The Red Tie is back in style, thanks to Donald Trump. Never let it be said the President of the United States does not set men’s fashion trends. In January of 2001, it was the powder blue tie George W. Bush wore but now we must make room for the red power worn by President Donald Trump.
I particularity liked the powder blue look and at one point probably had half a dozen. I’ve owned countless red ties, mainly with some form of navy, tan or black accents. Yet I have never owned a solid red tie.
One of my pet peaves is seeing the bottom point of a necktie struggle to hit the middle of someone’s belt buckle so I dare not say much when one extends slightly below the bottom of the beltline as Trump’s often does.
As I sit and watched today’s inauguration I couldn’t help but wonder how many blue suit, white shirt, red tie combos will infiltrate corporate offices and board rooms the following Monday. Here is an excellent article posted at Gentleman’s Gazette today that takes a look at inauguration fashion through the years. Personally, I would like to see the morning suit as required wear.
Inauguration Suits Through the Years
With the presidential inauguration taking place on Jan 20, 2017, we thought it was an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at the suits and outfits worn by U.S. Presidents throughout history on their inaugural day.You will probably be surprised to see how the outfits developed over time. The very first was George Washington in 1789 in New York City wearing a morning coat with ruffled shirt, knee length trousers, matching waistcoat, over the calf silk hose and buckle shoes.
George Washington in Morning Dress at the First Inauguration in NYC April 30, 1789
Andrew Jackson wore a very different outfit with a black tailcoat, trousers, and vest, combined with a white starched shirt and big black bow tie.
Andrew Jackson at the first Capitol inauguration in 1829 with tailcoat, high-cut waistcoat & black bow tie
On the other hand, Lincoln wore a frock coat in 1865, which was an upcoming trend at the time.
Lincoln in frock coat and black bow tie at his second inauguration in 1865
Ulysses S. Grant wore once again a black tailcoat with a black bow tie, and for his ball, people were not allowed to wear overcoats, hats or canes, which must have been the exception to the rule back then.
Inauguration Oath of Ulysses S. Grant in tailcoat and black bow tie with stiff cuffed shirt and cufflinks 1873
Inauguration Ball on March 4, 1873, for Ulysses S. Grant
Chester Arthur was one of the first presidents to adopt the stroller suit, but if you look closely, you will notice that his jacket had rounded quarters similar to a morning coat but much shorter in length.
Chester Arthur Sep 20, 1881 in Stroller Suit with open quarters
William McKinley wore a double breasted frock coat with partial silk-faced lapels. Of course, during the speech he took off his top hat.
William McKinley in frock coat & black bow tie at his first inauguration, March 4, 1897
Theodore Roosevelt wore a turndown collar in this picture paired with a necktie and a frock coat. While common nowadays he was fashion forward back then because the bow tie and stiff wing collar were considered more traditional back then.
Theodore Roosevelt in frock coat with striped necktie and turndown collar at Oath of Office, September 14, 1901
Top hats were reserved for the wealthy while the general public wore bowler hats or Homburg hats.
Theodore Roosevelt in a carriage on Pennsylvania Avenue on the way to Capitol, March 4, 1905
Roosevelt Inauguration Day in 1905
Taft was a portly president, and he liked to wear fur. At his inauguration, we can see him wearing a fitted fur-lined overcoat with fur collar and cuffs as well as a top hat but without gloves.
William Howard Taft Inauguration, March 4, 1909
The dress code remained unchanged.
President-elect Wilson and President Taft, standing side by side, laughing, at White House before Wilson’s inauguration ceremonies, March 4, 1913
Woodrow Wilson and wife riding in back seat of a carriage to the second inauguration with top hat and velvet collar on March 5, 1917
President Wilson, with top hat and speech in hand, delivering his inaugural address, March 5, 1917
President Harding in a light colored overcoat with a fur collar.
President Harding waving to crowd from inaugural stand on east portico of U.S. Capitol, March 4, 1921
Just look at the splendid top hats…
Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Philander Knox and Joseph Cannon, in convertible, March 4, 1921
Coolidge in morning wear.
President Coolidge, Mrs. Coolidge and Senator Curtis on the way to the Capitol, March 4, 1925.
Chief Justice William H. Taft administering the oath of office to Herbert Hoover on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol, March 4, 1929
Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a fur collar and polished top hat.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover in convertible automobile on the way to Capitol for Roosevelt’s inauguration, March 4, 1933
FDR with an evening overcoat with cloak and velvet collar – it is too bad that this kind of overcoats has almost vanished entirely.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt inauguration, 1937 with shiny top hat and evening overcoat with cape and frog closure
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes administering the oath of office to Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol, January 20, 1941
Harry S. Truman swearing the oath. For more information about his wardrobe take a look at this post. Here you can see his ties and shoes.
Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone administering the oath of office to Harry S. Truman in the Cabinet Room of the White House, April 12, 1945
Eisenhower in 1953 wearing a roomy, double breasted overcoat.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower inauguration, 1953 in double breasted overcoat
Eisenhower in morning dress, reacting to the cheering of the spectators.
Eisenhower in Morning Coat
Dwight D. Eisenhower in Stroller suit taking oath of office in a private ceremony in the East Room of the White House, January 20, 1957
John F. Kennedy in full morning dress with top hat.
JFK with top hat and overcoat
JFK in morning coat giving his 1961 inauguration speech.
John F. Kennedy in morning dress delivering his inaugural address, January 20, 1961
JFK wearing the evening equivalent of the morning coat outfit to the inauguration ball: white tie with wing collar, stiff fronted shirt and piqée vest with studs.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
Chief Justice Earl Warren administering the oath of office to Richard M. Nixon on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol, January 20, 1969
Nixon with a shawl collar tuxedo and cummerbund at the inauguration ball.
Nixon in black tie at the inauguration ball with shawl collar tuxedo, cummerbund & studs
President Ford wearing just a plain suit with a striped tie.
Inauguration of President Ford in a solid suit with a boldly striped tie
Reagan was the last US president to wear a stroller suit for his inauguration in 1981.
Reagan was the last President to wear a stroller suit on his inauguration day in 1981. We’d love to see a president wear one again.
In 1985, he switched to a regular suit.
Ronald Reagan in striped tie, dark suit, pocket square and double cuffs with Nancy Reagan
George H. W. Bush is a dark suit with silver tie in 1989.
Bush senior in Suit and barel cuffs 1989
Bill Clinton in a dark suit with plain tie in 1993.
Clinton 1993 in a dark suit
George W. Bush junior
Obama in 2009 & 2013
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to U.S. President Barack Obama during ceremonies in Washington
Trump on inauguration day Jan 20, 2017 wearing a dark overcoat, white double cuffed shirt and a bright red tie that is 4-5 inches too long, drawing the eye towards his crotch, rather than his face
The inauguration used to be a much dressier and more formal event where top hats and proper morning dress were obligatory. Sadly, ever since Reagan’s second inauguration, U.S. President have only worn plain solid suits with uninteresting neckties and I would love to see a stroller or even a morning coat at such a celebratory event in the future. What do you think? Do you think a suit is enough or would you prefer a slight change in dress for such special occasions?