Snow dresses like a man who knows he's going to be the center of attention for a couple of hours every day. That's not narcissism, it's just good manners.

It's uncertain whether he can be counted on to say a lot or a little in future press briefings, but at least he has indicated that he will try to give his audience something pleasing to look at. He will be a nuanced presence at the podium and not just a man in a Washington uniform.

Snow made his debut Tuesday with his first televised question-and-answer session. For the occasion, he wore a charcoal pinstriped suit, a white shirt and a cherry-red tie with a bright satiny sheen that elevated it from banality to personal flourish. Snow's single-breasted suit had a high button stance, and standing behind the podium he sometimes looked as though he was wearing one of those 10-button zoot suits favored by many a professional basketball player and all four of the Original Kings of Comedy. But no, that was just an illusion. As Snow gestured, swayed and turned, one was reassured that the suit was perfectly restrained, and those pinstripes gave it an air of elegance.

In the world of Washington workaday dressing, the difference between dull and dapper can be measured in millimeters. Snow seems in possession of a well-calibrated ruler. His shirt collar fit comfortably; if anything it might have been a little too big. But thankfully it did not look as though it was about to strangle him -- a problem that has plagued many a man in official Washington, including Scott McClellan, the man Snow replaced. (A too-tight shirt collar has a way of exaggerating the size of a man's head, making it look enormous and volatile, as though it's only five seconds away from exploding like something out of a Monty Python movie.) Snow's pinstripes played well on television. They weren't so bold as to make one want to start singing excerpts from "Guys and Dolls." But they made a forceful aesthetic statement. They gave his torso depth and visual interest so that he did not look like a two-dimensional cutout against a blue curtain.

Snow looked more like a banker -- or a TV commentator, which was his previous job -- than someone who has spent so much time being churned through the political machinery that all hints of personal style have been polled out of him. Often, a successful man is proud of his good fortune and will dress like the well-to-do gentleman that he is. But a political man who has done well for himself will often adhere to a strict policy of nondescript attire. The politician aggressively strives to appear like a common man. Snow stands out.

On Wednesday, Snow wore a black suit and exchanged the white shirt for a soft blue one with standard cuffs. He wore it with a pale blue tie -- dotted with an artful pattern that resembled tiny, happy teddy bears. The monotone style was especially popular several years ago when it was favored by talk show host Regis Philbin during his "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" phase. The style has gone from trendy to classic, but it remains a long way from stodgy traditionalism. It suggests more than five seconds of thought went into Snow's wardrobe. It would take that long, after all, just to make sure all those blues weren't clashing.

In subtle ways, Snow has avoided cookie-cutter dressing. His wardrobe, at this early stage, doesn't look interchangeable with that of every other Washington briefer, talker or decider -- it looks personal. Yes, he has been wearing a regulation tiny American flag pin attached to the lapel. (It's such a common accessory that it's more intriguing when a public figure isn't wearing one.) But it has been offset by his yellow rubber LiveStrong bracelet. Viewers can see it every time he raises his right hand to his brow -- a favored gesture. It dangles from his wrist -- its bright color, sportiness and $1 cost juxtaposed with the suit, the tie, and the nice watch on the other arm.

In his Tuesday briefing, Snow got teary-eyed when asked about the yellow bracelet, which benefits Lance Armstrong's cancer survivor foundation. Snow's mother died of colon cancer and Snow recently survived a bout with it. But even without that tear-jerker moment, the mere presence of the bracelet, along with the natty pinstripes and those expressive ties, had already made certain that the man at the podium -- answering questions, or not -- would be more than a blur.
post #2 of 14
So where does the bespoke man bespeak?
post #3 of 14
Is that a joke?
Look at his shirt collar

.....
post #4 of 14
I hope it's a joke. He looks terrible in that picture. Excellent coordination of the dull blue tie with the dull blue shirt....
post #5 of 14
That looks like an old photo? - I think his hair is shorter and grayer, now. Maybe he wears better fitting collars now.
post #6 of 14
A good example of why I like a little tie space.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocker
That looks like an old photo? - I think his hair is shorter and grayer, now. Maybe he wears better fitting collars now.

Can't be old since he's had this job for a few weeks only (see the White House briefing room sign in the background?)

Also, it seems to fit the text : "On Wednesday, Snow wore a black suit and exchanged the white shirt for a soft blue one with standard cuffs. He wore it with a pale blue tie -- dotted with an artful pattern that resembled tiny, happy teddy bears."
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoopee
A good example of why I like a little tie space.

ditto
post #9 of 14
I think the point of the article is that he definitely dresses better than the typical Washington bureaucrat or pol.

While one bad shot may make it appear that he doesn't quite meet the standards of this board, overall having seen Tony Snow on TV, even back as far as the late 80's when he was with the Detroit News, and now at the White House, I would agree with the article.
post #10 of 14
A limp tie, and a disagreeable watch that looks like a Timex are hardly forces of the dandy.
post #11 of 14
I always think much of the critism of public figures is rather unfounded. Consider if your every word was recorded, if everyday you were photographed hundreds of times. You are bound to say or look stupid. I haven't seen other pictures of him, but I think we need more than one picture to declare him completely unworthy of sartorial praise.
post #12 of 14
hopefully, he can work with the rest of the WH Staff and get them to actually look decent and not straight outta the Sears catalog.
post #13 of 14
Here's that first outfit that the article talks about: the charcoal pinstripe suit and the cherry red tie:

post #14 of 14
Looks oversized.
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