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Obama unbuttons formal dress code?

world Updated: Jan 29, 2009 22:05 IST
Obama unbuttons formal dress code

Barack Obama seems to have initiated an informal culture in the White House, with speculation rife that the US President may have discarded a rule of his immediate predecessor — coat and tie in the Oval Office at all times.

47-year-old Obama, who has promised to bring change to Washington — not just in substance, but in presidential style -- fueled speculation when on his first full day in the White House, the President was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket.

A report in the New York Times on Thursday wondered whether a rule of the George W. Bush administration — coat and tie in the Oval Office at all times — was allowed to fall by the wayside.

It said Obama’s sartorial standard seems looser than Bush’s. Over the weekend, Obama’s first in office, his aides did not quite know how to dress. Some showed up in jeans (another no-no under Bush), some in coats and ties.

So the president issued an informal edict for “business casual” on weekends — and set his own example. He showed up on Saturday for a briefing with his chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, dressed in slacks and a gray sweater over a white buttoned-down shirt. Veterans of the Bush White House are shocked.

Although his presidency is barely a week old, some of Obama’s work habits are showing signs that a more informal culture is growing up in the White House under the new administration.

He shows up at the Oval Office shortly before 9 in the morning, roughly two hours later than his early-to-bed, early-to-rise predecessor, the US daily said. Obama likes to have his workout — weights and cardio — first thing in the morning, at 6:45.