Poor, dour Gordon Brown, can he ever do anything right? Just when he has the top job all stitched up, comes the criticism that he is simply not a cut about tony Tony. Yes, Brown will not wear ties even to formal occasions amid gasps of sartorial indignation and cries of ‘oh what a yob.’ All dressing down has got the chancellor so far, is well, a dressing down from all sides. But, if pink is the new black, then informal is the new formal for politicians across the world.
Clinton did not shy away from a designer T-shirt or two, especially when gracing warmer climes. Why, even Bush, whose taste in most things leaves much to be desired, is not averse to the occasional shirtsleeves. Of course, the flamboyant Latin American leaders insist on sporting their colourful coats, never mind if the occasion demands a black tie and coat tails. Here, we have several looks, almost all of them cringe-making. They range from the stiff bandgala to the crumpled, just-got-out-of-bed one. Rajiv Gandhi did inject a dash of flair into power dressing but, today, barring a few exceptions, our politicos are not likely to cut a dash anywhere.
It’s funny that the Brits are coming apart at the seams over Brown when the monarch and her offspring are themselves a few decades behind the times. The Queen’s coordinated ensembles are enough to make a Valentino hang up his scissors for good and as for bonnie Prince Charlie, how well-dressed do you have to be for dinner with a potted begonia? The ultimate political fashion statement should be, go with the flow (of your garment that is). Just wear what suits you, even if it is nice Savile Row suit, Gordon.