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Mr Manton on presidential style

sloaney

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From Bloomberg Terminal


Author Anton Talks About Machiavelli, Men's Suits, Bush, Gore
2006-06-20 00:06 (New York)

Interview by Robin D. Schatz

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- ``Just as a man lives in his house
at night and on weekends, so he may be said to live in his suits
during the week,'' writes Nicholas Antongiavanni in ``The Suit:
A Machiavellian Approach to Men's Style.''
The author, in real life, is Michael Anton, 36, who has
spent time around powerful men and knows how they dress. Now
chief speechwriter for Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief
executive of News Corp., Anton has also been a wordsmith for
President George W. Bush and former New York Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani.
Anton started parodying Machiavelli's style in ``The
Prince'' as a break from working on his doctoral thesis on the
15th-century philosopher-statesman. He never did earn his
doctorate, but the little joke later became a book. (Anton's
publisher, HarperCollins, is part of Murdoch's media empire.)
The author arrives at Bloomberg headquarters immaculately
attired in a medium-blue, three-button suit with patch pockets -
- a custom creation, which he later confides cost a ``couple of
thousand'' dollars.
Schatz: Where do you buy your suits?
Anton: I get them made by a tailor in New York, sometimes
overseas. More and more I'm sticking with New York City. It's
just better to have somebody nearby.
Schatz: Tell us about what you're wearing right now.
Anton: It's just a solid blue suit, a little bit lighter
color than you'd normally see. It doesn't have a lining, or it
only has a partial lining, which keeps it very cool. It came out
the way I wanted it. I'd never have been able to find anything
quite like this on the rack.

JFK's Top Hat

Schatz: Which presidents were good dressers?
Anton: The three I praise the most highly are Kennedy, FDR
and Reagan -- each because they went a little further than the
typical politician goes. Reagan, because he'd been an actor, he
got the taste for fine clothing in Hollywood; he was always a
little bit more flamboyant, and he carried that with him when he
became president. And JFK and FDR, I think it came from their
patrician backgrounds, where their taste for fine living and
fine things and fine clothing was introduced to them at an early
age.
They each did things that would be hard to imagine a
president doing today and not being ridiculed for. For instance,
JFK wearing a full morning coat and a top hat to his
inauguration, or FDR -- who used to like to wear an old classic
American garment called an officer's cape, which is velvet and
lined in red satin.
Schatz: Tell us about George W.'s style.
He dresses very much like you'd expect a CEO or politician
to dress. It's very crisp, it's very clean, it's very simple.
Mostly solid suits, blue and gray. A white or a blue shirt, very
rarely will he wear stripes. Pretty simple ties and black shoes.
I think it's formal and correct, but less adventurous than the
three others that I name.

Cloned Candidates

Schatz: Could a different suit have helped Al Gore?
Anton: I don't think a suit would've made the difference in
the last election; it might've helped. There was one debate at
which, if you looked at them, they were both wearing the
identical outfit -- a solid dark blue suit, a solid white shirt
and a bright red, solid tie, which I call the Washington
uniform.
The only way that Washington deviates from it is another
tie I like to call the Washington rep, which is a certain
striped pattern, burgundy, blue, white, blue, burgundy, that it
seems like it must be given out when you get elected to office
or get appointed to an assistant secretary or above. You're
mysteriously mailed this tie and expected to wear it all around
Washington.

Risk-Taker Clinton

Schatz: And what about Bill Clinton and the way he dressed?
Anton: Clinton took more risks than most presidents did. He
wore designer clothing. The cut of his suits was a little
flashier sometimes. It sort of depended how his political
fortunes were going. If he was riding high, he would cut loose a
little. If he felt like he was in trouble, he'd tone it down.
Schatz: What would you say about Mr. Murdoch's style?
Anton: He dresses like a CEO, much like President Bush.
Blues and grays, white shirts, blue shirts, fairly conservative
ties. He'll throw some stripes in there from time to time. It's
very much in keeping with his position and his job as head of a
big global company.
Schatz: So, was Mark Twain right when he said clothes make
the man?
Anton: I think he was kidding. He was right to be kidding.
The second half of that was, ``Naked people have no influence in
society.''
``The Suit,'' is published by HarperCollins (230 pages,
$18.95).

--Editors: Hoelterhoff (jjb/smw).
 

Manton

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You guys really don't have to keep calling me "Mr". This is an informal place, after all.

Thanks for posting this.
 
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Originally Posted by Manton
You guys really don't have to keep calling me "Mr". This is an informal place, after all. Thanks for posting this.
i thought you didnt like 3 button suits Not-Quite-Dr Manton
 

mack11211

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You guys really don't have to keep calling me "Mr".
Sure thing, Your Excellency!
 

Manton

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Originally Posted by [email protected]
i thought you didnt like 3 button suits Not-Quite-Dr Manton
I don't like true 3-buttons, with short lapel rolls that are supposed to button at the top. I do like -- especially for summer -- a 3-button rolled to 2.5.
 

Bradford

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Great article!

How is the book doing?
 

gdl203

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cuffthis

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I guess we have to wait for you to be Knighted to (properly) call you Sir.
 

Manton

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The Constitution expressly forbids Americans from accepting titles of nonbility from foreign powers. As a committed republican, I would never dream of violating that prohibition.

I think it is selling OK. Not gangbusters, but selling. But honestly, I don't really know.
 
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hmm

I guess that rules out us ever hearing the Queen say 'Arise Sir George W' then
 

Margaret

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Originally Posted by Bradford
Great article!

How is the book doing?


I came across it quite by accident this past weekend while I was scanning workout books in the Fitness section in the West Village B&N -- they were practically hidden, as they were being dwarfed by some oversized cosmetics books (yep) they had been placed next to in the adjacent section (Beauty?).

Antongiavanni... Aucoin... -- ok, well I guess at least there was alphabetical method to the madness...

Anyway, I was running late for an appointment, and the salesperson was (of course) on the phone, so after doing a quick scan around and not finding a more appropriate spot, I made my best guess and shoved a couple into "Personal Improvement" for the time being.


In retrospect, I should have put a couple on the Father's Day gift display I'd seen earlier on the floor below. Damn!

I'll be back there again today, though, so I'll chew someone out. Where should they be?
 

RJman

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The Queen gave Ronald Reagan the highest honor she could bestow on an American -- and he was not knighted.
 

metaphysician

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Originally Posted by RJman
The Queen gave Ronald Reagan the highest honor she could bestow on an American -- and he was not knighted.

Some kind of tryst involving Her Royal Majesty, Thatcher, and the president?
 

Connemara

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Originally Posted by metaphysician
Some kind of tryst involving Her Royal Majesty, Thatcher, and the president?

I think my stomach literally did a somersault after reading that.

"Show auld Bess how you do it in Washington, Ronnie...oooh, that's the ticket..."
 

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