Winston Churchill

Here in the Britain we’ve just come through the media onslaught of an election campaign. Rhetoric, hand shaking and lively debates were everywhere – but not once did I see, dear readers, a male candidate rocking a truly stylish outfit that put him way up there in the style stakes. And yes, it might be that policies and the ability to actually run the country is more important (I know- shocking but true), but what I really wanted to see was a man with a hat to rival Churchill’s, some glasses to channel Malcolm X’s dapper look or a beard to take on the might of James A Garfield. George Walker urges you readers to put an X by the box of one of the stylish politicians we’ve got lined up in our pop-out gallery.

Now, I’m not saying that if a candidate came to my door dressed in a hideous modern creation of blandness and ‘I’m-just-a-normal-guy’ style clothing I would tear up their leaflets and shout “Good day to you sir!” as they hobbled away down the street. (Although it would be tempting. Perhaps I could wear a monocle as I did it.)

No, let’s get things straight, fashion isn’t all that important in politics. But having said that, it can certainly offer a reflection of the qualities we prize in a leader at a particular point in history. From beards that showed wiseness in a time of reform, to cigars that conveyed fierce masculinity in a time of struggle – the iconic looks of many of the world’s great leaders from times past have been tailored (quite literally) to a nations’ desire for certain ideals.

Unfortunately if I am to apply this hypothesis to the candidates in the recent election, it tells us that we all want a leader whose idea of dressing with personality is to untuck his shirt and say the word ‘cool’ . So, until someone introduces a parliamentary stylist (not likely), let us look at some of the politicians from times past who made dressing to impress part of their daily routine.