Political parties craft members’ wardrobes
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 00:09
The same careful regard that presidential candidates use to craft policy is used when they choose a tie, according to fashion and apparel studies professor Jaehee Jung.
Jung said President Barack Obama, Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and their respective supporters have used their clothes as a form of expression to connect with potential voters.
The Democratic and Republican Conventions and other rallies allow fashion experts like Jung to draw sharp comparisons between the two.
“Showing diverse images is important for Democrats to draw voters of many different ethnic backgrounds and age groups,” Jung said. “For Republicans, on the other hand, their conservatism in their political views is also being reflected in their formal wardrobes.”
Jung said the candidates tailor their outfits according to the event they are attending. She said Obama and Romney both tried to appear professional and businesslike during their convention speeches.
Romney wore a black suit with a red tie, while Obama wore a blue suit with a blue tie. Both men had an American flag pin on their lapel.
Jung said when the candidates campaign, they go for a more relaxed outfit.
“At town hall meetings, if you look at how they dress, they are very much in casual mode,” she said. “Polo shirt and button down shirts and jeans. Even their jeans, they look like they have been wearing them forever.”
At a political rally in Milwaukee, Wis., on Saturday, Obama wore a light blue dress shirt and a red tie. His sleeves were rolled up to just below his elbows.
While in Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday, Romney wore a purple, striped dress shirt with no tie.
Jung said these casual outfits display approachability. The candidates are usually in intimate settings and do not want to intimidate any of their supporters by dressing too formally.
Freshman Melanie Scicchitano said the first thing she notices when Obama or Romney speaks is what they are wearing. She said she thinks the average voter focuses on the image of the candidates.
“You need to impress, you can’t just show up,” Scicchitano said. “That’s how people are going to judge you, based on what you wear.”
Jung said while the presidential candidates dress in a similar fashion, the supporters of each party set themselves apart based on the way they present themselves.
She said the conventions for each of the party’s displayed the core differences between the two. According to Jung, most people at the Republican National Convention wore conservative outfits.
At the Democratic National Convention, she said the atmosphere was more festive. Supporters could be seen in costumes and many of the outfits were more relaxed and not as rigid, Jung said.