You are what you wear
Text / Sanne Nooitgedagt, Visual / Donya Mirheydari
Donald Trump’s clothes do not fit. That’s a fact you simply cannot deny. Besides his orange spray tan, the weird mouth shapes he makes and his hairdo -or at least what’s left of that-, it’s mainly his [mis]suitable suit that’s most painful to look at.
Clothing is unintentional, non-verbal communication
It hurts to see a fashion item being worn as if it doesn’t matter, while it certainly does. Clothing is unintentional, non-verbal communication; it’s a sign language. There is a reason behind the saying “You are what you wear”. How others perceive you, your image, and how you see yourself, your identity, is definitely influenced by the way you wear your clothing. There is a constant correlation going on between fashion and identity; how you dress can be seen as the sartorial equivalent of your personality.
According to general social connotations, dressing in a suit is supposed to express power and intelligence. It is expected to give someone a confident, convincing and often even sexy performance. You see, “the Donald” used to be quite a ladies man, has undeniable political power and, of course, he is a very intelligent person -says Donald Trump-, so it’s understandable that the good man probably thinks he’s doing an exquisite job at expressing all that by wearing a suit.
Fake News people, Fake News
However, the self-proclaimed intellect has probably never heard of French philosopher Roland Barthes, who states that there is a difference between “written clothing” (le vêtement écrit) and “image clothing” (le vêtement-image). Reading the word “suit” as a signifier most probably creates a different signified image in your head than when seeing Trump in -what is supposed to be- a suit. I wonder what mister President himself would say about that (‘Fake News people, Fake News’).
So where does it all go wrong in Trump’s suiting? First of all, the giant tie that almost reaches down to his knees, then the jacket and trousers: creases, crumbles, boxy shoulders and a baggy fit. All elements that create a shabby
crumbles, boxy shoulders and a baggy fit. All elements that create a shabbylook and make his identity seem far from intelligent or powerful, let alone sexy. And even though Donald Trump often wears the Italian suit-label Brioni, one specialised in tailoring and has prices that range from $6 000 to $17 000, it still doesn’t mean he radiates what most people connote to the word “suit”. Clearly a case where it doesn’t matter what you wear, it’s about how you wear it.
To end on that note, it has become evident that Trump’s suit is wearing him instead of the other way around. But then again, maybe Trump’s poor way of [mis]suiting actually suits his rather self-delusional way of going through life. You are what you wear, after all.