Herman Cain’s business experience and lack of prior officeholding are considered assets by many who think we’ve had enough of the same old politicians who created this mess. But recently, especially in his handling of sexual harassment allegations, some are rethinking this point and asking if Cain’s business experience as a corporate CEO is hindering his campaign.
Some in the chattering class think that Cain’s lack of experience in big league politics is showing somewhere else: his double-breasted suits and late-80s to early-90s yellow power ties.
Writing for the Daily Beast, Robin Givhan deconstructs Cain’s tailored suits and argues that they are sending the wrong message.
No other candidate on the Republican docket has demonstrated the kind of affection Cain has shown for this menswear silhouette with its wide, peak lapels. He has favored six-on-two button suits in solid charcoal as well as those with subtle chalk stripes. To be sure, Cain’s suits are well cut and he has the stature to carry them. Still, they have always been a curious choice and they have now become ill-advised. He would do well to expunge every double-breasted suit from his wardrobe.
Cain’s garb carries with it a sort of haughty swagger…. But now, when it’s alleged that Cain wielded his executive power in a sexual and inappropriate way, that in-your-face, sartorial swagger reads in damning ways.
Cain describes himself as an unconventional candidate. His campaign organization certainly is unorthodox. But Cain wrapped himself in every sartorial cliché about authority, pecking order, and religiosity. Through his wardrobe, he positioned himself as the flamboyant boss man and the irreproachable believer.
But lately, as he dabs the sweat from his brow, the click-click-click of the cameras reveal that Cain has lost control of his message. That savvy, crafted image has turned on him. And far from defining him as an empty suit, it suggests he is one filled with both hubris and sanctimony.
Others have written that Cain’s personal dress is a refreshing change from the usual blue suit, red tie esthetic of electoral politics. Whether it’s a winning formula remains to be seen, but it does appear to be an interesting topic.
One of my fellow Peach Pundit front-pagers has suggested that I’m overly concerned with visual details that neither make nor break a campaign. But I believe that campaigning, especially at the Presidential level is a visual medium. At least he’s gotten rid of those eyglass lenses that darken outside.
Note: If you’re interested in this kind of stuff, here’s another article by the same author dealing with what she calls the “Casual Friday Campaign” mode.