Preamble: I realized yesterday that President's Day has been a greatly overlooked moment for style appreciation. Like them or not, the American presidents have been at the center of the nation's - and the world's - consciousness for over 200 years. With all eyes on their every move, one can assume that even in the era of powder wigs, the style choices of these First Men were no afterthought, (after all, if there is anything politicians know it is the art of self presentation). From Washington to Roosevelt, Kennedy to Obama, one cannot deny that presidential style has impacted the national menswear zeitgeist (and vice versa).
In celebration of this national holiday, I was curious to trace the trends and personalities of the American presidency, from founding fathers to today so I scoured the internet for images of each president with an eye to their personal style.
I won't lie, finding these images took a hell of a lot longer than I expected but I was fascinated to see the introduction, ebb and flow of trends. Bow ties for example continuously go in and out of favor, beards make a strong showing post-civil war, and there's a period of amazing hats around Calvin Coolidge. I'll be honest, in the end I actually came to appreciate these guys in a whole new light. Anyway, check out our 44 rather dapper presidents after the jump and happy holiday. - M
This project was inspired
in part by N'East Style's
excellent post on Teddy Roosevent
- many thanks Christine!
|1. George Washington|
Founding the nation with impressive swagger.
|2. John Adams |
Pulls off velvet suit and fluffy cuffs.
|3. Thomas Jefferson |
Unapologetic in fur. Well played, sir.
|4. James Madison |
Artfully chooses a cranberry tone to compliment his ruddy complexion.
|5. James Monroe |
The first to go sans wig. Also, introduces the nation to the popped collar.
|6. John Quincy Adams |
Not messing around with his in-office style.
He is also the first president to be photographed.
|7. Andrew 'The Hair' Jackson. |
Honestly, he gives modern men a run for their money.
Note: evidence of bow ties begins.
|8. Martin Van Buren |
Floppy lapels, tuxedo shirt and the bow tie continues to evolve.
|9. William 'The Silver Fox' Harrison |
Sporting a well groomed head of hair and pair of brows.
|10. John Tyler |
Killing it with floppy bow tie and rounded lapels.
I had no idea who this guy was before today, but this is seriously impressive.
|11. James K Polk |
Setting the stage for Johnny Depp.
|12. Zachary Taylor |
A beautiful photo and the return of the bow tie.
|13. Millard Filmore |
Wonderfully textured suit, vest and smirk.
|14. Franklin Pierce |
Bringing military into the picture. Must be recognized for that coif.
|15. James Buchanan. |
White tie occasion and what an expression.
|16. Abraham Lincoln. |
Honestly, what can be said?
He wears his confidence like an overcoat. Spectacular.
|17. Andrew Johnson|
Perfecting the presidential profile shot.
|18. Ulysses S. Grant|
My personal favorite. Besides being the Civil War's most beloved hero,
(Robert E Lee aside), Grant also managed to cultivate one of
the greatest beards in American history.
|19. Rutherford B. Hayes|
Takes the beard craze to the next level.
|20. James A. Garfield|
Bearded, (yes, Grant started quite a trend) and overcoated.
|21. Chester A. Arthur|
Excuse the watermarked image,
it was the best one I could find of those epic whiskers.
One of two Vermont born presidents. #pride
|22. Grover Cleveland|
With a name like that, a polka dot bow-tie is essential.
|25. William McKinley|
Rocking the close cut and side part that is just came back in style.
|26. Theodore Roosevelt|
Certainly the most advanced of all American Presidents (yes, including Kennedy)
Spread collar, printed tie, polka dot vest. And those specs. No competition.
|27. William Taft|
Well, that's quite a nice hat and 'stache combo.
|28. Woodrow Wilson|
Clearly knows how to move in a suit.
|29. Warren G. Harding|
Now look here, this is how to mix pin stripes and polka dots.
|30. Calvin Coolidge|
First class hat. Also, the only Vermonter president. #pride
|32. Franklin D. Roosevelt|
Longest running president sporting the best outerwear of them all.
I actually want that jacket.
|33. Harry Truman|
The man with the pocket square.
|33. Dwight Eisenhower|
Letting the ladies get their two cents in. Good man.
|35. John F. Kennedy|
No doubt, the man is the ultimate icon for American style.
|36. Lyndon B. Johnson|
Reminding us that you're never too formal to play with your dogs.
|37. Richard Nixon|
He's actually jumping in this picture. Great tie too.
|38. Gerald Ford|
Apparently stylish presidents have stylish friends.
|39. Jimmy Carter|
Those collar points mean business.
|40. Ronald Regan|
American flag and a plaid western.
Doesn't get much more American than that.
|41. George H. W. Bush|
Bomber. Ok, he might have out-Americaned Regan.
|42. Bill Clinton|
Yes, it is true playing an instrument wins style points.
|43. George W. Bush|
Tip of the hat to the quintessential Amurrican accessory.
|44. Barack Obama|
Charisma. You either have it or you don't, the rest is all details.