As November’s election looms large, presidential front-runners are refining styles that just might go down in history. We honor their efforts with a look at some iconic pieces made famous (or infamous) by presidents past.
This story first appeared in the March 19, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
James Buchanan (1857-1861) The only bachelor president, he was the first to popularize the wearing of a white tie.
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) For his second inauguration, he chose a Brooks Brothers coat with a hand-stitched lining featuring an eagle and the inscription: “One Country, One Destiny.” He was wearing the coat the night he was assassinated.
Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877) The Civil War commander and 18th president was ahead of his time: Beards and military looks are all over the runways lately.
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) An avid outdoorsman, he was a pro at mixing rugged and upscale wardrobe elements. His signature pince-nez glasses helped hide the fact that he was blinded in his left eye during a boxing match.
Harry Truman (1945-1953) The former haberdasher was a dashing dresser known for his impeccable pocket squares.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) The World War II commander’s waist-length wool jacket is now officially known as the Eisenhower jacket.
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) The Sixties style icon eschewed the sack suit in favor of a more elegant, streamlined two-button model and is still considered the country’s best-dressed leader.
Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969) The beaver Stetson cowboy hat was a mainstay for the Texas native.
Richard Nixon (1969-1974) The Californian was so uptight that he famously wore wing tips on the beach in a botched attempt by his advisers to have him look more laid-back.
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) Perhaps best known for his perfectly coiffed hair, the former actor brought a dash of Hollywood to the White House in his trademark chocolate brown suits with their powerful, structured shoulders.