Now this may seem an odd combination but I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I wrote an article a while ago on my blog about politics and aesthetics. But I did a style diary about men in politics for Fashion North. I wanted to post an edited version for you here because it’s something that is quite important in today’s society. It is about how you dress as it’s a way to impress.
*Disclaimer*: This was originally posted on Fashion North.
Men are not immune to fashion faux pas, nor are they immune to wearing designer labels and spending an extra bit of cash on those “cute” trainers. They are also not immune to being judged on their aesthetics; on how they look. Males have become involved within fashion, with the development of metrosexuality. The opposite sex do care about how they look. We have joined forces and there is indefinitely a race for the mirror in the morning.
Makeup, styling products and fashion branding have moved into the male culture too, with competition even more rife now than it has ever been. And it seems that the media is highlighting this within the political arena – whether politicians like it or not. Throughout the political calendar this year we have seen the emergence of male style on a new level and I’m really interested in it.
Politician’s are being submerged into the consumer culture, perhaps in order to fit in with us. Fashion, it seems, is no longer just something for females, indeed it is something for both sexes and it may always have been.
Cast your mind back a few years ago – can you remember Ed Miliband and the bacon sandwich?
The pictures taken after this moment were of him looking rather “odd” eating the sandwich. The image was banded about social media and many politicians and certainly the media became pre-occupied with it. It shows that aesthetics has become heightened in the political world. Looking good in the real world is difficult enough!
Think about the ‘hot or not’ pages in magazines; ‘Does this politician look pleasing to you?’ is the unconscious question being asked. But, ‘Are we sexualising males in politics?’ is the question I’m asking.
Think of David Cameron in his rolled up shirts. Can we imagine him in jeans and a t-shirt sitting at home in 10 Downing Street? Or is it easier to imagine Jeremy Corbyn like that? David Cameron is like all of us. At home we sit in our pyjamas (we all do it!) and when we are out, we like to look our best. He changes into a suit to show his status and power. He rarely wears a suit when he visits a school.
Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour party leader has been chastised too for how he dresses. He dresses down, perhaps the reason why he is more relatable. Perhaps his “common” dress is more powerful that we think. We think that he has power because we feel we can identify with him.
It shows that fashion has become a sign of status and a sign of power. Maybe his rolled up sleeves show that he is relaxed and has come down a few rungs from the political ladder to become more relatable. It’s not everyday that we get to wear a smart suit is it?
How Jeremy Corbyn dressed during the leadership was commented on immensely, in conversation.
For example, during the leadership election contest, he sauntered about in a shirt with a few buttons undone and smart trousers. He still had to look ‘a cut above the rest’, just like Cameron above but he had fashion on his side. We saw him dressed like this for much of the Labour leadership process.
On his first Prime Ministers Questions, he was donned in a shirt, smart trousers, a tie and a suit jacket. It was a different look to what we are used to.
We see men wearing suits and looking smart as a sign of power. Politicians are known for their power, therefore are they just matching how they dress to what is expected of them?Are we saying that these images are in fact what we want? We want how a person dresses to show us that they have power and status.
These politicians can’t get rid of being judged because of how they look. What they wear or what they look like determines their status; how powerful they are within the political arena in my opinion. If all of the politicians wear the same thing, it gives them equal power, does it not? Or if they dress differently from how they usually do, then this is noticed.
Aesthetics has taken over politics and has become an ever more powerful phenomenon. Fashion has engulfed politics and is being dominated by aesthetics.
We saw from “Milifandom” and the “Cameronette’s” Twitter storm that aesthetics has become somewhat of a popular culture in today’s politics. Many pictures flooded social media of Miliband and Cameron’s head’s superimposed onto David Beckham and other notable people. Miliband even addressed the success of Milifandom in his resignation speech! Teenagers were engaging with politics, even if it was because of how Ed or Cameron looked on a picture!
Unfortunately today’s generation is obsessed with how they look and politics is reinforcing this and making it ‘normal’.
We now have a branch of political fashion.
Will we eventually get to the stage where we see a “political hot or not” in a magazine?
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below or on my social media accounts.