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).