#TailorSnarkWars Battle 1: Donnie & Vladdie Wear The Clothes (Original thread: July 16 2018 Twitter)
Okay, I’m doing this. Donnie & Vladdie wear the clothes. And starting with a history lesson. @SamuraiKnitter requested.
I’ll try tomorrow. I do read suits, but Dampnuts is too easy. His gay tailor has been making him the butt of a joke for 15 years, and Two Scoops is too dumb to get it. I swear he stiffed a tailor’s bill once, and now they’re ALL out to get him.
To understand Russian tailoring, you have to understand the 300 year relationship of Russia, London & Paris. Always delicate, but Russia has always consumed and modified western culture for their own use rather than supplying it to London & Paris. Especially under Lenin/Stalin.
- (I’m specifically talking tailoring – menswear – here. Which is just as expressive, but with a limited palette, and for the past 200 years, has been defined by exquisite labor & material, not ornament. This is also true for women’s bespoke clothing for Russia, but more so.)
4.They’ve also borrowed from their east; there’s still much Mongol influence in menswear/cold weather wear that’s not western drag – shoulder button, double breasted coats & jackets; ankle length coats; the furry barrel hats. Steppe winters are horror movie cold. So is Moscow.
Under the Tsars, everything the fashionable 500 wore originated in Paris or Savile Row but often locally produced by talented copyists. That continued under the Soviets for the party, except a lot of talent died because tailors who worked for Tsars became enemies of state.
In the 50s & 60s, there was a branch of intelligence called Kremlinology that examined publicity photos for information about what Moscow really did. They looked at cuts of suit & made assumptions that narrow lapels & skinny trousers were due to economic deprivation...
But no, Moscow seemed to like the Teddy Boy look coming out of London. Moscow fashion can be as capricious as the rest of the world’s, and it has tastemakers. It’s liminal, since it’s the intersection of West & East & it’s a remix culture. So all assumptions carry caveats.
That said: Putin is almost always v well clothed. Too well, per U rules in both UK and US Old Money. His suits always fit perfectly, and are always impeccable, and show so little wear that they’re fairly obviously newly made for the occasion. That’s what scratches the record.
A man’s suit that looks new shouts “New Money! Arriviste! Nouveau Riche!” (For a costuming example: look at Mad Men, first couple seasons – Roger Sterling vs Don Draper. Roger has had those suits for years. Or Prince Charles’ suits vs Tony Blair’s.)
Putin’s tailors are very good – he’s a small man and we all forget that because his clothes give him extra broad shoulders, a long neck and a long torso. Note how rarely we see his back or the backs of his legs. (Or his legs at all, come to think of it.)
But that’s also both Russian and New Money tailor signaling; the latter unintentional. Russian pride or Vlad’s ego – which are deeply intertwined – doesn’t permit him to be a small man. He must be biggest, baddest bear in the forest. Thus, his shoulders are heavily padded. See?
(Note that 🍊💩’s shoulders are also padded, though much worse quality. It’s mostly the same thought process, except shoulder pads are also used to mask a prominent or protruding tummy & to balance out short arms. Difference: you can SEE DJT’s pads in outline. Can’t see Vlad’s.)
The long neck is also an illusion thanks to serious talent. In Vlad’s infamous shirt off on the horse photo, his neck is nothing to write home about. It’s about 3 fingers width from collarbone to chin or to jaw. Average. But in suit? Halfway to ostrich.
You do that by cutting the suit collar to lay very flat over the upper chest/collarbones, and scooping out the back, standing collar by millimeters, so there’s just a titch more shirt collar showing without looking like anything is over or undersized. Serious props to tailors.
And yes, Vlad gets a bit of credit here: he knows how to wear & move in his clothes. That takes study, time and practice. (Yes, I am calling him vain as a phlebotomist‘ s nightmare.)
But remember how little we see of his legs. How often we see him sitting, or when standing, using the camera angle to seem as tall as the person beside him. Vlad is Angela Merkel’s height – 5’5”. DJT claims 6’3”, is really about 5’11”. Now look at today’s presser pics.
(Part of the reason the Obama-Putin stare down pic is so revealing is because it caught Vlad’s side angle, so it’s clear Obama towers over him. And that Obama is not intimidated. Also... Hillary Clinton is slightly taller than Vlad, and not easily intimidated. Hmmm...)
But in today’s press pics, Vlad and 45 are on the same level. I’m gonna guess slouching, boxes, cushions and angles. It’s basic stage-craft. The MCU does it all the time for Robert Downey Jr because he’s tiny and Chris Evans isn’t.
As for DJT: his suits are custom, but his tailors intend him to look like he slept in an off the rack suit that everyone else left on the rack. I assume he wears worsted wool, but it looks & drapes like poly-rayon. His sleeves are too long and baggy from elbow to wrist, but...
...His biceps are too tight because fat upper arms. His shoulders don’t fit. If he were wearing off the rack, it’s because he’s buying to cover his gut. But he’s wearing custom, so it’s tailors making fun of him. (For sewists, he needs an Full Tummy Adjustment.)
Shoulder pads ameliorate it a little, but not enough. Fat men can wear clothes, they just have to trust their tailor. Since 45 has never trusted anyone but Vlad, well.... Not gonna happen. And no, I’m not fat-shaming or size shaming. I’m saying DJT chooses to be badly dressed.
(I say this as a woman who requires a 5 inch Full Bust Adjustment. Not 5 divided by 2 halves, but 5 inch on each side. Patterns are made for B cups; I’m an FF. There is no shame in needing custom clothing, and tailoring can handle any body shape and size. That’s the JOB.)
Donald refuses to admit he needs good custom clothing & his vanity can’t admit he’s no longer a man in his 30s. He hasn’t updated his internal profile picture in decades. He sees his Art of the Deal photo when he looks in today’s mirror. (Which is unsettling in cognitive sci...)
Dampnuts is still wearing what was fashionable in the late 80s, when he was flying high. Back then, baggy suits, wide shoulders, long ties, and a rumpled look were fashionable. But those do look best on slim men with torsos shaped like a Dorito, not torsos shaped BY Doritos.
And nobody around him can say (and be heard), “daddy, you don’t look right. Let’s fix this.” Either they don’t care or can’t get through.
Which ties to my other wheelhouse- behavioral psych: client wardrobe is highly revealing, and attitude towards clothing matters.
PS! That thing I said about stage-craft? Look at this from the last 24 hours. Chris Wallace is 5’10”. Note that Vlad’s seat is lower to the floor, the chair is upstage from Chris, the angle is canted a bit to mask the difference, and they’ve got the chyron. (Also Vlad’s heels.)