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    The Tory Leadership Contest: which candidate is the best dressed?

    10 June 2019

    A gentleman’s attire betrays much about how he wishes to be seen. You may think that one navy suit is the same as the next, but each of the men in the Conservative leadership race says something about their approach to the top job through the choices they make sartorially. Here’s how they fare:

    Boris Johnson

    Boris Johnson (Getty)

    Bulk does not automatically disqualify men from being stylish. Churchill was not in good shape, his lifestyle saw to that, but nevertheless he is in every moodboard for a brand that wants references to British heritage style. No one thinks Boris will have anywhere close to the legacy of Churchill, and having written the book on him, he perhaps knows that himself. But Boris has every chance of snapping up the sartorial élan. Recently he has raised his standards to look less slovenly but up against Trump for example (not altogether different physically), he would still look less elegant, and that needs a change, Britain’s reputation is at stake. 5/10

    Dominic Raab

    Dominic Raab

    Dominic Raab (Getty)

    Wearing suits should be easiest for Dominic Raab, he is in great shape, he has a square jaw, broad shoulders and a defined waist, none of which have occurred to him. Lapels are too thin for someone so broad, there is some shape in his jackets but as he often wears them unbuttoned, this isn’t particularly apparent. When he does, the balance is all over the place and falls down the back which looks peculiar and this, along with a seeming inability to press his suits, is a missed opportunity. There are positives though: he polishes his shoes nicely. 4/10

    Michael Gove

    Michael Gove attends state dinner in kilt, U.S. President Trump's State Visit To UK - Day One

    Michael Gove attends the State Dinner with American President Donald Trump (Getty)

    Michael Gove rose up in the sartorial league tables with his choice of formalwear at Trump’s State Dinner. Highland Dress, with the Prince Charlie jacket, sporran, kilt, sgian-dubh etc is mighty dashing and it was nice to see a politician out of a suit in something other than running gear. The fact that he took the opportunity with complete commitment is credit to him and if elected as party leader and Prime Minister, I hope the trend continues. 7/10

    Rory Stewart

    Britain's International Development Secretary Rory Stewart arrives to attend the weekly meeting of the Cabinet at 10

    Rory Stewart (Getty)

    The official Parliamentary photograph of Rory Stewart was a real disaster. The shirt collar sticking out above the jacket, the scruffy hair, as a fan, it was a disappointing entry. There is something of the schoolboy wearing his father’s clothes, and it hardly gives the impression of someone you’d go over the top for. However, closer analysis of his get up over the last few months does hint at someone who has more than just a passing interest in clothes. The good news is that official pic aside, his suits do fit, a lovely snug hold across the shoulder and neckline. At times it is British, but there are Italian inflections involved, see the spalla camicia shoulder in his Joe.co.uk interview, where the shoulder is tucked into the arm hole rather than placed on it as per British tailoring. On asking, he confirmed to me that his shirt cuffs, which are far too long, are not intentional. This is a shame as it would demonstrate a nonchalant flair, and if he is going to stick to navy blue, will be a useful trademark that I suggest he adopts. With a momentum of sorts, ‘Brand Rory’ will be a powerful tool of persuasion and recognition if he wishes to get through the first few rounds. 8/10

    Jeremy Hunt

    Jeremy Hunt (Credit: Getty)

    Jeremy Hunt, like Raab, has plenty to work with in terms of how a suit can complement his silhouette. There is a tell (clenched fists) that suggests Hunt has some kind of insecurity in what he’s wearing and clothes could be the remedy to this. Double-breasted with a strong, roped shoulder and broad lapels would revolutionise how he is perceived, no longer the head of HR, more the head of HMs Government. It won’t turn him into Anthony Eden, it does close his lacklustre effort till now though, and an element of surprise might bring him out of the shadows, which he needs if he wants a chance in the contest. 6/10

    Sajid Javid

    Sajid Javid (Getty)

    Things aren’t looking that great for Javid at the moment, except for two things. The first is Ruth Davidson’s endorsement; the second is that he will finish this contest as the best dressed. His suits are perfectly proportioned, well cut, nicely nipped in at the waist to flatter the silhouette, the lapels are about three and a half inches wide with pick stitching – a good indication that it is bespoke, where the hand stitching is visible all the way up the lapels as opposed to the side. Collar to collar, check. The button fastening doesn’t leave a horrible white triangle of shirt between the button and the waistband. Delighted to see someone taking these things seriously: it’s overdue. 9/10

    Matt Hancock

    Matt Hancock at his campaign launch (Getty)

    A tip to see whether someone’s jacket fits is to observe the gap between the shirt collar and jacket on the back of the neck. Matt Hancock is one of the more egregious examples of where this goes wrong, Exhibit A is his parliamentary portrait. The problem with this is that his youthful, attractively energetic approach to social media and apps etc, as well as a confident and considered speaking voice when things turn serious, is all undone by unattractive suiting that kills any real gravitas. 4/10