Is McCain Too Metrosexual? And Other Thoughts From The Campaign Fashion Rulebook

03/28/2008 02:44 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Mr. McCain's so-called gay sweater brought up a perennial political bugbear. How much attention should politicians pay to their clothes?

"There's too much emphasis and scrutiny on this," said Bill Carrick, a Democratic political strategist who managed Richard A. Gephardt's 1988 campaign and was a consultant for the candidate in 2004. "There's a fine line," Mr. Carrick added, between candidates staying on top of the message their clothes project and their "turning this all into some sort of Hollywood, television, Garry Trudeau, Bob Forehead kind of thing."

There is a fine line, that is, between ignoring Dale Carnegie-era notions of dressing for success (a particularly weird concept in an age of iMoguls in cargo shorts), and the truth instinctively acknowledged by canny public figures and generations of Miss Popularity: people judge us by our clothes.

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