Sizing up the Candidates: Paul Ryan vs. Joe Biden Sartorial Debate

Unfortunately, this shoulder problem has been all-too-common for Ryan. He needs to pick out a suit with not only less padding, but a tighter armhole as well, creating a more defined shoulder and arm cut, which will clean up this "look" that does little more than suggest "ill-fitting." Dare I suggest something,…Italian? Ok, maybe that's going too far…and yes, I know that shopping is confusing for most men. Between you and the right product, there's always a salesman waiting to pounce on your ineptitude. We've all been there - the lazy salesman tells you to buy the jacket a size up so that "you can wear a sweater underneath," and at the time it sounds like a pretty good idea, right Congressman? Well if a sweater underneath is good, then full football pads must be better, right?

That, or maybe he just really loved Thom Browne's Fall/Winter 2012 collection.

From the shoulders on down, it didn't get much better on Thursday night. Notice how Biden's jacket tapers from the accentuated shoulders down to a slim waist, visually creating the effect of that V-shaped torso that we're taught is so universally appealing in men. Ryan's jacket doesn't seem to do him this favor at all, despite the fact that he's probably the one built like a clothes-hanger around the shoulders with not much more than a 31-inch waist down below.

You can actually get a sense of Biden's body and build, whereas you'll just have to take somebody's word for it that Congressman Ryan has a strong build and it's just hiding under that oversized suit somewhere. Furthermore, despite the fact that they're both wearing dark suits, props to Mr. Biden for going with a suit without flaps sticking out of the pockets ("besom") and a fabric that has a slight sheen to it – perfect for night-time TV formality. Ryan's suit fabric looks a little matte, and those flapped pockets are more appropriate for a suit of the more casual variety (yes, America, these exist) or even a sportsjacket. The shirts are different too – Biden high up on his neck, with a proud stiff spread collar drawing you right to his face. Ryan's shirt hangs down low on his neck, even sticking out a little, and distracting the viewer from his face – a problem further exacerbated by the lobster bib he's chosen for a tie.

As we move the debate further below the belt, we see that Congressman Ryan isn't doing himself any favors down there, either. Luckily for him, the VP candidates sat down almost the entire time last night, so we'll have to rely on old pictures to complete our inspection. Notice the trousers below on the left: the fabric is pooling around the ankles (known as – I promise this isn't a political joke – too much break) and it makes the wearer actually look shorter than the man on the right, whose proper trouser length creates a lengthening and slimming visual effect on his frame.

Furthermore, wide-legged trousers with multiple deep pleats are designed to hide a protruding midsection while providing range of motion to the wearer – they look correct on our grandfathers; larger men who need a couple extra yards of fabric hanging from the waistband; but on Ryan's athletic frame, they look, well the opposite. target="external">Just take a look at this photo and try guessing which guy is 65 years old, about 6'0" 180lbs and which one is 42, stands 6'2" at 163lbs with 6% body fat:

Just to be sure, Ryan is on the left. See what I mean? The man needs some upgrades.

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