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A first look at the style of Canada’s PM-designate Justin Trudeau

Our neighbor to the north, caricatured by jokes about toques and poutine, now has a freshly minted style icon in the form of Justin Trudeau, 43, who will be the country’s first new leader in nearly a decade.

Although the fashion and style of Canada’s new first couple – Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau – has been discussed, dissected and photo-galleried over the years in that country, down here not so much. Here are a few quick things to know about the fashion-ascendant PM-designate:

It’s in his genes

Pierre Trudeau with son Justin Trudeau

In 1980, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, a style icon in his own right, takes 8-year-old Justin by the hand during a trip to Venice.

(Associated Press)
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If Trudeau’s name sounds familiar it could be you’re confusing him with the “Doonesbury” cartoonist (that’s Garry) or, more likely, the PM-designate’s father, the late Pierre Trudeau, who twice served as Canada’s prime minister (from 1968 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1984) and who, for many, stands as the county’s first stylish PM: a guy who looked just as rakish in a peak-lapel tuxedo as he did in a wide-collared paisley shirt with matching ascot.

It’s a package deal

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie, on Tuesday after his Liberal Party prevailed in Canada's general election.

(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

But Trudeau the younger didn’t just inherit a sense of style – he seems to have married style as well; wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau is model-beautiful, has worked in television and in fashion -- as a personal shopper at Holt Renfrew -- and even took a spin down the catwalk at a Heart & Stroke Foundation charity runway show.

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Blue button-fronts and bouncin’ and behavin’ hair

A quick speed through decades of photo galleries dedicated to Justin Trudeau turns up a couple of common threads to his look. He seems to have a love of blue, button-front dress shirts, favors a wide collar spread (which provides a good counterpoint to the size of his head), spends a lot of time with his shirtsleeves rolled up (good to telegraph a man-of-the-people vibe) and wears neckties that have substance to them (including a handful of purple ones). Although it’s a good deal shorter now, he seems to have worn his hair a bit on the shaggier side for a good deal of his life. (Also, in younger photos, he looks strikingly like designer Zac Posen with a smidgen of Matthew McConaughey thrown in for good measure.)

He’s not afraid to try – and fail

Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau, center, clowns with campaign team members Tommy Desfosses, left, and Adam Scotti on Monday.

(Andy Blatchford / Associated Press)

But the most important takeaway from all those photo galleries that chronicle Justin Trudeau’s look over the years -- from different styles of facial hair (including a regrettable batwing mustache) to cowboy hats to a flowing, all-white, straight-outta-the-ashram outfit paired with black strappy mandals -– is that he never seemed to be afraid to try something new and different, discard what doesn’t work and reinvent himself wardrobe-wise. And that counts for a lot.

Sophie Gregoire and Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau, in a flowing white ensemble paired with strappy black mandals, and wife Sophie Gregoire, in a navy blue jumpsuit, at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 9, 2012.

(Jemal Countess / Getty Images)

Don’t believe me? Just look at one of our own politicians, Donald Trump. The Republican candidate may have been married three times, but he has stayed stubbornly wedded to a hairstyle that he probably first combed into place before Trudeau was born and has been wearing like a helmet of intractability ever since.

Sure, Trudeau is still somewhat of a sartorial question mark here in the U.S. of A. But the fashion bona fides he – and his wife – seem to possess are giving us the best reason in decades to keep an eye on Canadian politics.

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