It may seem like the last thing on anyone’s minds on an Inauguration Day filled with security anxieties, but here it is: Ralph Lauren is rumored to be outfitting Joe Biden for his swearing-in ceremony.
This news comes from a WWD report, citing sources who say Biden “has been working with the designer” on a custom suit made in Rochester, New York by the Hickey Freeman manufacturing company.
Representatives for Ralph Lauren declined to comment to The Daily Beast, so the potential scoop remains a rumor. WWD noted that “details of the suit remain top secret” but “it is expected to be dark.” (Of course, most men’s suits are.)
“One source close to the brand said if Biden moves forward with plans to wear a Ralph Lauren suit it would ‘symbolically be a sartorial selection that would indicate a return to decorum and decency in the Office of the President,’” the trade publication added.
Presidential fashion hasn’t been of much interest these past four years, save for the occasional Trump hair story or criticism of his lengthy, taped ties. Considering a commander-in-chief’s clothing as the means to humanize, not snicker at, will take some getting used to.
And so we have Joe Biden’s suits. The president-elect and former VP has decades of experience dressing for the public’s eye, and he wields his wardrobe with confidence. His clothing, often plucked from American-made brands like Brooks Brothers or Chicago’s Hart Schaffner Marx, is an extension of his brand.
Biden touts himself as a champion for America’s Main Streets, an average you-know-who, but his suits project a slickness that belies this image. He favors fitted silhouettes, polos with preppy insignias, and patriotic blue ties. There’s an easiness to his style, for sure, but it’s the ease afforded to a longtime political insider. His style can absolutely be described as “dad”—but this dad’s kids row crew.
As one of the most instantly-recognizable names in American fashion—even for those who don’t care about the industry—it makes sense that Biden would pick Ralph Lauren. The brand often dresses political figures, but Ralph Lauren the man stays away from endorsing them.
A case study: Ralph Lauren outfitted Melania Trump in a custom powder blue cashmere coat and dress she wore for the 2017 swearing-in. This after dozens of American designers spoke out against working with Melania due to her husband’s racist policies. An inevitable hashtag began making the rounds: #BoycottRalph Lauren.
Glamour reported a statement from a corporate spokesperson for the brand: “The presidential inauguration is a time for the United States to look our best to the world. It was important for us to uphold and celebrate the tradition of creating iconic American style for this moment.”
The source added that Ralph Lauren also dressed Hillary Clinton during the inauguration. Clinton often wore Ralph Lauren on the campaign trail.
Fast-forward to November 7 of last year, the day the election was called for Joe Biden. Ralph Lauren, the brand, posted a statement to Instagram, written underneath an American flag. “Today, let us be inspired by our common humanity and the values that are the bedrock of our country—hope, optimism, and freedom for all.” As far as PR-speak goes, that’s some impressive tightrope walking.
Whatever Biden puts on for the big day remains somewhat of a mystery, though if Ralph Lauren does have any involvement, it might be the most decorous thing about this tumultuous transition of power.