October 22, 2018 by Ville Raivio
This is a story of two suits. The picture below is from 2014 and depicts the tyrant of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, as well as the head honcho Obama from the US. Like several African dictators, Mbasogo has taken a liking to French tailors. This is shown true by the superb cut of his jacket along with its Parisian lapels (cran Parisienne). As far as I know, Obama has been clothed by the American tailoring factory of Martin Greenfield.
First we will have a look at Obama. His suit follows the traditional American line where comfort trumps all else, so the outfit is loose in all directions. The shoulder line from the neck to the sides is uneven and bubbled, though the collar does stay well around the neck. The point where the sleeve has been set to the body seems to be drooping downwards. The lapels are similarly bubbled and the cloth forms an X-wrinkle around the buttoning point. The shape of the gorge is, at least to my eye, weak. The cloth on top of the clavicle looks empty and wrinkled, as the cut is too loose on this point. The sleeve looks empty and wrinkly around the bicep as well as the elbow, though it cleans up towards the wrist. The shirt cuff is hidden. The trouser legs are loose and droop all the way down. The jacket is loose but adequately clean around the buttoning point.
Next, the tyrant Mbasogo. His cut is the heroic mold of an Adonis, an Atlas or a Hercules. The shoulder line from the neck to the sides is straight and powerful, the collar stays very well and high around the neck. The point where the sleeve has been set is raised, like a muscle. The lapels are likewise bullet straight and the cloth is clean around the buttoning point. The gorge has been aggressively shaped and looks interesting. The cloth on top of the clavicle looks clean and pushes aggressively outward, as if stressed by pectoral muscles. The sleeve is clean and straight around the bicep as well as the elbow, and shows the shirt cuff. The trouser sleeves are loose but drape fairly well to the knees. Only after this does the line not hold. The skirt of the jacket clean.
Summa summarum: Obama looks weak and loose in his suit, Mbasogo looks healthy and strong. This is the subliminal effect that a suit’s cut has on onlookers. Most likely Obama, who runs and visits the gym, looks slim and healthy outside his suit but it’s difficult to say about the tyrant from Africa. Thus, a cut does matter and most of its effect comes from fit. I can find no better photo to illustrate my point. While Mbasogo is a poor ruler, his tailor is indeed an artist of the cloth.
Photo: Amanda Lucidon/The White House