After decades of relaxed dress codes and 16 months of the pandemic, there is still at least one place where a man would wear a suit in the summer: the G7 summit. Leading the free world is, for at least a little longer, serious business.
I note with regret that the future of the case was not put on the agenda in last week’s session. Presumably, the topic has been pushed aside by climate change or tax justice, reflecting the inability to prioritize and this is the collapse of international cooperation. It is therefore left to me to write the note on the state of the case in global diplomacy.
We turn, then, to the infamous family portrait of the group, in which (as more than one clever person already pointed out) the leaders of the Seven look like hunger Games contestants, or Star Trek Crew members are waiting to descend to the surface of an unsuspecting planet.
The oldest male power dress code still applies, and two veterans on the podium, Joe Biden and Mario Draghi, keep an eye on it. A man’s tuxedo should be dark in color and completely matte. Therefore, apart from any silky luster, no more light should escape from it than a black hole. The effect is pleasing to every body type and conveys moral solemnity.
(I was sorry to see that Biden left his handkerchief on the other side of the Atlantic. If he can get the global economy back into the 1970s, economic inflationReturning the white pocket handkerchief might be his only chance to make a positive legacy.)
Two of the younger delegates, Emmanuel Macron of France and European Council President Charles Michel, wore light gray wool suits, presumably hoping for something seasonal and contemporary. Error. Light gray suits, even when well cut, tend to look shapeless and bureaucratic. There is only one known exception to this, and that is the light gray flannel, which looks beautiful and soft rather than shapeless. I don’t know how to achieve this effect. Good woolen flannel is charming.
Macron – who generally looked pretty good – doubles down on the mistake by donning a horrible, single-breasted, peaked suit. Guys have been trying this for many years, hoping to make the suit look modern. It didn’t work, and it’s time to stop trying. Husbands, a French tailor who does just as much as any brand of suit making Conscious Again, don’t sell this style, except in evening wear. Take the hint from your fellow countrymen, Emmanuel. The more cohesive G7 would surely have sent Macron a highly worded note, if not an official statement, on the subject.
Michelle’s problem is simpler. His suit did not fit. It’s cut too tight, pulling the fabric around the chest which is typical of middle-aged men trying on tight suits, as well as some unfortunate bunching around the knees. In another photo, of the group seated around a conference table, we catch a glimpse of Michelle’s back, apparently wrapped shrunken. Politicians, take note: A few extra square feet of fabric won’t make you look old. It will make you look comfortable.
Justin Trudeau looks absolutely good in a light blue. It always looks too good to be true. As I argued before on behalf of bald men everywhere, you can’t trust a politician The hair of this is good.
And now, alas, we must turn to the center of the podium, and Boris Johnson, who looks quite an outsider by his muddled standards. His pants are so big that it looks like they’re bruised, and they seem to fall off. The jacket fits as if it were borrowed from a heavy alcoholic. His collar does not want to lie on his chest, and one cuff sticks out intermittently.
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This is the guy who redecorated his apartment with part of the bill initially paid by a donor. Certainly some acceptable Conservative Party member will take a trip to Anderson and Shepherd? It will be of service to the nation and the world.
There is an advantage in a certain amount of polite annoyance, in good clothes that are carelessly worn. There’s also something to be said for the political power of unflattering or even unattractive clothing, which can convey a connection to each voter as well as focus on what really matters. I think Merkel’s plain dark pants and sassy suits do just that. They always radiate seriousness and authority, and dress helps.
But Johnson, far from pulling off the British version of the Italian contempt, conveys the feeling of a pupil walking into class 10 minutes late, behind with crumpled homework papers. Basically diplomatic clothes. They show others that we put in an effort on their behalf. What is Johnson’s laundry-hampering style trying to tell the world?
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