In the arena of foreign policy, sartorial choices aren’t just personal statements about how hopelessly conventional world leaders want us to believe they are. The clothes a president or prime minister or emperor or consul or khaleesi chooses to wear will inevitably speak to the national character of the people that particular leader is representing. Khal Drogo doesn’t go shirtless because he enjoys watching his nipples shrink in the cold desert night — he goes shirtless because he wants to show all foreigners that the Dothraki are a fearsome race of warriors who spend inordinate gym time sculpting their pectoral muscles.
If our leaders are representing us at summits around the world, it’d be nice if they, you know, didn’t dress like assholes. Thankfully, President Obama looks fantastic in pretty much everything, so the first impression he makes on other world leaders is, “Hey, guys — America is super handsome and cool, so don’t fuck with us, okay?” Problems solved, world peace achieved. However, the UK’s David Cameron has apparently not yet learned the art of sartorial diplomacy, which is why the London Evening Standard’s Nick Curtis devoted several paragraphs to criticizing Cameron for failing to make an adequate impression with his wardrobe at the G8 summit. How could Cameron have done “smart casual” attire better at the G8? Oh, let Curtis count the ways:
A primary-coloured parka from Christopher Bailey’s Burberry show would have kept out the breeze whiffling around the Lough Erne golf resort. A pair of the premium British brand’s slim-cut, ankle-skimming linen trousers, showing off a pair of sequin-trim Richard James espadrilles, would have sent out the correct message: conservative, but open to things like gay marriage, tax reform and wind power.
JW Anderson’s halter-neck shirts would perhaps have been a bit too outré for the Right-wing of the party (and who knows whether the Cameron “guns” are toned enough to be displayed?) but he would have stood out. And had George Osborne worn one of Craig Green’s “structural headpieces” — which look like explosions of spilled paint or half-crushed cardboard for recycling — I bet Barack Obama would remember his name and not call him “Jeffrey” in future.
Were you able to absorb all that snark, even that bit about Cameron’s arms not being up to muscle-shirt standards? Maybe Curtis was underwhelmed by the fact that David Cameron looked like Barack Obama’s sport coat sidekick in a G8 photo, but there are only so many variations on “smart casual” one can cycle through before this becomes the only original option left:
Image via Getty, Matt Cardy