Less is More when Dressing Well

Few men are as well dressed as Barack Obama. He has a formula for his classic style:  one part perfectly fitted dark suit, one part crisp white shirt and one part conservative tie, usually in a solid red or blue.  The result:  he always looks confident and stylish. I’m sure he feels like he puts on a  uniform everyday; he has infinite choices, but he wisely sticks to “his” look. And he consistently looks more pulled together than other politicians.


Dressing well is as much about what you don’t choose as what you do choose. If you find your style and stick to it, you’ll avoid lots of fashion mistakes. That doesn’t mean you should wear the same clothes that you did 20 years ago. It means finding the styles that look good on you and that express your personality and updating your look with current trends.

When I say current trends, I don’t mean wearing ruffles and empire waisted tops when that’s all you see at the department stores. It means following the current silhouettes, i.e. short jackets over full, flowy bottoms or tunics over skinny pants, two currently “in style” shapes. Within those silhouettes, you can wear what fits your personal style. Your flowy bottom could be a peasant skirt, or bell bottoms. Your tunic top could be a long jacket or a belted t-shirt.

Wearing current color trends is another way to update your personal style. Accent colors are especially easy to fit into your wardrobe. This season, after years of staying at the back of the closet, hot pink is hot.  Add a splash of hot pink to your gray, black or blue basics with a scarf, shoes or purse and instantly update your look.

Don’t be afraid to go for the same look over and over again. Having a “uniform” underscores your personality, and makes it easy to get dressed. For me, I feel comfortable and “dressed” in a jacket, but I don’t like a fussy look. I keep my bottoms and tops classic; think dark jeans and simple cashmere sweaters. I like to have a selection of jackets and scarves to vary the look. And always boots, bought one size too big and worn with cushy socks. I don’t look good if I’m not comfortable.

My uniform gets me through most days with ease. I spend the remainder of my money and sewing time on “special clothes”–outfits for date nights, lunching with friends and holidays, when my look gets more exotic. This keeps me focused and I don’t have lots of clothes.

Back to Barack. Occasionally I’ve seen him in a tan suit, but always with a perfect cut and classic tie. In casual situations it’s khakis and a polo shirt. His wardrobe could possibly consist of 10 – 12 garments! 

Obama’s uniform works because it’s impeccable and predictable. It gives a subliminal message of reliability and high standards. It makes you feel like you know what to expect from him. Good attributes in a presidential candidate.

Ta-ta for now!

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