On Saturday, Mitt Romney introduced his running mate, Paul Ryan, describing their shared ideals and shared vision for America.
The two, evidently, do not share a tailor.
Romney, with carefully rolled sleeves and an ice-blue tie, looked polished, the way presidential candidates often do. But Ryan appeared rumpled, slightly sloppy for a vice-presidential candidate. As if hed flown in hours before and mistakenly picked up someone elses suitcase.
His pants sagged at his ankles. His starched, white shirt bunched at his stomach. His dark jacket drooped, better suited for a man of the cloth than a man on a presidential ticket.
Ryan, a high-ranking House Republican, known as a stickler for numbers and a devotee of hard-core workouts, seemed oddly unconcerned about the clothes he wore during the most important announcement of his political career. How could a fitness buff with 6 percent to 8 percent body fat wear a suit that looked two sizes too big?
Paul Ryan looked like what he is: a rumpled, think-tank policy wonk sort of guy, said Christine Jahnke, president of Positive Communications, a Washington-based media and image-consultant company.
I dont think that will change as the campaign goes on. If he clicks it up too much, both he and Romney will have the distant CEO-Wall Street look.
Perhaps his raw, slightly unkempt suit balances out Romneys snazzier, controlled appearance. Ryans Midwestern sensibilities and baggy pants may appeal to swing voters who think cuff links are wasteful expenditures. The man believes in trimming budgets, not pant legs.
Some people are trying to put his suit into a bigger sociological picture, said Daniel James Cole, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Romney wearing the jeans, Reagan wearing the open shirt in 1980. That the campaign is trying to pose (Ryan) as an Everyman.
I just think he didnt put an adequate amount of thought into what he was going to wear.
It could be a case of taking business casual a bit too far, or trying to relate to voters. Since the 1970s, when Jimmy Carter was first photographed carrying his suit bag over his shoulder on campaign stops, or when Sen. Lamar Alexander wore red and black plaid for his 1,000-mile hike across Tennessee in the governors race, politicians have dressed down to get their poll numbers up.
Candidates have gone from being more formal and distant to presenting themselves as an every person by consciously dressing down, said Thomas Patterson, a professor at Harvards Kennedy School of Government.
But Ryan probably needs a new tailor. This is early in the rollout of Ryan. The campaign will try to package the whole thing. They hardly ever leave anything to chance.
Since he hit the campaign trail, Romney has perfected Gap jeans and rolled sleeves. His casual attire seems polished and politically sound. Newcomers, or those who are styled as such, tend to overlook the tiny details that seasoned politicians have perfected in their campaign personas.
Louis Everard, a Georgetown-based tailor who has made suits for appointees in the Bush and Obama administrations, says he notices that freshman congressmen rarely wear fitted suits. It separates them from the seasoned politicos.
The gentlemen who have been here for a while, theyre all doing a great job with their suits, Everard said. But the freshman congressmen who are new to Washington may not know to tailor their suits, or that Washington has great tailors.
Or they might not care. In Ryans case, styling himself as a baggy-suited newcomer aligned with the partys conservatives may be a wise strategy for the campaign. As to whether Ryans ill-fitting suit is a strategic choice or fashion faux pas, Patterson says time will tell.
I assume since hes been in Washington, hes purchased a few nice suits, Patterson said. Well see if he rolls them out.