Who Dresses Leon Panetta?

What the hell was Leon Panetta thinking when he got dressed? He's surrounded by fit Marines in battle dress and he's wearing a poorly fitted blue short-sleeved "dress" shirt,* pleated slacks, and perhaps the most askew gig line ever, calling attention to his pot belly.

I clicked a link from Josh Foust to see a “broadside against BRUUUUUUCE Riedel and Michael O’Hanlon” but couldn’t get past the top photo:

Leon Panetta looks like shit

I get that it’s hot in Afghanistan and all but, seriously, what the hell was Leon Panetta thinking when he got dressed? He’s surrounded by fit Marines in battle dress and he’s wearing a poorly fitted blue short-sleeved “dress” shirt,* pleated slacks, and perhaps the most askew gig line ever, calling attention to his pot belly.

His predecessor understood the correct uniform for the occasion:

Bob Gates looking like something other than shit

This is also an acceptable variation:

Don Rumsfeld, also looking like something other than shit

 

________
*There’s no such thing as a short-sleeved dress shirt. Or, at least, not unless you count the guayabera and its variants.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. *There’s no such thing as a short-sleeved dress shirt.

    +1

  2. ernieyeball says:

    No Short Sleeved Dress Shirt? Your advertiser, Mr. Bank, would disagree.

    http://www.josbank.com/menswear/shop/SubCategory_11001_10050_11520

  3. Eric says:

    Hahaha I have to agree that the gig-line is just terrible. And there are not such things a short-sleeved dress shirt.

  4. Moosebreath says:

    Is this better or worse than Dick Cheney attending a funeral of a foreign dignitary in a snow parka?

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    @ernieyeball:

    But then who would regard Jos Banks as an arbiter of taste in these matters. Whose next? Men’s Warehouse? There is no such thing as a short sleeved dress shirt. Period. I did used to work for one very wealthy guy once who used to delight in going into very expensive men’s stores like Kiton or Brioni and buying several $500 (in today’s money) sea island cotton shirts and then requesting they cut the sleeves down to give him a short sleeve shirt. The expressions on their faces were wondrous to behold. And JJ please note that Gates and Rumsfeld are wearing anoraks/leather jackets when it was obviously much colder. There’s a guy in the Rummy pic wearing a watch cap for godsake. I don’t think you have a future in crime detection.

  6. James Joyner says:

    @Moosebreath: As it happens, the #1 Google result for Dick Cheney Parka is my 2005 posting “Cheney’s Auschwitz Outfit.” It wasn’t a funeral but rather a commemoration of the dead; but, yeah, not good. My take at the time:

    I must admit, it’s a most odd sartorial selection, albeit one that looks imminently more practical for the weather. Apparently, the fellow sitting behind him in the Russian-style bear hat agreed. One presumes there’s an explanation.

    For that matter, I was somewhat surprised that President Bush didn’t attend this himself, since it appears that was the norm.

    I gather that Cheney’s subsequent explanation was that it was because of his heart condition.

  7. James Joyner says:

    @Brummagem Joe: It’s true that cold weather makes appropriate attire easier. The most casual Gates photos out with troops in Afghanistan have him in neatly pressed, flat front khakis and a long-sleeved button down. That works, too.

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    First the jewelry post, and now this one. I love that I can get my foreign policy and my men’s fashion fix in one place! ;0)

  9. Vast Variety says:

    I must be missing something becuase I just can’t get passed the idea that it doesn’t matter. He could wear a speedo and a tank top and it wouldn’t matter to me at all. I mean, he is technically civilian after all. He doesn’t have a uniform.

  10. James Joyner says:

    @Vast Variety: I’m not arguing that he’s out of uniform but that he looks like crap. Appearances matter in leadership–especially in military circles.

  11. ernieyeball says:

    But then who would regard Jos Banks as an arbiter of taste in these matters.

    Obviously not these guys!

    http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1894947072/tt0023969

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m not claiming Panetta is Brad Pitt but he doesn’t look that bad. Bad was that doofus Bush sent to Iraq as sort of viceroy who used to wear combat boots with a suit and tie. I personally hate short sleeve shirts (other than polo shirts) and never wear them. They go with pocket protectors.

  13. Brummagem Joe says:

    @ernieyeball:

    But they came from Freedonia

  14. Franklin says:

    If there’s no such thing as a short-sleeve dress shirt, there’s simply no reason to wear a dress shirt at all. In fact, after almost 40 years, I still haven’t figured out why people think it’s a “good thing” to feel “totally uncomfortable.”

    /yup, t-shirt and shorts here at the office

  15. James Joyner says:

    @Franklin: Most people look like crap in shorts and a t-shirt; it’s just not appropriate for business not involving outdoor recreation or lawn care. In climate controlled offices–which is to say, offices–dress shirts and long trousers are perfectly comfortable. Neckties, on the other hand, not so much.

  16. Vast Variety says:

    I guess someone needs to tell Richard Engel to stop wearing short sleeve shirts when he’s reporting from over there.

  17. James Joyner says:

    @Vast Variety: I don’t watch much TV news but I’m guessing he wears a safari shirt or other casual shirt, not a blue button down dress shirt with its sleeves cut off?

  18. ernieyeball says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I have to comment on the thumbs down U got for yer Freedonia post. I would think anyone opposed to the Marx Brothers should be made to explain themselves and then run off OTB no matter what their story is.

  19. Peterh says:

    I have a reputation for wearing Hawaiian shirts…..for almost all occasions……and I am in a position of leadership…..if one can’t discern the difference between leadership and dress….then, pffttt……you’re obviously on the outside…..and of no consequence….

  20. Man, first no bracelets and now no short sleeved dress shirts. You’re turning into a fashion curmudgeon, Dr. Joyner! ;>

  21. Janis Gore says:

    I’m absolutely on your side, Dr. Joyner. If the gentleman in a dress shirt must cool down some, roll the sleeves.

  22. I will share a disturbing thought I had. I saw Panetta sitting in those wing-back chairs, facing Kharzai(sp?). Classic diplomacy photo op. Well the next thing I wanted to see (just for a second, mind you) was for Panetta to pull out a revolver and go Godfather on Kharzai. Then walk out, end of occupation.

    Obviously I have Italian-American stereotype issues, and obviously I am not happy with Kharzai.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    Cheney is a bit odd. The idea that he needed to be in a parka to keep warm just doesn’t wash. An appropriate warm dress for a formal occasion? A heavy wool overcoat (not the NYC looks-like-warm-but-really-can’t-actually-be-buttoned-up variety, but the windy Northeast sub-zero kind) with a winter wool sports jacket underneath, and a sturdy cotton shirt and long sleeved silk undershirt underneath that, with a scarf and a fedora or a for-real Russian dress fur cap. Silk long underwear and heavy wool socks and winter weight wool trousers. Parkas have nothing on that outfit.

    I don’t know why it hasn’t been more widely recognized that Cheney is a bit of a kook. Sometimes it shows in his dress, but more often by his paranoid fear. Remember that after 9/11 he holed up in an undisclosed location for months. Recently he cancelled a trip to Canada because he feared for his life. From those evil… Canadians.

  24. Vast Variety says:

    Just a side note. But when I was in the Air Force our dress blues consisted of a light blue button down short sleeve shirt.

  25. James Joyner says:

    @Vast Variety:

    Just a side note. But when I was in the Air Force our dress blues consisted of a light blue button down short sleeve shirt.

    I rest my case.

  26. Brummagem Joe says:

    @ernieyeball:

    I have to comment on the thumbs down U got for yer Freedonia post.

    They’re opposed to me becoming dictator for life of Freedonia.

  27. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Hey, that’s MY job!