As far as the cuts of the suits are concerned, there was really only one significant difference: Obama wore a dual-vented jacket, while Romney's was a center cut, single-vented piece. For those who don't know, vents are the vertical cuts, or slits, in the bottom of the jacket, usually to the side or in the back. Although the ventless jacket used to be standard and remain the most flattering kind, it generally restricts the wearer from movement and makes access to the trouser pockets almost impossible. Center vents came along centuries ago as men needed their jackets to give them room when they rode their horses. By cutting the back of the jacket in half from the bottom up, it would split perfectly in half while the wearer rode. That's why side vents are the most flattering of the two vent types. Not only does it provide a range of motion, it doesn't reveal the wearer's behind every time he moves one way or another. Ironically, side vents are associated with more expensive British-style suits, as they are more difficult to cut properly and require more fabric and tailoring. Center-vent suits, on the other hand, are generally associated with cheaper, lower-grade American craftsmanship. Maybe the candidates are venting out their stances on immigration.
Shirts: The real disappointment of the debate last night came in the form of the white dress shirt (I really don't listen to their words. I tried admitting this to readers in the first piece,). Men oftentimes make the mistake of buying a nice suit and then completely ignoring the shirt, guaranteeing that their nice suit will never actually look nice. First of all, can anybody confirm the candidates actually wore long-sleeve shirts last night? I think their cuffs were in hiding, for whatever reason. Second of all, if you're going to debate on live TV, I would highly suggest piecing together a look that will flatter the most important visual part of the debate – your face.
What does this mean for the candidates? Alan Flusser says: "think of your face as a portrait and your shirt collar as its frame." Simply put: the edges of your spread collar should be covered by your jacket, Gov. Romney. As a rule, you want the white V of your shirt showing under your jacket to be filled in the middle with a tie that draws the eyes upwards to your face, not two diminutive and flimsy-looking triangles that for some reason are right under your neck. What's weird is that Romney usually gets this right, but maybe his go-to shirt was stained by the spray-tan from his Univision appearance in Miami.
Neckwear: This is where things probably got really confusing for everybody last night. President Obama wore a red tie, Gov. Romney a blue one (and BOTH wives wore pink dresses). To the uninitiated, this was the political equivalent of "Face/Off." How does one even go about requesting a color? "Hey Mr. President, blue complements my skin much better than red, I call dibs for Tuesday, k?" Either way, this only proves my point that clothes are important, and these men care about the messages they're sending with their dress. I'm just not so sure about what exactly they were saying last night. Perhaps it was a swing-vote, "I appeal to everyone"-type move?