The Impact of Fashion on Presidential Campaigns

The 2016 Pesidential Elections

The 2016 Pesidential Elections

Read Vanessa Friedman’s Take in the New York Times

Austin, Texas February 1, 2016   The 2016 major-party election candidates provide perhaps as broad a set of individuals as ever assembled for the Quadrennial White House scramble: a brash New Your billionaire, with perhaps another waiting on the sideline, a former first Lady (and senator & Secretary of State), a former high tech CEO, a soft-spoken neurosurgeon, a number of Evangelicals, a pastor,  former governors, a hopeful member of a political dynasty, and a handful of minority candidates, among others.

It is a historical truism that a young, tanned, and relaxed John F. Kennedy won his 1960 televised debate with a sickly, sweaty Richard M. Nixon because JFK wore blue shirt and the just released from the hospital, Nixon grew a five o’clock shadow. A follow-up study found that Nixon won the debate among those who listened to the debate on radio, while Kennedy was declared the winner with those who viewed the debate on television.

Kennedy Proved the Victor Over Nixon -- on Style Points
Kennedy Proved the Victor Over Nixon — on Style Points

Fifty-six years later, in an age where image is key (namely The Optic) thanks to the likes of ubiquitous cell phones (read: cameras), combined with applications with hundred of millions of users (like Facebook, Twitter and Vine), an analysis of each candidate’s sartorial choices is a worthy area of investigation.

So far, we’ve seen Mr. Rubio’s high(er) heals from the mall, Hillary’s expanded palette for her designer pantsuits, Mr. Trump’s loud, outrageous, sometime obnoxious ties, Sanders in his glorious dishevelment, Carly as the avenging CEO warrior from Silicon Valley, Hillary in her ever-the-same, ever changing pantsuits, and the like, and to think that it all officially officially begins today….


Two Top Democratic Contenders: Clinton and Sanders
Two of the Top Republican Contenders
Two of the Top Republican Contenders

The Global Language Monitor, annually presents a study of the Top Global Fashion Capitals; in the same manner GLM recently conducted a study of the Major US Presidential Candidates and subjected them to a slightly modified criteria of that which it has used in its Top Global Fashion Capitals ranking.

For our purposes, the candidates sartorial styles were divided into several categories, plus an overall winner that will surprise few. The country is again entering another period of transition. The fact remains that Mr. Obama is leaving office with the same approval rating as his predecessor, GW Bush (hovering around 48%). Again, there is tremendous uncertainty in the land, on all sides of the political spectrum.
And once again, the voting public appears to be fascinated with their shiny, new toy(s): Trump, Sanders, Carson, Rubio, Fiorina, Cruz, etc.

For this analysis, the Global Language Monitor used its proprietary Brand Affiliation Index (BAI), the same technology used to measure global brand equity for the Olympics, World Cup, the Fortune 500, and others. This exclusive, GLM study is a Big Data textual analysis based on billions of webpages, millions of blogs, the top 375,000 global print and electronic media, and new social media formats as they appear.

This is GLM’s first study of Fashion in Politics, though it has been tracking differing issues in politics for about a decade and here and even into the future, here.

The results of the study will be published on February 1, 2016 …here is a Top Level Overview, which will be deconstucted below.

Total Score for Presidential Candidates
Total Score for Presidential Candidates:  This chart will be deconstructrd later on Februry 1.


This Total Scores for Presidential Candidates, of both major parties.   This chart provides a top- overview of all seventeen candidates for both the Democratic and Republican parties.  Also included are potential candidates who might later enter the fray, such as Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden.

The Candidates that are being tracked follow:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Chris Christie
  • Donald Trump
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Jeb Bush
  • Jim Gilmore
  • Joe Biden
  • John Kasich
  • Marco Rubio
  • Martin
  • Michael Bloomberg
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Rand Paul
  • Rick SantorumTed Cruz

Of course, some half dozen of these candidates will be out of the race in the next several days.

You can find a Brief Sartorial Overview of US Presidents here.


Overall Candidate Fashion Ranking

Overall, Donald Trump outdistances the field, which could be expected for the Trump PR Machine.  However, doubling the score of the second grouping of Cruz, Clinton, Christie, Bush and Biden, suggests that he’s gaining a significant number of style points.

The bottom four candodates would normally rate an asterisk (*) but the actual scores, themselves tell their own

This is a very interesting chart with Chris Christie topping the chart, closely followed by Cruz and Trump.

Clinton and Sanders are equally matched which is interesting because Sander’s overall demeanor is that of a wide-eyed, democratic socialist frpm a very small (read: inconsequential) state.  Come to think of it that WAS his demeaner for most of his decades-long career.

Interesting to note is Marco Rubio;s middling finish.


Presidential Style



 Off-the-Rack Ranking

In haute couture, OTR connotes designer styled clothing that are not tailored to the individual.

In American presidential politics, it can mean Bloomingdale, Nordstrom, and Saks, or OMG! Target.  Not always a positive connotation.







 Pret-a-Porter Ranking

Chris Christie leads Pret-a-Porter.  That’s right the Jersey Shore icon actually leads the category but by an incredibly small magin.




 Overall Score

Finally, the Overall Score, a composite of all of the above.

Total Score Presidential Fashion

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