By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
How to get the look: Slim-cut, minimal single-breasted suits from Barneys. Ties from J. Crew.
John Edwards. It doesn't matter how dapper he looks in a suit, he'll be remembered for the $400 haircut. We've had our past brouhahas in the realm of political fashion faux pas — George W. Bush's crocs 'n' socks, Condoleezza's knee-high, leather whip-me boots — but nothing like Edwards' pricey trim, paid for initially out of the campaign war chest. He took a lot of flack for that, as did Bill Clinton some years back when he got his hair cut by a Beverly Hills stylist onboard Air Force One. Bill paid $200 for his cut, which would be considered slumming it in certain fashionista circles. Looking at Edwards' lovely, shiny mahogany locks, the money was worth it — it usually is.
How to get the look: Celebrity stylist Joseph Torrenueva, Torrenueva Hair Designs, 9601 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 288-0606.
Republicans are having a tough time ferreting out their top gun — the selection process has been a roller-coaster ride thus far — perhaps because, sartorially speaking, the candidates literally look the same. What's going on, boys? Fitting the Average Joe mold is a good strategy and all, but was there a buy-one-get-three-free fire sale at the GOP Men's Warehousebefore the debate in South Carolina? They were a shuffling television chorus line of old white men in dark suits, light shirts and red power neckties. All the more baffling since, in terms of public ethos at least, the candidates, from McCain to Ron Paul, couldn't be more different: a Vietnam POW, an evangelical, a doctor, a business-whiz CEO, a self-styled 9/11 folk hero and an actor (who has since withdrawn from the race).
Mike Huckabee. This is a man whose style of dress is distinguished only by its lack of distinction. His ensembles appear to have been assembled for him by robots, which is ironic because when the human species eventually evolves into robots, as an evangelical Christian, he will be the first to deny that the process ever occurred. The draped-on black blazers, the oddly proportioned slacks jowling around the legs, the halfhearted ties — his clothes are strangers to his body. Perhaps lust for style is a novel concept for those whose physiques have gone through dramatic change (Huckabee lost over 100 pounds at one point). Or perhaps the schlumpiness is a deliberate and diabolical ploy meant to humanize him, to curry favor with the 99 percent of the American public who could care less about fashion. Tough call. Either way, if Hillary wears clothing as armor, Huckabee wears it as afterthought.
How to get the look:3 Day Suit Broker (but do not try on before purchase). Ties from same, select with eyes averted.
Rudy Giuliani. A man so synonymous with 9/11, it's tough to even register what he's wearing. Except for those moments when his makeup job makes him look like he's stepped out of a La Cage Aux Folles road show (as it did recently on This Week with George Stephanopoulos), whatever dark suit, white shirt and bold tie he may shrug on, we see him as he wants us to see him, seven years in the past, in a Windbreaker and FDNY cap, elasticized facemask at the ready, ashes swirling in the air and crumpled steel at his feet.
How to get the look: FDNY embroidered baseball cap from FDNY Fire Zone Store, www.fdnyfirezone.com.
Mitt Romney. The handsomest of the Republican candidates, he looks hale and Conde Nast yacht-boy tony even in a sweater and khakis. Obviously, the men in this fight have it easier than the woman. It's a suit and tie for the guys no matter what, and Romney rocks that look with a vengeance. He is upper-crust American Ralph Lauren through and through. While the other GOP contenders were fussing over what pattern to choose for their red ties at the South Carolina debate, Romney was cool as a cucumber — taking a cue from Obama — in his navy-blue-and-ivory stripes.
John McCain. With his close-cropped fuzz of white hair, stocky build and straight-talking demeanor, he comes across as a fresh-scrubbed, take-no-prisoners firecracker of a football coach, the kind who pushes your buttons but improves your numbers in the long run. Of course, he was a prisoner of war in Hanoi, tortured, no less, and as such has earned the right to dress however he wants — combat fatigues, feather boas, muumuus, giant chicken suits. He's taken the higher ground, however, and pulls himself together handily, usually in some safe combination of red, blue and white. Though he's not above a pair of slacks and a brown-leather bomber jacket.
How to get the look: U.S.-military-issue USAF leather bomber jacket from military surplus store.