Get new monthly style tips directly to your inbox.

Democratic Fashion: Obama vs. Biden

Who Was Better Dressed Last Night, Obama or Biden?

Although Obama and Biden are running mates during the upcoming election and are not in competition with one another in terms of their jobs, there is indeed a bit of rivalry when it comes to who dresses better. While Obama typically dresses in a plain, simple, and conservative fashion, it is Joe Biden who usually decides to bring more color to his wardrobe. In the past we have seen Biden wear brightly colored ties in purple, pink, and orange – something that is quite unusual for the common blue and ruby red tie choices politicians typically make. This difference in style was also apparent during last night’s Democratic National Convention. Now the questions comes, who was the better dressed of the two?

Suit Fit: Biden Takes the Lead
Fit is everything when it comes to a man’s suit, and properly tailored piece can even make a cheaper model look better than a more expensive designer piece. Both, Biden and Obama, wear a very similar cut suit: single breasted, classic standard width notch lapels, and solid black in color. Although the suits are almost identical it is the fit that makes them stand apart. Biden’s suit is perfectly tailored while Obama’s suit looks a bit too baggy. It is apparent that Obama has lost some weight since he stepped into office. Without doubt, being President of the United States must be stressful and time consuming, but that’s not an excuse to skip a trip to a tailor. Hopefully Obama get’s his classic suits altered before he starts looking like Ron Paul.

Shirt Fit: Obama Redeems Himself
While the suit looks better on Biden, Obama redeems himself with his shirt fit. The collar fits tight without causing discomfort, the sleeves are at the right length, and the cuffs are proportionate to Obama’s thinner wrist. Biden’s shirt also fits well for the most part, but it is the poorly fitted cuffs (pictured), that cause a bit of a disconnect to his well tailored suit.

The Necktie: Points to Obama
In a recent Huffington Post article fashion critic Willow Lindley points out that Obama’s favorite tie color is blue. In her article she points out that Obama wore a blue tie 42% during his first 50 days in office, compared to red at 30%, and gray and black both at about 13%. Regardless of Obama’s monotonous tie choice, I still think Obama did a much better job at picking his blue and gray striped tie than Biden did with his somewhat clashing pink and bright blue accessory. Should you like Obama’s tie, then I actually found it on our sister site Bows-N-Ties for just $18.90 (see, and/or click on the image for details).

joe-biden-striped-tieCollar Spread & Tie Knot: Kudos to Biden
Both are wearing the white dress shirts, and although both shirts appear to be similar, it the collar spread that sets them apart. Obama picks a narrow spread collar that is well balanced with a narrow Four in Hand knot. Biden on the other hand picked out a slightly wider spread collar that gets proportionally accessorized with a wider half Windsor knot. Even though both men did a good job in pairing the tie knot to the shirt collar, it is Biden’s shirt that is a bit more attractive. The reason: His wider collar spread looks better in proportion to the somewhat wider suit lapels.

obama-wrist-watchAccessories: Obama Takes This One
Unfortunately, politicians tend to dress in a somewhat boring fashion these days. Gone are the days when the president (think JFK) dressed in 3-piece suit, decorated with an elegant white pocket square and paired with a dapper skinny tie and matching tie bar. Instead outfits are conservative and, what some may call, even boring. Obama’s and Biden’s outfits are the perfect example. Both keep their accessories at an absolute minimum: No cufflinks, no tie bars, no pocket square, and Joe Biden doesn’t even appear to be wearing a wristwatch. The simple fact that Obama wore a sleek black leather band wrist watch gives him the lead when it comes to accessorizing.

Verdict: Obama Wins 3:2
As a fashion critic and tie aficionado I would have liked to see both men dress a bit more fashionable. Why the solid, boxy cut black suit? Obama would have done well with a slimmer fitting narrow lapeled suit in midnight blue for instance. Also, I would have liked to see a bit more color on the neckties. Yes, blue and red are the #1 tie choices in politics, but that is not to say that another color is a Faux Pas. My tip for Obama: wear a persimmon colored tie! It is perfect for the fall season, it is trendy but not over-the-top, and when it comes to swaying the voter, the color psychology of persimmon couldn’t be better! Persimmon pairs the maturity of brown with the passion and excitement of red. Now that is a president-worthy combination!
Thanks for reading my blog!


3 thoughts on “Democratic Fashion: Obama vs. Biden”

  1. Alicia says:

    This is pretty funny. I bet this is the last thing on Biden and Obama’s mind, yet it’s entertaining to read. I LOVE the colorful tie selecting on the right side of your blog.

    Thanks for the amusement!

  2. dymphna says:

    I love this site! Thanks for sending us a link. While the Baron tends to ummm…dress down a bit, he’s learned to pass unnoticed in a Washington crowd when he has to go there.

    No bespoke suits like the lobbyists, but he gets by.

    Our son, on the other hand, loves all things sartorial. Since he lives on a student budget (even after being out of school for five years – college loans are impoverishing), he takes VERY good care of the clothing he does have. We are both good at rummaging thru mark-downs and thrift shops in better neighborhoods.

    I am going to send your site to him asap.

    Thanks so much! And I hope this will be an ongoing project.

    I don’t see a Twitter???

  3. dymphna says:

    omg– I just noticed: no cuff links??? Are they insane, lazy, or simply too tacky to know the difference?

    No french cuffs are for guys who have to iron their own shirts. Otherwise, this faux pas is freakin’ inexcusable. As they say down here, those boys obviously weren’t Raised Right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.