Former US President Warren G. Harding

Are Bow Ties too Cool for Politicians?

Former US President Warren G. Harding

Former US President Warren G. Harding

During the 2011 flick The Adjustment Bureau Matt Damon’s character while running for political office discussed in a speech about the meticulous attention to detail campaigns can pay to their candidates. For instance, he discusses ties by stating:

This tie was selected for me by a group of specialists in Tenafly, New Jersey who chose it over 56 other ties we tested. In fact, our data suggested I have to stick to either a tie that is red or a tie that is blue. A yellow tie made it look as if I was taking my situation lightly and I may in fact pull my pants down again at any moment. A silver tie meant that I had forgotten my roots. (Hat tip: This Fits)

Perhaps that’s part of the inspiration behind what GQ contributor Mark Anthony Green wrote Back When Presidents Looked Cool: Warren Harding. Through which we learn that this former US President wore bow ties.

What if Barack Obama and Mitt Romney wore similar neckwear during the 2012 Presidential Election cycle? Green conjectures that the press would label Romney “Wasp-In-Chief” (a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant whose demographics are sometimes subject to derision)  while this fashion choice would help dispel incorrect perceptions of Obama’s religious beliefs.

Those are interesting theories. However, I think that contemporary prominent American politicians tend to shy away from bow ties is due to the fact that they don’t want to stand out too much. Since bow ties aren’t commonly worn, people like to make wild theories about those of us who sport them.

While it is important for politicians to fit in with their current or potential constituents, they also need to show the ability to stand out in positive ways. Well chosen bow ties can help reveal that attribute in a person. I personally think that politician who wears dapper bow ties would get positive press coverage since it is not like journalists focus on substantive issues during elections anyways. Remember when President Obama went bowling?