Fashion and the Male Politician

Since many feminist commentators often note the fixation the media and popular culture has on the attire of female politicians (I plead guilty), and given the recent ad nauseam attention to Elena Kagan’s attire, physical shape, and sexuality, the Stinque Department of Lady-Bits has chosen today to focus on two male politicians and their sartorial choices. Stinque Fashionistas, join me in the critique.

Exhibit One:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin “McDreamy” Newsom, candidate for California Lieutenant Governor, biking down Market Street today in his photo op for “Bike to Work Day” here in glorious Ess Eff.  (He’s the dude in blue for those of you who don’t stalk him like I do).

Your correspondent had the great honor of seeing Mayor McDreamy getting on his bike this morning as he left his house.  While at time I was originally concerned with whether a helmet would muss his famed helmet hair, I failed to notice his choice of ensemble that painfully reveals that he never rides his bike to work.*   He is wearing an oxford shirt underneath his blue sweatshirt, black suit pants without a clip on the left ankle to keep them from getting pulled into the gears, and white sneakers.

Gavin! Darling.  Talk to me. Where to begin.  You would have been better off just wearing the fucking suit head to toe with dress shoes. But if you’re going to go casual and don’t want spandex (though I wouldn’t mind seeing that), may I suggest a look more like this?

*The self-proclaimed eco-groovy green mayor’s usual ride is a black hybrid SUV.  I predict said SUV will be driving him home, as I seriously doubt he will be biking home from City Hall this evening as he lives at the top of a very steep hill, with a grade that goes from about 50 feet above sea level to 550 feet above sea level in four blocks.  Not to mention it looks like he’s on a three-speed one-speed.

Exhibit Two:

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hotoyama, similarly trying to look like he’s down with the people, at some barbecue, instead has a massive fashion fail.  Even the straight male Stinquers can recognize that, I hope.  There are no words, just a picture that speaks a thousand of them.

Yeah, I wonder why that dude behind you is laughing, Mr. Prime Minister.

Again, male politicians, take note.  Casual is tough.  Sometimes you should just stick with the suit if you don’t have a ghey on staff to help you with this shit. For reals.

[SF Chronicle, Photo by Paul Chinn]

You’re right about Mayor Goodhair’s casual fail. Should be Spandex biker shorts, non-cotton riding shirt, riding gloves and gortex jacket with bike (yes, bike) shoes. That get up is uptight Father Sunday biker garb.

Even I couldn’t wear what the Japanese PM is wearing and I’m a fashion ‘tard.

Japanese dude is beyond hope or help. Gavin, dear, no excuse for you. Next time just wear the suit.

@Mistress Cynica: Amen, sister. My Supervisor (he has the ghey, which may explain it) wore a suit when biking his daughter to work, and he looks so much better.

ADD: Though Gavin looks pretty fucking hawt here.

Wow. My idea of “high fashion” is managing to find two socks that match, and *I* know the Japanese PM’s shirt is fucked up. The only possible excuse is that his kid(s) made it for him, but that seems unlikely.

I seriously doubt he will be biking home from City Hall this evening….

It’s called Bike to Work Day, SFL, not Bike to and from Work Day.

@al2o3cr: The technical term for that look in the style world is fashion abortion.

@mellbell: Good point.

1980 called and they want their picnic tablecloth back.

What’s k.d. lang doing serenading Newsome?

He’s mayor, not random bike dude. He’s also not 20. I’d wear a suit with possibly a bowler. Too much? Dress for the office then adapt it for biking to show how your office attire fits in with said biking. Hence bike to work.

I refuse to look at that picture of Shirley McClaine. Gingham is never good.

Best dressed pol? Barry. Great suits that fit. He looks as cool and elegant as Cary Grant without Edith Head’s help. Thank you Hart, Shaffner & Marx.

NM Gov Bill Richardson used to dress like a fucking clown when he was our congressman. The worst thing I ever saw him in was a red white and blue shirt, waaaaay too tight jeans, new pointy toed cowboy boots and an American flag bandana when he was visiting the ancestral Indian village. The word “fail” would now be used to describe such an abomination.

Sen. Tom Udall is pretty DC square: navy blazer or charcoal suit, blue or white oxford or straight collared shirt, red tie, tan slacks, round toe Wellington style cowboy boots. He does a pretty convincing casual western thing with jeans, workshirt and boots. Sen. Jeff Bingaman is even more boring. He does not “do Western”.

Not gay Congressman Ben Ray Lujan still rocks “the guy from here” look when in the district on weekends: dark blazer, white straight collar shirt, jeans, cowboy boots. His dad NM House Speaker Ben Lujan (“Lu-HAWN”)* rolls with the bolo tie, like all the cool cats do.

*Heiress/friend of O’Keefe, D.H. Lawrence, etc., Mary Dodge married an Indian cat whilst living in Taos in the 1920s-30s and took his name, although she spelled it Luhan so people would pronounce it correctly.

@Original Andrew: China called. They want their checkerboard back.

Barry’s look is one that only American men can pull off. The long, thin silhouette, slightly too big feet and general air of I’m too hot for this suit. Very classy

I do NOT want to see Mayor Goodhair in spandex. Not.

@Benedick: I met Edith Head a couple of times. A bit odd.

@Benedick: Darling, I would agree with you w/r/t Barry, except for this picture of him on the bike in the Mom jeans. Always the bike screws them up!

@redmanlaw: See, Udall gets and accepts his limitations. My point exactly.

@SanFranLefty: You are beating me like a fucking rug in Scrabble.

@Dodgerblue: I know that feeling. Baked kicked my ass, too.

The last time I saw someone wearing that shirt, it was 1983 and I was in junior high. This may be the first time I’ve seen something like that on an adult, even in 1983.

Speaking of fashuns for the menz, Out magazine has proclaimed that the tanned, bulging ‘roid bodies that defined the Nineties and the Roaring Zeroes are officially O-VAH.

The hawt new look is impossibly skinny, 27-inch waist, manorexic twinkishness.

Please make a note of it.

…a clip on the left ankle to keep them from getting pulled into the gears…

They make those? Why was I not aware of this? Do you know how many pairs of cargo pants I ruined by biking to school when I was 13?

@JNOVjr: The metal clips pinch your ankles. You want the cloth ones with Velcro.

My knee is so fucked up right now I can’t pedal a bike at the gym, let alone ride to work.


the race is for place dodger dear. lefty pulled out a 150 point word that set us reeling and scrambling for second. last i looked, i had a comfortable lead over you. you gonna let the girls beat you up again?
that was encouragement, not razzing. you surely will beat us both next time….*

*don’t taze me daveH !!!

will you please get your knees scoped again? my RB has the same problem. he skis with custom made knee braces, the fool, instead of a little arthroscoping. my knees are so smurfy since the simple operation!

i am so familiar with the bike, the ankle strap, the shoes that lock in the pedals, the gloves…and yes, the spandex. i used to ride to work in the 80’s when i lived near atlantic city.and rocked the ears and tail. of all the bunnies, there was only one other with a brain…we carpooled to penn.
our shifts were only 4 hours.

hmm..udall wears my standard uniform.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ:
i HAD a shirt exactly like that, but it was all green, and more houndstoothy than plaid. i loved that shirt! yep…1983.

where you been? (phillyspeak) youre having FB withdrawal? i’m having JNOV withdrawal.

@Original Andrew:

hey! i got gravatar on the ropes! ruthie is in a format that gravatar doesn’t like (natch). my plan is to print it, then scan it to docs.
any other ideas? i’m listening! thanks again for the best avatar EVAH !


i just placed my last 2 tiles…game over sports fans.


rack um up lefty!! (winner gets first word)

dodgers last word? “TITS”…subliminal hatred?


There’s no need to resort to the wooden table method – hit me up at my nick @ gmail and I’ll be glad to take a look at the file.

thank you so much! i can’t believe there is a name for what i thought of.
i’m severely techtarded. as soon as i figure out how to send the file, you’re on. i’ll try the ‘wooden table’ and let you know. thanks! i have to go back to bed now..i’m keeping cheney hours.

@baked: Indeed not. I am a big fan of tits. Truly, SFL has the killer instinct in Scrabble. She is the Kobe Bryant of Scrabble but not, as we saw last night, the LeBron James.

@Dodgerblue: Don’t compare me to that rapist, I don’t care what he did to help the Santa Monica tax base…

@JNOVjr: Wait a minute, Skippy! I bought you one of those reflective velcro ankle deals, and you refused to wear it. And I might have tried to follow you to school to make sure you didn’t get hit by a car, but you remember that, hmmm?

@baked: I’m around. Looking for a job, a new place and stuff like that. I’m totally off FB. One of the best decisions I’ve made in recent memory.

@SanFranLefty: Bad analogy by me. I was thinking of his on-court behavior. He has that thing that Michael Jordan had: an unshakeable will to win.

@nojo: So the pants tucked into my tube socks won’t pass muster?

@Dodgerblue: Except for the winning part. Of course, the Cavs are still Early Jordan’s Bulls, but the odds are a lot higher he’ll jump after the clip I saw of his post-game presser.

Anyone keeping up with the West Indies cricket World Cup? England in the finals, beat up on the poor lotus eaters last night for a chance to play either the Pakis or the Aussies (CB will correct me on the latter option, no doubt). They were really blasting the sixes!

@Dodgerblue: I agree. Spandex doesn’t look good on anybody, unless you have a fetish for it.

@Dodgerblue: So more like the Mia Hamm of scrabble…

@PedonatorUSA and Benedick: Are we talking about Spandex or wetsuit-and-dildo combos?

@Nabisco: Only if they’re striped tube socks. JNOVJr used to rock a ‘fro, gym shorts, Chucks and old school tube socks Dr. J style. It was AWESOME.

@SanFranLefty: Excellent post, Lefty! Always nice to see that male politicians have found ways to commit fashion atrocities despite their more limited palate of clothing variations. Here’s another cool idea for a possible future post: Hijabistas.

@nojo: @Nabisco: I just got a bike late last fall and I’m slowly aquiring the needed accessories for it. The helmet and bike lights were immediate non-negotiables, but next on my list is a back fender and one of those cloth clip thingies. In the meantime, it’s been very handy to remember from the 80s how to “peg” or “french roll” my pant leg.

@JNOV: Good times, good times. This picture was taken before the chucks and tube socks, I believe.

@JNOVjr: Um, I think that’s right around the same time. Note your Black Liberation Month t-shirt.

@JNOVjr: “Oh my god — Panthers!”

Bill Cosby punchline. Alas, I can’t remember the joke.

@JNOV: I think I might’ve been a freshman then. I know I got my chucks as a sophomore. I’m really not sure.

Oh, now I remember.

First, this is back when Cos was funny. Yeah, I know, hard to imagine.

The setup is that his young daughters are caught up in an anti-smoking craze because of something they heard at school. So they’re in the habit of chanting “You’re gonna die! You’re gonna die!” at anyone with a cigarette.

Family car ride. They pull up to a light. White dude in another car also pulls up to the light. White dude is smoking.

Cos’s daughters start the chant: “You’re gonna die! You’re gonna die!”

“Oh my god — Panthers!” says the white smoker, and floors it.

@nojo: Ha! I like the “Dad is great! He gives us chocolate cake!” one. But, yeah, Bill doesn’t seem to understand that he’s been given honorary doctorates.

ADD: And while he never actually groped me, he did hug me a little too long for my comfort when I tried to shake his hand after he filmed a Temple commercial in 1987ish.

@JNOV: The education doctorate is real, if I recall. But it really screwed up his humor.

@nojo: You’re right, and his thesis doesn’t pass the laugh test:

Bill Cosby earned a Bachelor in Arts Degree from Temple University and a Master Degree in Education (M. Ed.) in 1972 and his Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) in 1977 from the University of Massachusetts. His doctoral thesis was titled “The Integration of Visual Media Via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Into the Elementary Schools Culminating as a Teacher Aid to Achieve Increased Learning.” (excerpted from

@Prommie: Yeah! That’s why they get the blue stripes and shit.

@JNOV: My school, which gives out four honorary degrees every year, gave him one the spring before I got there, and he was the only one of the four honorees to fail to show up for the panel discussion the night before commencement (a really cool opportunity for students to hear off-the-cuff remarks from the speakers), even though he lives, like, half an hour away. He is persona non grata to them now.

@mellbell: Sometime during the mid-70s, Cos gave a show at the basketball arena, which was the biggest thing to hit Eugene before Conan O’Brien. Since I credit him for half my humor (Carlin gets the other half), I was really excited to see him live after growing up on his standup albums.

The place was packed. The audience was appreciative and loving. Cos walks out to the center stage, delivers three extended monologues, walks off. End of show.

No doubt he fulfilled his contract. And not one joke more.

@mellbell and nojo: What an ass. It seems like all Philly entertainers are douchebags. We’ve got Gary Dourdan terrorizing LA; transplant Terrence Howard thinks it’s cool to smack your bitch up; Bill Cosby is nucking futs. I think Patty LaBelle is still on the good foot. Oh, and I lived around the corner from one of Paul Robeson’s homes. He was a transplant, too, but I’ll claim him.

@JNOV: I do a routine, in cos’s voice, which I do OK, about how the illegitimate daughters have the brain damage, and thats why they have to go to the penitenitiary, because dad ain’t gonna give the illegitimate daughters no chocolate cake.

@Prommie: Ha! I’d love to hear it over gimlets this summer when ‘Beekso and the fam congregate in your neck of the woods. If all goes according to plan, I should be living out there soon.

I always miss the fun stuff!!!

Gavin should have rocked those sexy little hiking shorts that you would buy at REI or something.

The Japanese prime ministers shirt looks like something my brother would have worn in his 2nd grade school picture. And just for the record I am burning all of mine right now as I type…

@homofascist: Darling! I was waiting for you to show up on this fashion thread… I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a pic of Gavin in shorts…maybe he has really skinny legs.

/scurries off to search for photos

Oh my, Gavin really has problems with casual. In searching for a pic of him in shorts, I found this one of him wearing jeans, white sneakers, and a blazer while talking to Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters when the organic garden was planted outside City Hall.

@SanFranLefty: Sorry darlin’. Street fest in 4 weeks. AHHHHHH!

@SanFranLefty: Is it okay that I am more turned on my Alice Waters?

@SanFranLefty: I’d take Gavin and his relatively minor sartorial issues over my mayor any day and twice on Saturday night.

@homofascist: The Japanese prime ministers shirt looks like something my brother would have worn in his 2nd grade school picture.

“I’ll be home after no one stops me from wearing this on national television…”

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Why are there UN troops in the background?

@JNOVjr: Yes, but Roland finally won that battle.

@redmanlaw: I think it was a veteran’s day parade.

@mellbell: Weird that we pulled the same photo. Weirder that this is one of his better looking pictures.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Oy vey. Is he Kucinich’s long lost brother? What’s up with the watch?

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