Obama’s tan suit: Stop freaking out, Internet, it’s actually stylish

President Barack Obama holds a news conference wearing a khaki suit and the Internet goes nuts.
(Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)

President Barack Obama held a news conference Thursday to reveal important information regarding Russia financing and arming separatists in Ukraine, migrant children in the U.S. and his strategy for defeating the Islamic State in Syria, but all eyes seemed to focus on his suit. The president addressed the press in a pale, khaki-colored suit, and the Internet exploded.

The suit prompted a slew of headlines criticizing the president for his fashion decision.

“President Obama Shames America by Wearing Wack-Ass Tan Suit” reads the Gawker headline. “No One Heard Anything Obama Just Said Because His Tan Suit Was So Loud” reads another from the Wire.


And the Twitterverse followed, likening his lack of a dark suit to a sign of weakness.

“Pres. Obama wearing a tan suit sends the wrong message to our allies in the region. Once again he fails to understand optics,” tweeted @Gus_802.

“Me no likey. Skin-colored suits don’t scream, ‘POWERFUL,’” tweeted @BritniDWrites.

There’s even a Twitter handle set up for the tan suit called @Tan_Suit.

Despite the criticisms, The Times’ menswear expert and fashion writer Adam Tschorn insists Obama made an appropriate fashion selection for this time of year.

“Like the preppy khaki summer suit!” wrote Tschorn. “Appropriate and trad. Only getting buzz because navy blue is D.C. default. #outsidethebeltway.”


And bonus points for the president if the suit is a stylish linen.

As Tschorn noted in a recent article on the comeback of khaki, beige twill was a fixture on the runways for both men and women during the spring-summer 2010 shows in New York and Europe.

“There is definitely a resurgence in khaki,” Macy’s men’s fashion director Durand Guion told Tschorn “And we’re just at the beginning of it. … We’re anticipating that as we go through fall and into next spring, it’s going to be huge.”

Yes, we’re used to seeing the president in darker tones of navy with a crimson tie and crisp white shirt, but this isn’t the first time Obama has donned a lighter-colored suit. The Boston Globe White House correspondent Matt Viser pointed out via Twitter that Obama wore a light suit on Easter.

Other presidents have worn tan suits for multiple occasions, including Ronald Reagan.

This is far from the first time Obama has been criticized for his sense of style. Remember that time he was accused of wearing “mom” jeans when he threw out the first pitch at the 2009 MLB All Star Game?

Now let’s get back to the real news.

Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_