Men’s Vogue: Mixing Fashion and Politics

Think male fashion icons. Brad Pitt. Will Smith. David Beckham. George Clooney.

And Barack Obama? John McCain?!

Men’s Vogue strives to set the standard for what’s in, what’s hip, and what’s fashionable. But there’s nothing trendy about the October issue’s dip into politics. 

The red, white, and blue cover featuring Obama and the six-page spread on McCain are hardly fashion-worthy. Men’s Vogue decided to take a risk by mixing politics and fashion, but was it smart to start with the 2008 campaign?

Presidential races don’t swarm with fine couture and daring designs. Obama may the better looking of the two, hence him being on the cover, but he’s definitely not setting any fashion trends. Unless, his dull gray suit paired with a blue pin-striped tie are the new look for the fall.

McCain should consult Men’s Vogue for fashion advice, not be featured in it. It’s hard to imagine 35 to 54 year-olds seeking fashion inspiration from a 72-year-old politician’s closet that holds nothing but earth-toned suits and patriotic ties. 

According to Men’s Vogue, men who buy the magazine have a “passion for what’s best in life.” More than likely, politics don’t fit into that passion. “Barack’s Thrill Ride: Stowing Away on O-Force One” and “Tortured Hero: What Really Happened to McCain in Vietnam” will likely turn them off.

There must be meaning behind the magazine’s madness.

Maybe Obama strays from political jargon to give Men’s Vogue tips on staying chic while traveling, since he’s photographed while sitting on a plane.

Maybe the cover photos for Newsweek were accidently mixed up with ones for Men’s Vogue.

Unfortunately, neither is true.

In between Burberry and Tod’s ads sits McCain’s “The Greatest Story Never Told,” an account of his experience as a POW in Vietnam. Photographs of McCain lying in a hospital bed and pictures of the prison where he was held captive share spreads with male models selling bottles of cologne and fancy watches. McCain’s grueling tale shares the feature well with tips on looking stylish in a bomber jacket. Talk about distasteful.

What’s even less fashionable is Men’s Vogue playing favorites with the political candidates. Obama is photographed by Annie Leibowitz for the cover, looking more like a Hollywood star than a runner up for the presidential election. He has an eight page feature with photographs that are so large they bleed off the page. McCain’s story is a six-page front of the book piece with no fancy opening spread introducing his story.

The question for Men’s Vogue is: are you trying to squeeze politics into fashion or fashion into politics?

Either way you squeeze it, the combination is uncomfortable. Stick to what you do best: give fashion advice, preferably using stylish icons rather than lackluster politicians.

— Martina Uhlirova






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