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The Battle of the Ties: Romney’s Red VS Obama’s Blue

Fashion in Politics: Obama “Out-Styles” Romney 4:2

“Dress for Success” should have been on both candidates mind while getting dressed for last night’s first Presidential debate. Overall both did a good job, but a closer look does indeed show some minor differences. After looking at how their suits fitted, what tie they chose to wear, how the ties were tied, how the shirt cut complemented the rest of the outfit, as well as a few other key points, I give the slight edge to President Obama – winning 4:2 over his opponent Governor Romney. In other words: Obama was the better dressed of the two.

Hair Cut: Point Goes to Romney
Obama showed up in his usually short buzz-cut while Romney impressed with his well manicured coif. Without doubt, Romney’s more “high maintenance” hair took at least 20 minutes to style – time that was, at least from my point of view, well spent.

presidential-debate-fashion-obama-pantsThe Suit: Obama Takes This One
Both men wore the classic charcoal gray, American cut suit (2 button, notch lapels, double vented, and pleated pants). While both men wore pants that were slightly too long, it was Obama’s suit that fit a bit better around the shoulders. It was a close call, but point goes to Obama.

obama-blue-necktiesromney-necktiesThe Tie: Romney’s Red “Power Tie” Takes it
Consistent with their parties colors, Obama wore a royal blue tie while Romney decided to dress up with a bold red striped piece. While I personally prefer the color and fine texture of Obama’s tie, Romney did a better job choosing a bolder and more attention-grabbing color. Romney’s red “power tie” exudes confidence without being overly flashy. The stripes on the tie also added a more “business professional” look that is consistent with Romney’s persona. While Romney’s red tie was bold and attention grabbing it did not distract from his face. The clear winner here: Governor Mitt Romney.

The Tie Knot: Obama Takes it
Obama tied his royal blue tie with a perfectly dimpled Four in Hand while Romney tied a slightly sloppy half Windsor. The shape of Obama’s tie knot perfectly complemented the collar style and the dimple gave the tie a nice textured look and better drape. Romney’s knot on the other hand appeared a bit sloppy. The knot was a tad too large for the collar, and the lack of the dimple certainly was an eyesore for every tie aficionado. Thus, the clear winner here is President Obama.

The Dress Shirt: Points to Obama
It should come to no surprise that both men wore the classic white dress shirt featuring classic medium spread collars and traditional barrel cuffs. While both shirts initially looks the same, a closer look shows Romney’s shirt having shorter collar points. While shorter collar points are more modern, it is a style that requires to be worn with the right suit and tie: a slim fit narrow lapeled suit and slightly narrower necktie – something Romney failed to do. Thus, points to Obama.

Accessories: Romney Wins Here
As already seen on the campaign trail, both men keep accessories at a bare minimum. Neither man wears cufflinks, tie bars, or pocket squares (something JFK would have done), but instead opted for a simple and sleep look of wedding ring, wrist watch, and American flag pin. Because Romney chose a slightly larger and more visible flag pin, he deserves to win this point.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Hendrik Pohl
Tie Aficionado, Writer, & Founder of Tie-a-Tie.net

7 thoughts on “The Battle of the Ties: Romney’s Red VS Obama’s Blue”

  1. Dean says:

    A John Oliver segment on The Daily Show said something about ties with a British stripe. I had never heard of this and so I tried to look it up online. I notice that the stripes on the leaf (not the knot) of Romney’s tie start high on his right and angle down to his left (Wikipedia says high-right is American style). All of your favorite striped ties on this page start high on the wearer’s left and angle down to the right–the opposite of Romney’s. Of course it’s not unusual for stock photos to get accidentally flipped in print or on the web. Are your favorite ties flipped or not flipped (and therefore British)?

    BTW, Romney wore a blue tie in the second debate (Hofstra) and Google images and The Daily Show clip show it going from right angling down to left (American) so I don’t know why that man who supposedly worked in a tie store told John Oliver it was a British tie or why British-born Cambridge grad John Oliver didn’t know to correct the mistake.

    1. hendrik says:

      Hi Dean,
      Great comment and observation! Yes most of my favorite ties are of European design and therefore feature the the left to right stripe. I would not necessarily call this British unless the overall striped design fits the classic British striped theme (as seen on classic regimental ties).



  2. Tom Dewey says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t note that the lapels on Obama’s suit were a bit too wide for his body type. Sure they matched his tie and shirt collars, but it could also be argued that the overall width made his head appear small, especially standing next to Romney.

    Romney actually does have a larger frame, so any narrower would have looked less presidential on him.

  3. Matt Amattocks says:

    Where does the 4-2 come from? The individual breakdown shows it to be 3-3…

    1. hendrik says:

      Hi Matt, thanks for pointing this out. Looks like I don’t know how to count or add. Looks like it is a tie indeed – no pun intended here. =)



  4. Sam Taylor says:

    Excellent article. Do you know where I can buy a tie like President Obama’s?

    1. hendrik says:

      Hi Sam,
      Check out the light blue ties on our sister site Bows-N-Ties.com. There are quite a few that are just like the ties President Obama wears. I hope you find some you like!

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