The best-dressed politician of all time was Anthony Eden. His style was something out of an Apparel Arts illustration; long jackets, peaked lapels on single-breasted jackets (a good 60 years before Tom Ford would revive it), high-waist trousers and double-breasted waistcoats. Even the fabled hatter Lock and Co renamed the Homburg hat ‘the Eden’. Those were the days of Porfirio Rubirosa, Mountbatten and the Aga Khan, when the idea of the sartorial statesman was unexceptional.
As things stand, Jacob Rees-Mogg will never leave behind that kind of legacy. By the lore of classic style, there isn’t anything particularly special about a suit, shirt, tie and polished shoes. He doesn’t embellish or accessorise, but nevertheless, in the tieless House of Commons, he is the best-dressed man currently residing on those verdant leather pews.
We live in a time in which the smarter you look in public life, the more out of touch you are perceived to be. This makes no sense. By looking at the Moggster’s suits, they are almost certainly old and made in Britain by talented British artisans. He clearly makes an effort to be presentable and appears to believe that showing up to a place where he represents the people requires a reverence that he can express through the clothes he wears. I wish more were like him.
That’s not to say there isn’t a little room for improvement. There are people out there who think that because Rees-Mogg speaks the way he does and wears double-breasted suits, that his morning routine is attended to by a valet of some kind. But if someone were dressing him, they’d surely push for a little more invention. Take a look at Rees-Mogg’s Instagram, the navy double-breasted suit, the navy on beige polkadot tie and the Bengal-striped shirt every time, save for the odd spot of tweed. And, also, although the actual clothes themselves aren’t past their sell-by date, the proportions are. He is not, by any means, a big chap, which begs the question of why the wrap of his jacket (the area where it doubles over on itself) gives the impression it was made for someone rather larger? A portly grandfather, perhaps?
These days plenty has been done to elongate the silhouette and flatter the figure with double-breasted suits and this would be an area of improvement for Rees-Mogg. Same goes for his shoes. A very rounded toe cap was once commonplace, but we are now seeing shoemakers, just like tailors, manipulate silhouette to have shoes look much more streamlined and elegant, tucking in the waists and making the toe cap thinner.
Dressing smartly may be unpalatable for modern politicians (see Jeremy Corbyn’s shabby threads and Boris Johnson’s slovenly appearance), but here’s hoping Rees-Mogg continues to fly the flag. If this piece can do anything, hopefully it will urge him to sharpen up his look just a touch. To be a little more ‘Eden’ and bring the antediluvian notion of the sartorial statesman into the 21st Century.
How to dress like Jacob Rees-Mogg…
Don’t go for an outfitter younger than 100 years old. All these can be found on Jermyn Street.
Suit: New & Lingwood – very British drape, but with all the upgrades to silhouette mentioned above.
Tie: Turnbull & Asser – An almost impossibly large collection of ties here, you are certain to find a polkadot one.
Shirt: Hilditch & Key – Classic shirt maker of all patterns, including Bengal stripes.
Shoes: Crockett & Jones – a solid British shoemaker, still making all their shoes in their factory in Northampton. All you need is a pair of unperforated half brogues which should be kept well polished.
Barber: Geo F Trumpers – Trades on its very old-fashioned British ways, there is a feeling that there should be some kind of dress code. A proper gentleman’s barber.