Why Do Roger Stone and Co. Love Bad Clothes?

Perhaps the new, muted style of Stone is a sign of humility after he was barred from using social media by the judge in July of this year—an event to which he wore a double-breasted seersucker suit, like he was there to hand out ice cream. But this is also a part of a sartorial strategy. In January of this year, he created a video guide for the Daily Caller on how to dress for your (read: his) arraignment, saying, “You have to think long and hard about what you’re going to wear for your arraignment.” Probably only Anna Sorokon, the Soho grifter who used a celebrity stylist as her courtroom wardrobe consultant, could take that with all the sincerity Stone intended. He says he chose not to wear a double-breasted suit because you should never dress above the voter—and besides, you can’t do the Nixon victory-V in a DB. So single-breasted it is! He mentions that his Richard James suit, which appears to be the same one he wore Monday, is some thirty years old, his voice motoring on in a haughty gravel. For Stone, the elitism and the obsolete character of tailoring is a fetish. He gives obsoletism a double meaning.

Roger Stone from the waist up walking outside wearing a grey suit and black tie next to a woman wearing a bright pink...
Roger Stone in Washington, D.C. November 7, 2019.Win McNamee / Getty Images

Stone isn’t the only fashion despot on the right. On Wednesday, he spent his lunch break with two other fashion fanatics: Milo Yiannopolous, the bottle-blonde high school villain who also loves dubiously tailored clothing, and Gavin McInnes, who is so invested in his “look” that he is almost indistinguishable from a circa-2007 Williamsburg barista who specializes in something moronic like penis latte art. (Admittedly, that’s not far off from his actual origin story.) For Yiannopoulos and McInnes, even more so than Stone, a dedication to style has never been done in such bad faith. They look like Macklemore backup dancers.

McInnes, of course, is the leader of the Proud Boys, a group that the Daily Beast recently called Stone’s “personal army,” and another alt-right group with a misplaced passion for fashion. They’ve made Fred Perry polo shirts an almost official uniform, to the brand’s understandable torment, although the polo’s association with right-wing politics dates back at least 50 years. The Guardian recently wrote that the far right loves Fred Perry because “mainstream fashion is the new camouflage,” a way to normalize their radicalism—but the mainstream American guy isn’t wearing his polos with too-tight chinos or whiskered jeans, or at least hasn’t been since Bruce Weber was shooting Abercrombie catalogues. Fred Perry is a country-club brand, and these aren’t men who skipped playing the back nine to go harass journalists in their homes. These are men who want to revert to an earlier way of being, even if that was only ten years ago. Like Stone, they are dressing as an insistence on playing by old rules.

What all these looks share is a maniacal devotion to an imagined Anglo-Saxon culture as expressed through style. Of course, even the most ardent tailoring or menswear fan will tell you that there isn’t really a “right” way to do anything—the joy of bespoke tailoring is its personalization, its room for personality quirks and subtle expressions of individuality. But when it comes to the clothing of the far right, it seems that the more rules you know, the more protocol you pull out from the footnotes of the handbook, the more superior you are.

“‘I know how to win, but it ain’t pretty,’” Stone allegedly emailed to Bannon—who, you might recall, is an enthusiast of British Barbour jackets—in the summer of 2016. The ugly truths are now evident to anyone who looks. A well-made suit can only hide so much.

This post was originally published on this page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.